As you loyal Bedrock Dreams followers and supporters out there already know, periodically I digress from the straight and narrow path to rant, rave, or otherwise express strong personal views that have little, if anything, to do with small-scale gold prospecting or mining. This is one of those posts, so please bear with me here.
Speaking my Mind
Right off the get go I want you all to know that I am not a media follower or a news junkie. In fact, I'm far from it. I don't watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio and I rarely take a look at it online. No, I'm not hiding my head in the sand nor am I afraid to confront "reality" as we know it these days. Those of you who've been with me from the early days of this blog know that I tend to maintain a "take-no-prisoners-mentality" and that I speak my mind whether others like that fact or not. In other words, I roll over for no one. Never have and never will.
OK, all this said, a short time ago I inadvertently caught a bit of news that literally turned my stomach. I heard a radio talking head mention that things were going south in Iraq and that the Iraqi city of Fallujah was back in the bloody hands of Al Quaeda and various and sundry other Muslim cut throats, religious fanatics, and suicide explosive vest wearers. The same (or similar) murderous bastards who fervently praise Allah before proceeding to slaughter anyone who has the great misfortune to disagree with them, practice a different religion, or be in the wrong place at the "right" time.
Paid in Blood
From the very first days of the "coalition's" invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fallujah had a reputation for harboring the worst of the worst when it came to the dog turds I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Fallujah is where many of the poor souls who ended up on insurgent or terrorist (same thing) decapitation videos spent their final terrifying days and where many other Iraqis and captured "infidels" were tortured mercilessly before death released them from the tender mercies of the animals holding them against their will. The psychotic killers who had this stranglehold on Fallujah during the first 12-18 months of the Iraq War loved gloating about it and the fact the United States or the coalition could (or would) do little about it. Well, those towel-wrapped shitheads were dead wrong on that assumption.
After two Battles of Fallujah, the first in April 2004 (eventually called off due to political pressure and "public opinion") and the second, more successful campaign in November and December of that same year, the violent and rabid insurgents in Fallajuh (including many foreign fighters) were driven out...ostensibly once and for all. But most were stone dead...shot or blown up at the hands of the marines who bore the brunt of the house-to-house fighting in both the first and final Fallujah battles, along with strong support from the Brits and the U.S. Army and Navy (especially in the latter battle). The cost for cutting the terrorist cancer from Fallujah? About 150 American lives (many of these marines) and nearly 1,200 wounded. Other, non-U.S. coalition forces also paid their price in blood for liberating the city.
Real, Not Contrived
The second Battle for Fallujah has been called the heaviest fighting U.S forces have seen since the the battle for Hue City during Vietnam's 1968 Tet Offensive. Interesting analogy, since I was at Hue in '68 doing my very small part to try and help liberate the ancient imperial capital from the clutches of the North Vietnamese Army (who were every bit as ruthless as any modern insurgent or terrorist could hope to be). Heavy casualties were suffered at Hue, with the marines bearing the brunt of that cost also. It was a meat grinder and a living hell for all concerned. Take it from someone who knows.
(Hue, Vietnam 1968.)
OK, enough history lessons. It's time to get to the point. Go back in time 10 years or so and imagine yourself yourself as one of those young marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors, or Brits who fought so hard to wrest Fallujah from the evil animals holding it. Along the way you've lost your share of good friends, buddies, shipmates, and fellow soldiers and marines. You've seen sights and heard sounds best left for nightmares and horror movies, only what you've experienced is totally real, not contrived.
Now fast forward to 2014 and hear that same talking head on the radio announce to you that Fallujah is once again in the hands of those filthy murderers of innocents. Think back to the friends you lost and the sacrifices you made in 2004. Tell me, just how are you going to feel? Or take it a step further and board that time machine for Hue in January, February, or even early March 1968. Again, after all that blood and sacrifice and treasure wasted, how are you going to feel when those North Vietnamese tanks roll into Hue in 1975?
I can't help but feel a bitter kinship with those who fought so hard at Fallujah only to see their sacrifices tossed like a soiled Kleenex into the dirt. What did they fight so hard for? Why did they sacrifice so much? Most importantly, what did their buddies die for?
And some of you still wonder why I despise politicians and the dirty money that drives them?
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org