Not eager to return to the sandbox
08/27: One Marine not looking forward to possible recall
BY MICHAEL BURKE
MOUNT PLEASANT — Four years ago, when Elliot Anderson joined the Marine Corps, the then-Mount Pleasant resident was fully ready to serve his country — and he has.
Anderson served his four years, was promoted to sergeant, went to Afghanistan, experienced the deaths of fellow Marines, and was honorably discharged last August.
Now, he’s facing the possibility of being recalled and sent to Iraq; the Bush administration recently announced it may start drawing from inactive Marines to wage the Iraq war.
Both Anderson, 23, and his father, Ed Anderson of Mount Pleasant, are seething at the news of a possible recall of Marines to fight what they say has been a botched war by the administration.
“I’m pretty irritated about it,” Elliot said Sunday by phone from Las Vegas, where he is working as a dealer in a casino and starting college at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas today.
“I get pretty frustrated that, because you (the Bush administration) messed up, you’re going to mess up my life.
“When we were in Vietnam, none of these guys did anything,” he added.
The Marines will ask for volunteers first, but Elliot scoffed at that notion. “I laughed when they said they were going to ask for volunteers, and I thought, ‘Wow, good luck with that.’ ”
He will be more likely than most to be sent into Iraq if and when inactive Marines start being recalled. “I’m a sergeant. That’s probably going to hurt me,” Elliot said. Even in peace time, the Marines are traditionally short of that rank.
Moreover, he is a machine gunner, and the military wants combat arms. If Elliot is recalled, he surmised he could be sent for about a year to 18 months.
Of course, the wingnuts in the comments called him a traitor for not shutting his mouth and going back to the sandbox
Marine responds to critics that call him a traitor
Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 09:41:48 AM PDT
After reading some of the comments that were posted about me online I felt it necessary to respond to my critics. On Monday August 28th, the Racine Journal Times ran an article about me. I was interviewed about what I thought about the Marine Corps calling up individual ready reservists to fight the war in Iraq. When I was asked questions about what I thought, I answered honestly.
I do not believe our national security is at risk in an Iraqi civil war. Therefore I do not believe in sacrificing American lives to mediate Iraqis who kill each other, or for Iraqis who are not thankful for the liberation of their country. They just don't care about the losses the American military suffered doing it. I also think that Al-Qaida is such a small percentage in this conflict that it is not viable to be there. I also do not buy the argument that Al-Qaida will come to our homeland if we leave. Why wouldn't they go to that other country, the real war on terror in Afghanistan? Last I checked Osama Bin Laden is still over there somewhere.
I also have a problem with the leader of our country. The President has failed in a basic tenant of leadership which is keeping his administration accountable. That is the last scourge of leadership, taking responsibility for when you make a mistake. Whether it be Iraq, Katrina, failure to secure our border or our ports, this President has failed in that. As a Marine Sergeant I have practiced more leadership and know more about leadership than the President of this country, and that scares me to death. I have seen people disciplined severely for not filling up a gas tank on a humvee while in combat. If he is not doing his job, it is our job to demand that he does. However there are those who think the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the rest of the administration should be immune to criticism because in wartime we should support our leader by giving him a blank check. The military is in combat and still holds its leaders accountable, why can't the President be held accountable? Giving the leader a blank check regardless of a track record is what happens in Iran, China, and North Korea. That is not American!
After all of this being said I am, a man first. I did sign a contract and I will go back to duty if ordered. That has nothing to do with being a marine. I will go because if I don't another marine will. I will go because there are other marines stuck over there who want to get the chance to make it home. I will go because I will be doing it for those marines; I do not care about Iraq or its people. I care about America.
Finally, I have had numerous people who have decried me as a coward, ungrateful, un-American, a traitor, and everything else you can think of. To those of you who believe that I would ask you to read the Constitution and some of quotes from our founding fathers. Although not a founding father, a quote from Voltaire strikes me as one of the most American of all and is one that greatly inspired our American system
"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it"
After the article about me came out I have been judged by a good part of Racine. For four years of my life I have proudly lived, loved, sweat, and suffered Marine Corps. I will not sit idly by and be slandered for practicing the rights I have defended for those four years and in the name of those rights that I may serve yet again. I have earned my right to say what I want without that kind of nonsense. It is one thing to disagree with what I am saying and use your free speech but it reprehensible to do what a lot of people did in calling me those fore mentioned terms. It is even more reprehensible getting those comments from those like our leaders who have not fought in combat and have no idea what it is like. (That includes our President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense).
There are also those who claim I shouldn't have an opinion while I am in the military. I do agree with that when talking about an active duty unit. The status I am in (inactive), allows me the rights afforded by our constitution and is consistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well. It is not pre-judicial to good order and discipline, and I am not even subject to any punitive articles unless the violation of the UCMJ was committed on active duty. There is no compelling reason like there is in an active duty unit to deny me our basic American rights. If you truly love America and the values that make America, you should not either.
Loving America is more than wrapping yourself in a flag. Its about defending American values.
The sad part is that he didn't have to defend himself. People more than stood up for him. This kid was a rifleman and a sergeant and some asshole who sits behind a keyboard wants to call him a coward because he's not eager to return to play in the sandbox?
He did his part, in Afghanistan, and people have the balls to sit back and critize him for not wanting to go back and fight? He knew damn well he would see combat, did, and wants to get his education and get past the nightmares.
When people talk about the military, they often see automations who blindly support Bush, as if the rights and assumptions of Americans end when you wear a uniform. Just because he joined the Marines doesn't mean he joined the GOP.
The true cowards as the ones who can't face the fact that we're losing this war. This young man is a hero, not for going to Afghanistan, they don't give you a choice in that, but in defending himself and his opinion against the ignorant and cowardly.
posted by Steve @ 1:05:00 PM