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Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2002.09.09
Meeting Face to Face

[ Going back over my old mail I came across this exchange with a soldier via email. I never did find out what set him off, but below is our exchange. This piece is not in any way meant to insult this person. I just liked some of my words below so I thought, in retrospect, that it was worth posting here. ]

Today I open my emailbox to find this lovely letter.

From: Tom
Subject: You

From what I have read of you site I see you must be a young, idealist that has no real clue what goes on in the world. I don't have the luxury of your position. See I am a soldier stationed in Europe waiting for my orders to attack IRAQ. So I know I will soon be at war defending your right to be stupid. I only hope most people won't listen to idiots like you be instead listen to logic.

Enjoy your freedom.
People like myself ensure it.

Goodness. Well I wasn't sure exactly what on my pages generated this passion but I took the time to respond as calmly as possible.

> From what I have read of you site I see you must be a young, idealist
> that has no real clue what goes on in the world.

I'm 36. Idealist, sure. Aren't we all to a degree? "No real clue". Maybe, although I've got a certain amount of life experience including getting kicked out of college, traveling in Europe, starting my own business, raising a family. I certainly have little clue of your world and you have little clue of mine.

> See I am a soldier stationed in Europe waiting for my orders to
> attack IRAQ.  So I know I will soon be at war defending your right
> to be stupid.

Defending stupidity? Is that what US soldiers do these days? I always thought you guys preserved our liberties, including the right to publicly disagree.

> I only hope most people won't listen to idiots like you be instead
> listen to logic.

I see a lot of emotion in your response. Care to share some of your logic?

> Enjoy your freedom.  People like myself ensure it.

And I certainly appreciate your work. I have friends in the military and have considered joining the Navy or Coast Guard a couple of times in my life. Regardless on what happens in Iraq, I will support your and your fellow soldiers' efforts in the name of our country.

However, my support of your actions in no way means that I support the decisions to send you into Iraq. The US has fucked this up so many times in the past: Anastasio Samosa, the Shaw, Fulgencio Batista, Ferdinand Marcos, etc, etc.. Hell, we gave Saddam millions when he was fighting Iran just like we gave millions to the Afghans and Osama Bin Laden when they were fighting the Soviets. We created these monsters.

We need to stop playing international cop and god. The rest of the world is pissed off at us these days for good reason and it's only going to get worse. God help the US if we ever stop being the biggest marketplace in the world. That's the only reason why people are being polite.

What we should be doing is stopping to pay Saudi Arabia one more dirty nickle. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia not including Osama. Anyone who doesn't believe that oil money sponsors Islamic fundamentalism is a fool. This and our stopping of financing to Israel will go longer to promote US security than leveling Iraq.

But I ramble. Best of luck over there dude. Stay safe. Remember that 99% of Iraq are just poor suckers with a true fucker as their leader.

Oh, and may I ask what part of my pages generated your response?

So I was prepared for the next onslaught from Tom but got this instead.

From: Tom

Well I must be honest that I don't recall responding to your web site. Please send me a link to it and perhaps it would jog my memory. My wife says it is so bad I could hide my own easter eggs.

I suspect it said something bad about the military and that prompted my response. I have served for 19 + years on active duty and can be rather sensitive about the topic. Most of the other stuff you said I agree with. We have screwed up with alot of our foreign policy decisions in the past and they now haunt us.

So now the government seeks to send me and my peers to go "fix" the problems left by others. I certainly am not happy with that. Again please send me the link to your web site. I'm interested to see why I emailed you in the first place. And if nothing else thank you for being a tax paying american maybe some of the money we pay in taxes will help buy the bomb that will save my life if I should have to go.

Whew! My response:

> Please send me a link to it and perhaps it would jog my memory.  My
> wife says it is so bad I could hide my own easter eggs.

:-) Here's my 9/11 site. Feel free to comment.

http://256stuff.com/gray/thoughts/2001/20010912/
> I suspect it said something bad about the military and that prompted my 
> response.

Hmm. A quick look doesn't show me saying anything bad about the military. It certainly questions any quick reaction to 9/11. Feel free to point out what offended you.

> I have served for 19+ years on active duty and can be rather 
> sensitive about the topic.

I can well imagine.

One of the things that I worry about is the "green wall" if you will. That the military (like the "blue wall" of the police) should take care of its own problems and that common Americans shouldn't criticize, have input, let alone any oversight. There are other organizations including unions, AMA, etc. who get so defensive about their members and environment that they never properly self police. They end up with lower public trust and do themselves a disservice. Just my $0.02.

> We have screwed up with alot of our foreign policy decisions in the
> past and they now haunt us.  So now the government seeks to send me
> and my peers to go "fix" the problems left by others.

Yeah. This really pisses me off.

> And if nothing else thank you for being a tax paying american maybe
> some of the money we pay in taxes will help buy the bomb that will
> save my life if I should have to go.

I'd like to think that we'd spend the money to pay you to actually defend our country instead of "fixing" regimes half way around the world but that is a different discussion.

Best of luck dude.

Again, no offense to Tom at all. I just hope the dude made it out of Iraq in one piece.

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