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ghuinness
05-30-2004, 18:58
An email was posted on another forum - here is an excerpt..

"....we got told today that we can't fly the american flag on our trucks or in front of where we live even though the camps are deemed American soil we can't fly them because it upsets the local iraqis and a big list of other rules that would take me to long to tell ...."

I can't believe this. Are we fighting a war or not? What is it with this Politically Correct crap.

Has anyone else heard this?

NousDefionsDoc
05-30-2004, 21:42
This upsets you? We're not fighting a war against the Iraqi nation. We won that one already.

ghuinness
05-30-2004, 22:09
Yes.

It appears to have been issued this weekend, no less. I deleted the other stuff, but the soldier that wrote this was further demoralised and "too depressed to write much more". What is wrong with a Flag being flown outside living quarters? The truck - okay, but living quarters?

What am I missing here?

NousDefionsDoc
05-30-2004, 22:40
Well, to me, we did not go to war with the Iraqi people. We went to war with terrorism as personafied by Sadaam Hussein and the Ba'ath leadership. Flying the flag is the sign of the conqueror.

The idea here is that the Iraqi people govern themselves and throw out the terrorists. If we are the conquerors, we will have to stay and resolve all their problems and rule them.

This isn't the old style of war anymore. We shouldn't be looking to conquer nations and spend 50 years there like we did in Japan and Germany. We go in, shoot the bad people in the face, and go after them when they move on somewhere else. New kind of war for some.

I understand about the morale and that.

mffjm8509
05-30-2004, 23:44
Whoa, time out......

Doc, you and I have made a concious choice to go places and do things without the support of "Big Army" and popular opinion behind us.....we are not in that same situation today.

Today, we are asking American kids, some right out of high school to go to Iraq and "fight terrorism on the streets of Iraq so that we wont have to fight terrorism on the streets of America (President Bush, Ft Carson, 2004).

Maybee that kid, what appears to be truck driver, needs something to look at to remind him why he is over there.....if for no other reason than to maintain his morale, and his discipline to do the right thing.

I'll never understand how we as the only world superpower can determine it right to send 200,000 troops overseas, then politicaly tell those involved they cant be proud of what they are doing, or proud of from where they've come becasue it may hurt somebodies feelings......

If you still feel this way, maybee you should read Ralph Peters Essay titled "when devils walk the earth" which addresses exactly how a superpower should deal with the enemy we are currently facing right now?

What I continue to see in the news is not a powerful display of resolve, but of compromise......

just my .02, as a gunfighter

mp

Footmobile
05-31-2004, 10:34
Flying a garrison flag off your lead vehicle in a convoy......no. Like NDD said, it sends the wrong message.

Being able to fly the stars and stripes from a make shift flag pole in front of your hootch while observing the proper protocols (i.e. raising and retiring it in the proper manner everyday)....I've got no problem with that, especially since there shouldn't be any local Iraqi's in a position to observe any of our troops living areas anyways.

mffjm8509
05-31-2004, 10:51
sure, I agree with that....

particularly since I'm sure the Colors are flying in front of the HQ, why shouldnt this kid be able to do the same?

mp

Footmobile
05-31-2004, 10:53
Originally posted by mffjm8509
particularly since I'm sure the Colors are flying in front of the HQ,

Exactly...

NousDefionsDoc
05-31-2004, 11:46
War is politics with the addition of other means. What were/are the political objectives of the GWOT?

mffjm8509
05-31-2004, 14:33
I'm not sure what your reference to von Clausewitz has to this particular individuals desire to fly our nations colors. His statements simply point out that the means is justified by the end.

As I stated before, I agree that it is a bit much to fly the colors in a tactical formation, or from vehicles in a convoy. But I disagree that we should prevent soldiers from displaying the colors outside of their living quarters when they are being displayed outside of the HQ, and for that matter on the uniform of every servicemember now.....

To answer your question the objectives of the GWOT as I can make them out are to:

1) Destroy the enemy

2) Building strong international coalitions against further terrorist aggression

3) Act in such a way that maintains faith with our system of government

4) Maintain a place of dignity and respect in the community of nations

This thread seems to be going way beyond the flag flying issue, which is cool with me, but maybee we should retitle it?

mp

DanUCSB
05-31-2004, 15:31
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
War is politics with the addition of other means. What were/are the political objectives of the GWOT?

