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Republican US Marine killed in Iraq left many emails about his frustration

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Caoimhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:02 PM
Original message
Republican US Marine killed in Iraq left many emails about his frustration
Nov. 6, 2006 issue - Robert Secher had a passion for history. Until his death in Iraq on Oct. 8, the 33-year-old Marine could recount all the major battles of the Civil War.

He studied the Holocaust, in which members of his father's family lost their lives. In recent e-mails home, he said he was reading about Vietnam and the Mexican civil war. But his favorite books were on ancient Rome: he was captivated by the centurions, who commanded from the front and led by example.

<snip>

His job there was one of the toughest in Iraq: making raw Iraqi recruits ready and able to take over the fight against the militants. Secher found the task exasperating and often discouraging; in e-mails and letters home, he expressed doubt that the Iraqi military would ever be ready for a handover, and criticized the way the Bush administration had directed the war.

<snip>

My first impression of the Iraqis is that I really like them. They are warm and hospitable and the friendliest people I've met. I also feel very sorry for them. Their lives are out of their hands and they have known nothing but dictators (Saddam) and occupiers (us) for years.

<snip>

My 3 month informed opinion (based entirely on what I see in the Hit region) is that this war is futile. Even the Iraqi soldiers tell us that when America leaves, they'll quit.

<snip>

He was killed October 8, 2006 by a sniper while on patrol in the town of Hit.

Read more of his emails and the way his feelings changed as time went by: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15458906/site/newsweek /



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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. "Iraqi soldiers tell us that when America leaves, they'll quit"
There goes the Bush Iraqization plan.
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Hav Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. .
Stories like this are always sad. They realize that what they had done is not as important and good as they believed and that it won't last.
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keta11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't care anymore
Edited on Mon Oct-30-06 02:36 PM by keta11
There have been 655,000 innocent civilians killed over there. Nobody cares about that!
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Monkeyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I will never stop caring about my fallen brothers
Lies sent them to war lies killed them SOMEONE WILL PAY
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Caoimhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I don't either
I posted this not because this soldier agreed with everything I believe, but because he was just another person that bought the lie and slowly realized that he was being used. Who knows what he would have been like in 20 years, but it's a shame that we will never know. Unlike the rest of the chickenhawk Republicans, he actually put his life on the line.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. His parents describe him as an unswerving Republican
I feel sad for his family, but I can't help but wonder WTF is missing, here. Jeez, he can't sign a letter to Dad "LOVE?" He's gotta do this bullshit Russell Crowe-ish overblown movie "Integritas" nonsense? I did note as time wore on, and things got worse, he managed to squeeze out a "Love, Robert" to his dad, and he honestly didn't seem too "unswerving" to me--more like someone who has made a horrible bargain, but is determined to see it through, because he made the lousy deal.

This poor dead fool was not, and was never, a "centurion." He was a duped tool of BushCo. Filled to the gills with Kool Aide. And ultimately, expendable. It only took him three months to start to see the handwriting on the wall:

My 3 month informed opinion (based entirely on what I see in the Hit region) is that this war is futile. Even the Iraqi soldiers tell us that when America leaves, they'll quit. They trust us because they know Americans can take care of them, but they don't trust their government, or the Ministry of Defense, and they especially don't trust their officers <...> Funny, I feel the same way sometimes.

His take on military command structures (not just Iraqi, this is regional) is fairly accurate: The biggest lesson I have learned over 6 months here is that the Iraqi culture is incapable of maintaining a western style military. The Arabic-style military <...> is distasteful to western soldiers: officers who hit their men; officers and senior enlisted men who regularly steal from their men; using leadership to openly grant yourself more food and 'standard of living' items while your men go without ...

And more on that "unswerving" business--is this unswerving to you? It sure doesn't seem very unswerving to me, in fact, it seems as though it swerves all over the doggone place:

This is such a long process. Maybe 20 years from now I'll look back with pride that I helped make a difference in Iraq, but right now I'm just not into it. I just want to come home alive. ... The war in Iraq itself, yeah, it was the right thing to do, but the way it was carried out, man, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney have nothing to be proud of. But I'm still glad to be here. At least I can say I was here, and 20 years from now that will be all that matters. I did my part (though my attitude was less than desirable).... As an American it really feels odd to enter peoples homes and question them, and with the authority that if they don't want to cooperate, I can detain them. This is what martial law would be like.....

The article said he signed up at 17, and was 33 and a Captain (0-3). They either sent him to college, or he did it on his own time, and applied for a commission or a limited duty officer appointment and got it. The kid (not such a kid, really, but they all look young from the viewpoint of older eyes) was quite experienced--that's a real blow when you lose someone with that type of background and experience, who has credibility with the enlisted personnel across the ranks. I can't fathom his continued belief that the war was "the right thing to do" but it's amazing how far folks will stretch reality to avoid unbearable, gut wrenching and painful cognitive dissonance.

