October 14, 2014 by JImbo
Wow does this bring back memories. I was there 2004-2005 just down the road in Tikrit.This was a few years before the discovery they’re talking about, but I think I was AT “Spider” before… if that’s the big place about where it looks on the map that was just a big berm with a bunch of antennas sticking out of it. We used to convoy hot chow out there daily because they didn’t have a kitchen.
The old DCUs, the hodepdge half-armored humvees, the guys working on pulling out canisters of “unknown stuff” and unmarked artillery rounds.
I didn’t have to go into any of those bunkers, but I know guys who did. They had quite a few stories.
Bottom line is when I tell people the stories of this stuff being found they “pooh pooh” it and either a) don’t believe me or b) dismiss it as meaningless. Sorry if I don’t consider this dangerous work “meaningless.”
“Well it wasn’t an ACTIVE program!” they say. Usually it’s folks who quite ACTIVELY hate George Bush and Republicans. They can’t admit there was a reason to go there.
For us, we saw a damn good reason to clean that stuff up. Those were still LIVE ROUNDS. if they were made 10 years before or 20 years before… or two days before.
So what? They were live chemical weapons! Most of our nuclear bombs are decades old. Does that mean they’re ‘meaningless?” “Useless?” “Obsolete?”
Saddam wasn’t supposed to have them.
He said he didn’t have them.
The way the “peace” unfolded was a clusterfudge of the highest order. We (or rather the leadership anyway) learned NOTHING from previous wars and fired basically EVERYONE in any position of authority or in government service, from the Soldiers to the Police, Teachers, Mayors, even the Janitors.
What did they THINK was going to happen when you fire EVERYONE in the country? Everything collapsed. Did they not think looting might happen when they fired every police officer?
Then they acted surprised when the pissed off, unemployed workers tried to get revenge by attacking us. Made sense to us why they were pissed. Most of them weren’t “terrorists.” They were simply angry, frustrated and unemployed trying to feed their families.
How could they respect the “new” replacements in their positions who came in with no training, hired simply because they were “new” (and Shi’ite?) Wouldn’t you be upset? Then Al Qaeda comes in and offers you cash to blow up the bastards who took your job? It wasn’t a hard sell.
Of course the locals didn’t really LIKE the terrorists. They didn’t care for the Sharia Law. They didn’t like their snobbish ways. They were dirty, wild-eyes foreigners who didn’t give a crap about blowing up a marketplace full of Iraqis.
“Collateral damage” as we would call it. “Martyrs to Allah” Al Qaeda would say. The locals iraqis just said “A pox on both your houses!”
We managed to forge some bonds with the locals. I went on some of those missions. Met the locals we hired for work around the base. Ran into the police and soldiers on duty.
I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had we just left well enough alone. Not deposed Saddam. That was kind of a foregone conclusion after the whole UN sanctions and dozens of nations in the coalition.
However, if we had done what we did in Germany or Japan… left the local infrastructure alone… and just let them elect another leader. Would things have turned out much differently? Would we have left with a couple years? Would everything since then… the sectarian bloodshed, the influx of terrorists, ISIS, etc…. would it have all not happened?
Who knows. Too late to know now. You reap what you sow.
I will say that I’m glad we cleaned out all those chemical weapons. I respect the guys who did that. I never wanted that job.
As it is, I expect sometime soon ISIS to run across an undiscovered cache and use them. They already showed they were willing to use chemical weapons they captured in Syria.
Our President tried to blame the Syrian military but what sense did that make? Why would the winning side (at the time) use chemical weapons and virtually guarantee to piss us off and want to attack them? Looks like it was ISIS or Muslim Brotherhood that did it.
Imagine how much nasty stuff they’d have had access to if we hadn’t gone in and destroyed it.