Okay, I'll bite.

The political objectives of the GWOT are twofold: to kill/disable/dissuade transnational terrorists, so as to prevent further attacks on American persons and interests; and to rehabilitate/replace regimes that continue to give support and safe harbor to the aforementioned terrorists.

The main point being, as NDD is getting at, that the GWOT is a softer exercise of power than, say, WWII. Before, we had to play the role of conquerer, completely destroying the war machines of the Axis powers (the key point of this being that they were under regimes that had enlisted the entirety of society into their state war-making apparatus). As all of society in both Germany and Japan were subjugated into supporting the armed forces and their subsequent role in power-projection, all of society needed to be conquered in order to put in place systems and traditions that would prevent further war.

Such is no longer the case. Nowadays, when our enemies are nations, we tend not to be fighting the entire nation but rather certain elements within the nation. You excise those elements, and the nation falls toward our interests. Examples of these abound: North Korea, Iran, and Cuba spring to mind. As such, the conquer/plant flag/reign model of nation-building is neither needed, nor helpful. This is the point of the GWOT: by using a combination of diplomacy, economics, and finely-tuned force, we get better results than we would otherwise. We reap this savings in blood, money, and prestige.

This is a long way of getting around to the point that the flag is inappropriate. In the old style of invasion, absolutely. But in the GWOT? No. We didn't invade Iraq to rule as conquerers; we invaded to free the majority of the Iraqi people from the yoke of a brutal, terroristic minority. Flying the colors, firmly planted in foreign soil sends the message "this land is ours." That is not what we fought for. Let us not forget NDD's admonition: if we're the flag-flying conquerors, that means the Iraqis will be staring at us, waiting for us to solve their every problem, for the next fifty years. If we are the liberators, which we are, then it is they (rightfully) who will need to solve their own problems in times to come. No welfare mentality.

As for more practical matters, well, if the original soldier who wanted to put up the flagpole outside his tent is "too depressed to write much more," then there's something more that's wrong than just him not being allowed to put up the flag on someone else's soil. And if that is what's bothering him so? Then I have no sympathy... our soldiers should be made of sterner stuff.

Post-script: there is no contradiction between wearing the flag on a soldier's uniform and not planting it in foreign soil. A flag on a sleeve lays claim to the man wearing it, indicating that he is an American. The colors, planted into Iraqi soil, tells everyone that that land is really America. And I don't think anyone wants Iraq as the 51st state.

Solid
05-31-2004, 18:47
Flying our flag might serve to highlight the difference between "them and us", and thereby exacerbate existing racial, cultural, social and political tensions.
Flying the US flag may be interpreted as saying- Our Armies Fight For Us.
This isn't the message the coalition forces, IMHO, need to be sending right now. Instead, the differences should be downplayed- Our Armies Fight On Behalf of Us For You.
Our objective, at least in terms of the Iraqi people, was to liberate them from oppression. Of course, it is only natural that we be attempting to achieve other ulterior motives while achieving that former (ie: Democracy in the M.E), but these objectives do not necessarily, obviously, or directly benefit the people. To garner greater support from Iraqi civilians, it seems that we should be down-playing our OTHER "national" objectives, and make it seem like we are working primarily or solely for their objective. Fighting under the US flag emphasises our national objectives, therefore potentially costing us a civilian support base.
At least, this is my take.

I am reminded of the mercenaries that used to fight in Medieval armies. They were fighting for a cause other than their own (the difference being that they were fighting for pay, we for moral reasons [at least partially]). To demonstrate this, they did not fight under the banner of their country or their corps, but instead carried only corps identifiers- patches, livery etc.
By eschewing their national banner, the mercenaries sent the message that their concerns were subsidiary to those of the army for which they fought.

Again, just my opinion.

Thank you,

Solid

NousDefionsDoc
05-31-2004, 19:27
As I stated before, I agree that it is a bit much to fly the colors in a tactical formation, or from vehicles in a convoy. But I disagree that we should prevent soldiers from displaying the colors outside of their living quarters when they are being displayed outside of the HQ, and for that matter on the uniform of every servicemember now

Where should the line be drawn? Flying a flag on foreign soil is a policy decision - not a matter to be taken lightly and definitely not one to be taken by your 19 year-old truck driver. It is not an individual decision, it is a matter of grave importance on the world stage.