What a mess this Bush and pals have gotten us in.








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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. "20 years from now . . ."
Twenty years from now. Twenty years from now. Twenty years from now. Twenty years from now.

What, indeed, are we doing that will matter 20 years from now? Was this guy pondering a political career? Being a roving media pundit? What did he see himself doing 20 years from now that his presence in Iraq now was going to influence?
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keta11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Bush and the Republicans talk as if they are some
visionaries who can see into the future 20,30, 50 years from now.

If Bush was so prescient, why did he trade Sammy Sosa for Harold Baines?
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Because Sammy wasn't on 'Roids back then... n/t
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. He wanted to write two books, he said. That's why he wanted Pa to keep his emails
And he wanted them printed out, in case Pa crashed his computer...

Sad. 20 years from now, if he lived, he'd realize he was just a small cog in a machine. He might have made a difference on an individual level to those he led, but in terms of the big picture, well, nothing lasts forever. But maybe that realization might have been an interesting theme for a book or two...
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. They'll hate us for the next 100 years, I guarantee it.
After what we've done with their country with the crippling sanctions that hurt civilians more than Saddam and then the invasion and disasterious occupation. They will never forget what happened. It has been seared into the minds of many in the Middle East, and they will never forget what the US government has done. Never forget.
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Bruichladdich Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. Thats the sad thing, this war seeds hate that will never be forgotten
and the world is becoming not an inch more secure, no one can get security by war.

If you ever had a problem with a neighbor, you know what I am talking about.

Even if you win at court, he will scratch your car, pull out your flowers, grill your cat or what ever he might do - you know it was him, but you can't prove it.

So you win at court, but lost your cat, your car, your flowers.

May be it would have been more wise to look for a compromise by drinking a coffee together and talk. Are you a coward then??? Or did you simply learn the difference between a human and a rat?
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hippiechick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
12. uhhhh ....
" ... Don't mistake us for Cindy Sheehan," Pierre Secher told NEWSWEEK at his Memphis home (a reference to the California woman who became an iconic opponent of the war after her son's death in Iraq). "To me, pacifism could have led to Hitler's victory. We might have all been speaking German and Japanese right now ..."


Dude, how friggin STUPID can you and your family BE? :spank:

Sorry, this one gets no sympathy from me.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. They are grieving, so don't be too harsh.
If their style of grieving means belieing the fantasy that their son died for a noble cause, then maybe that's what they need to get them through to the next day. Denial is one of the stages of grieving.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. They can rest assured that he did live and die nobly.
Edited on Tue Oct-31-06 11:39 AM by w4rma
Even if the cause was misguided and not noble.

What a waste of a good and honorable man.
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maxsolomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
13. he should have studied vietnam first
our civil war has little to teach the military about the conflict between the west & islam.

it was futile before we started it, and i didn't need to serve 16 years in the military to figure it out. i have a BFA & i knew.
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IWantAChange Donating Member (974 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
17. All soldiers know that the truth lies with the boots on the ground...
"Even the Iraqi soldiers tell us that when America leaves, they'll quit."

That quote says it all - the consequences of Bushco's invasion will haunt us for decades.
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MsMagnificent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
18. I wish I could
but I just cannot sign their condolence book. I want to ask if they're Christian, and if they are why aren't they familiar with 'Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword'.

Yet I do feel sorry for that poor, misguided 'Centurion'.
He wants to be so blase' about War, what could he expect?
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thingfisher Donating Member (445 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-31-06 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. The American soldier
Edited on Tue Oct-31-06 04:51 PM by thingfisher
seems to be a species of men with to much faith in their country "right or wrong".

I have been reading a lot of books lately, memoires really, of soldiers who have served, mostly the two Iraq wars. One thing that appears common among them all is the disconnect between their own personal experience of being in peril which most see as a test and a passage of true manhood and the political realities of why they are in harms way (which do not seem any where near as important as the fact of their own willingness to put themselves at risk). It us against the "bad guys".

What I am getting at is the romantic ideas that many of these soldiers continue to buy into are still powerful even after all the truly gruesome accounts that have been written about the realities of war. These new "centurions" view war almost like the extremest sport ever invented where you actually get to kill people! They point at the "proud traditions" of the corp and feel tremendous pride in being a part of such a great legacy.

I guess each generation needs to learn for itself, hence history goes on repeating itself. A whole generation is now growing up on hyper realistic video war games and are being targeted by the military with them. This kind of indoctrination will probably assure us of plenty willing cannon fodder for the future wars that we have been assured are coming.
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