Joe Galloway: What It’s Really Like Over There
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About the Author
Joseph L. Galloway is the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and a nationally syndicated columnist. One of America’s preeminent war correspondents, with more than four decades as a reporter and writer, he recently concluded an assignment as a special consultant to Gen. Colin Powell at the State Department.
Galloway, a native of Refugio, Texas, spent 22 years as a foreign and war correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International, and nearly 20 years as a senior editor and senior writer for U.S. News & World Report magazine.
[JR: He was THE writer in Mel Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers”]
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June 23, 2004
WASHINGTON – The Internet, which fills our inboxes with spam and scams every day and keeps our delete keys shiny, occasionally delivers a real keeper, such as the words below, which were written by a graduate of West Point, Class of 2003, who’s now at war in Iraq.
We tracked down the author, who gave us permission to quote from his letter so long as we didn’t reveal his name.
Old soldiers in the Civil War coined a phrase for green troops who survived their first taste of battle: “He has seen the elephant.” This Army lieutenant sums up the combat experience better than many a grizzled veteran:
“Well, I’m here in Iraq, and I’ve seen it, and done it. I’ve seen everything you’ve ever seen in a war movie. I’ve seen cowardice; I’ve seen heroism; I’ve seen fear; and I’ve seen relief. I’ve seen blood and brains all over the back of a vehicle, and I’ve seen men bleed to death surrounded by their comrades. I’ve seen people throw up when it’s all over, and I’ve seen the same shell-shocked look in 35-year-old experienced sergeants as in 19-year-old privates. … … … …
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Let’s bring all the girls, boys, women, and men home now! We have so many politicians and bureaucrats to send in their place if it’s really needed!
I’ve been lucky in not having to “see the elephant” first hand.
But, I have seen enough of the results to know that this is the LAST resort.
I continue to insist that the “representatives” meet the returning H.R. and truly understand what their vote costs in terms of blood. The senator, congressman, other elected politicians, and appointed bureaucrats should meet “My soldier is on his way back to … …”!
Dona Nobis Pacem
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