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A Palace Update From Col. Marc

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My pal Colonel Marc, the 55 year old “retired on active duty” who volunteered to return after 9/11 and then worked hard to get in top shape to accept the assignment to Baghdad, has sent me his latest “palace update.”  He is not happy with

Hello to all,
I have had an exciting week and have had some different experiences.  I again had an opportunity to accompany some DV trips off the Camp VIctory Compound and see some more of Iraq and some of my former Cadets.  On Wednesday I took a helo to Taji and had an opportunity to see the base where my son William was stationed when he was here in 2003.  The change is amazing.  many repaired buildings, hard trailers for living quarters a huge new dining facility.  That is a far cry from when William was there living in bombed out buildings with no showers and eating MREs for meals.  On Saturday I was able to go and see my former Cadet who was wounded.  He is fine, in great spirits and continueing his important work.  Our soldiers are resiliant and hard working.  He did not drop a beat in his contribution to the war effort. Later that day I went and saw another former Cadet on his compound.  He is working hard and in great spirits even in light of his living conditions which are the bare minimum on his newly created base.  He is living in a tent with 12 other soldiers and existing in a sea of 6 inch deep dust.  But he is charging on and preforming his duties cheerfully.  These are two of the great dedicated soldiers that are out here fighting the war and trying to keep it away from home.  I owe them very much and will take them to dinner when I see them at home.  I am very proud of them.  So far I have been able to see 3 of the 5 Cadets that I have out here. 
Now I would like to talk about the politicalization of the Military. [# More #]  First let me explain that every member of the Armed Forces takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  Not to suppport any party, office or person.  We take that oath very seriously so much so that the oath I took 34 years ago at UCLA is still important to me, very real, and drives my actions.  I am always under that oath.  It is one of the reasons I came back on active duty and deployed to Iraq. 
We soldiers have political views but they have no place in the preformance of our duty.  We serve under the President and it does not matter what we think of that president or what party he is from.  We execute his orders and take direction from him as the Commander and Chief through the Secretary of Defense.  That is how the Constitution is set up.  Those civilians give us our marching orders.  However we are not political spokesmen for the President or for any political party.  We speak our minds and then take our orders and execute them.  Hopefully those orders are in line with our assesments and the operations we prefer.  But if not we execute anyway.
GEN Petraeus developed a strategy sometime last year to handle the terrorism in Iraq, to reduce the violence and control the nation.  That strategy came out of his indepth study of insurgency and his development of the new US Army Counter Insurgency Manual.  He discussed that strategy with the Congress during his confirmation hearings and Congress overwhelming confirmed him, to include Harry Ried and Hillery Clinton.  That strategy was in line with the President’s ideas on how to defeat the terrorists.  Congress gave GEN Petraeus the mandate to report back to them on the progress of the war.  He asked for some time to see how the surge developed and how successful it would be.  The date was set for Sept. 
Well the surge is definately working.  I read all the data the intell reports and listen to many of the briefings.  GEN Petraeus is out among the Divisions, units and soldiers daily he has a better grasp of what is happening in Iraq then any other person in the US.  He reports what he sees and knows.  However for purly political reasons Congressmen, Senators, news persons and political committees like MOVE ON.ORG choose to call this wartime Commander a LIAR.  By extension they call all of us liars.  The CG (Commanding General) is reporting the situation, he is not cooking the books or distorting the situation.  The surge is working.We are not spokesmen for the administration nor flunkies for the President …
We serve you, we report what we see, we live in difficult circumstances and only want to win and get back home.  We do not like being targets and being away from our families but we know what both the cost of war is and also the result of war, both to win and to lose.  Yet we fight and none of us are crying to come home.  We want to finish this war by wining and giving Iraq a democratic future and killing AL Qaeda.  Yet in a disgusting display calls the CG a traitor.  Do the Democrats who take money from MoveOn distance themselves from that ad? NO…
The militray, one of the most trusted and apolitical institutions in the Nation, has been disrespected by a political party using an institution (Congress) that at this point in time has a lower poll rating then the President.  If we are to be disrespected by them for doing our job and reporting honestly as required by Congress then we may at some point in time be forced to take sides in the political debate.  Do you really want us to be political.  Ads like Move do untold damage to the image and professionalism of the military by saying that we already have taken sides.  We all take it personally.  If you dont repudiate both the disgusting ad and those who support it we will find a military prone to take sides in political battles.  I know many who don’t agree with the war will discount what I say and my position on the course of the war.  However I am in a position to know what I am talking about.  I won’t tell the lawers how to work the law, or doctors how to operate, but I am an experienced soldier at war in the war zone in an office next to the CG. I know what I am talking about. 
The Democrats had expected 6 months ago to hear a negative report in Sep and then attack the President for his failed war policy.  When that did not happen they did not know what to do so they attacked the messanger and have done irrepairable damage to the military.  Don’t forget, we dont go to “die in” demonstrations in Washington we are out here really dying for you, for freedom, for the United States, and we are not asking to come home.  We are asking for you to let us win this.
Well enough I am beginning to sound a little too serious.  Actually we try to keep it light out here as to take ourselves too serious can also be dangerous.  Thank you all again for reading through this long post.  It is important, at least we think so.
Fighting Irish War Dog


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