As for the objectives of the GWOT in your list - identify the enemy.
Does flying the flag contribute in any way to numbers 2,3 and 4 - or would it be more detrimental, especially if left up to individuals and not tightly controlled?

Solid, you are out in left field.

Nice post Dan.

Guy
05-31-2004, 19:32
You know what's funny?

The Iraqi's don't seem to get upset when they see the American flag. Hell...the majority of them even gave us the "thumbs up."

It's the politicians on both sides that seem to have a problem with it.

Solid
05-31-2004, 19:37
I think I see where I'm wrong. I was trying to go further into the motivations, symbolism etc than Dan, but got lost way out in the tall grass.
You're saying that by taking on the role of conquerors by using, if you will, the symbology of the 'hard wars' of WW2 (flags is part of it), we are commiting ourselves further than is necessary to achieve our objectives?

Does this change in light of Guy's information?

Thank you,

Solid

NousDefionsDoc
05-31-2004, 19:49
It's the politicians on both sides that seem to have a problem with it.

Always that way.

mffjm8509
05-31-2004, 20:27
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
Where should the line be drawn? Flying a flag on foreign soil is a policy decision - not a matter to be taken lightly and definitely not one to be taken by your 19 year-old truck driver. It is not an individual decision, it is a matter of grave importance on the world stage.

As for the objectives of the GWOT in your list - identify the enemy.
Does flying the flag contribute in any way to numbers 2,3 and 4 - or would it be more detrimental, especially if left up to individuals and not tightly controlled?




Obviously I realize 19 year old truck drivers are not the ones that determine foreign policiy, however, I belive we were speaking about the ability of US Servicemembers to display the colors outside of their living quarters, not parade them around. Do you really belive that US units are not displaying the colors, national and unit on major installations?

As for items 2-4 on my list of objectives, I do not personally see how our National Colors is detrimental to the outcome of their outcome.

Personal opinion here, NDD.......based on 4 tours in this particular theater over the past 12 years, and debreifing every detachment that returns in preparation for my 5th tour over there very soon.

First, I belive If we are ruthless in our pursuit of the terrorists that are operating there and we act as world leaders I belive taht the majority of the world will see that they benifit from this strong presence and allie with us.

I believe that some idiots have already commited actions that have hurt us in this area, and we have to do everything we can to correct that error. That correction in no way includes showing weakness.

Right now Al Sadar has treated us with the same disrespect that Saddam did for years, and we are reacting with proportion in the same way the former administration did. We will not send troops in to holy sites, or buildings despite the terrorist insurgents using those sites and buildings as platforms and staging areas (sound like another conflict?). If Islam is being used as a basis for war, then the only way to combat it is to place no boundary to the strenght we will display. The terrorists will understand nothing else.

Again, personal opinion overcomes me here..........I belive that catering to a few of the locals here goes deeper than displaying a flag otuside of ones quarters. I belive the common Iraqi probably has no ill intentions to US Forces.........but the common Iraqi is quickly being recruited to the likes of Al Sadar, for reasons we havent yet been able to compete with.....

sorry, I'm a gunfighter, not a politician


mp

NousDefionsDoc
05-31-2004, 21:18
We can agree to disagree Team Sergeant. You have experience in the AO where I have none. Truth is, I wouldn't complain if Old Glory flew from every pole in the country, but I can understand the thought process about not making it so.

You have expressed your opinions well and I thank you. You are a worthy opponent and we will meet again on the field of cyber dueling, I am sure. Enjoyed the discussion.

Sacamuelas
05-31-2004, 21:22
((((stunned silence)))) LOL


:eek:

NousDefionsDoc
05-31-2004, 21:26
Originally posted by Sacamuelas
((((stunned silence)))) LOL


:eek:

I didn't survive this long by continuing to argue with a Team Sergeant when his mind is made up.

He's been there, I haven't - and that trumps everything.

mffjm8509
05-31-2004, 22:15
NDD,

I would never attempt to trump anyone....particularly such a talented debater as yourself....

I too have greatly enjoyed the conversation....

mp