Veteran Perspectives On The GWOT, and What Comes After

Marauder06

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So we have a thread on "the morality of the GWOT," but I don't think we had a consolidated thread on how veterans who fought in the GWOT feel about it, and how it affected their lives or the lives of their fellow vets.

Ground rules: just like any thread on this site, anyone can comment in this thread. However, IF YOU WANT TO POST AN OPINION about the GWOT, you MUST be a GWOT veteran, as in, you served overseas in an OER where hostilities were taking place that were covered by the GWOT umbrella. Others outside of that category may ask clarifying questions but please save your opinions about the GWOT for another thread.

here's something to get the discussion started:

_____________

"Listen, from one post-9/11 military veteran to another—we need to talk.

Like me, you pulled a stint in Iraq or Afghanistan back in the day. And you made it back alive and intact, which is great. I’m proud of you for your service, and you should be, too.

But you’ve changed. You’ve turned hostile, cynical and resentful toward the world around you. You spend way too much time on the Internet, stewing in the toxic corners of the social media world. You look down on all the civilians who didn’t join the military and thus “don’t get it.” Let’s not even get started on that thick mountain man beard you’ve grown…

The bottom line is that military service, and especially combat, changes you. But it’s up to you to determine what direction that change will take you. So make sure you choose to change for the better."

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Diamondback 2/2

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I think Obama shit on every OIF vet at a time where we actually had things stable enough professionalise the Iraqi security forces. I did 03-05 when shit was fucking crazy, came back 08-09, and there was hardly any gun play at all. The Sons of Iraq and all that jazz, was actually working. We could have basically given them a little breathing room before tossing them the ball and saying good luck. I believe ISIS was a direct result of Obama's decision to not do the status of forces agreement.

I was full in until that happened, and the fact that one clownshoe can be voted into office and basically toss the hard work, blood sweat and tears of so many into a trash can left me pretty bitter.

That coupled with my injuries and medical boot from the Army, I can say knowing what I know now, I wouldn't do it again. Most fun I never want to have again.

As for the guys I served with, brothers for life and never a finer bunch of outlaws!!! :ROFLMAO:

Lastly, my family has a very long tradition of service in the Army. I'm hoping that tradition dies with me, the way this country flip-flops on wars, veteran issues and how they have tinkered with the gender morning bullshit, I've simply developed distrust for the government and the Army leadership as a whole. Call me jaded or whatever, but there ain't no polishing a turd. I hope things change, and it sounds like somethings have. But the fairytale of bullshit values statements while everyone is stabbing others in the back, in and out of uniform, nah, I won't lie to my boy about this country or the Army.

My. 02
 

lindy

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The bottom line is that military service, and especially combat, changes you. But it’s up to you to determine what direction that change will take you.
Since we’re in the open forum, I’ll be brief.

I was living in MD but in a MS Guard unit that augmented an AD SF BN so when I demob’d, I was back in MD but my support structure (teammates) were in MS and NC. To make matters worse, I was working in an organization that is stereotyped as EXTREMELY introverted and nerdy.

Even surrounded by family and coworkers, I was all alone. People who ensured my survival weren’t there. I went from being surrounded by guys I trusted and who would give the shirts off their backs to self-serving coworkers who do anything to get ahead. Many meant well but didn’t understand how things were different. How could they? How does one even try to explain to suit and tie crowd about life in combat?..the desire to return but internal struggle not to?..living with both good and bad decisions?

My government friends just don’t understand the humor of a bunch being dehydrated, not thirsty but fucking dehydrated, getting IVs and cracking up cuz of the boner. I made the mistake of telling a work friend about going to the range years after coming back and the feeling of relaxation and security when I held my rifle. I felt safe again. I no shit thought they were going to call security.

Both my personal and professional lives have suffered because of OEF XIX but I am glad I went. I should have gone back when 1/3 went back over.

I’m REALLY eager to get back into the SOF world even as an old gray civilian because I’ll have a similar support structure.

If the topic is about morality of inflicting pain (terrorist, friends, family, or supporters) in support of GWOT, I enable specialized people to do special things to bad people. There’s a lot of work that goes on before someone declares Abu Fuckface worthy of surprise party. I’m not saying there isn’t CDE but rather if locals would take care of it, we wouldn’t.
 

Topkick

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Even surrounded by family and coworkers, I was all alone. People who ensured my survival weren’t there. I went from being surrounded by guys I trusted and who would give the shirts off their backs to self-serving coworkers who do anything to get ahead.
This pretty much sums it up for me. I've been retired for 10 years now, and still feel alone. I'm still a soldier and a misfit in the civilian world. I still feel like I have little in common with anybody out here. Any drama sets me off. I've mostly been able to compartmentalize my own combat experiences and close that chapter of the book, but still cant find a lot of common ground with civilians. I'm excelling professionally, love the family, but I still don't trust anyone out here. That's why I'm here.
 

lindy

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I think our perspectives have changed (more resilient) but We are not broken. I suspect the combat vets who “make the news” (like major crime) in a bad way had hidden problems before.

It’s Time To Reject The Myth Of The ‘Broken’ Military Veteran

That said, I honestly feel terrible for our brothers and sisters who are so overwhelmed that they feel there’s no way out. This board is my sanctuary...I hope others utilize it as a resource as well.
 

Teufel

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Since we’re in the open forum, I’ll be brief.

I was living in MD but in a MS Guard unit that augmented an AD SF BN so when I demob’d, I was back in MD but my support structure (teammates) were in MS and NC. To make matters worse, I was working in an organization that is stereotyped as EXTREMELY introverted and nerdy.

Even surrounded by family and coworkers, I was all alone. People who ensured my survival weren’t there. I went from being surrounded by guys I trusted and who would give the shirts off their backs to self-serving coworkers who do anything to get ahead. Many meant well but didn’t understand how things were different. How could they? How does one even try to explain to suit and tie crowd about life in combat?..the desire to return but internal struggle not to?..living with both good and bad decisions?

My government friends just don’t understand the humor of a bunch being dehydrated, not thirsty but fucking dehydrated, getting IVs and cracking up cuz of the boner. I made the mistake of telling a work friend about going to the range years after coming back and the feeling of relaxation and security when I held my rifle. I felt safe again. I no shit thought they were going to call security.

Both my personal and professional lives have suffered because of OEF XIX but I am glad I went. I should have gone back when 1/3 went back over.

I’m REALLY eager to get back into the SOF world even as an old gray civilian because I’ll have a similar support structure.

If the topic is about morality of inflicting pain (terrorist, friends, family, or supporters) in support of GWOT, I enable specialized people to do special things to bad people. There’s a lot of work that goes on before someone declares Abu Fuckface worthy of surprise party. I’m not saying there isn’t CDE but rather if locals would take care of it, we wouldn’t.
You still in Maryland?
 

Marauder06

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What were your big takeaways from your time in the GWOT?

Seven Things Veterans Know… That the Rest of America Doesn’t

inside American society. We’re not; we came from the civilian American populace, and assuming we live long enough, one day we all return there. It’s also erroneous to think of the Veteran Community as a homogeneous mass, when, like the society from which its members came, there is enormous diversity of thought and breadth of experiences within its ranks. But there are many nuances and norms of military life that stand out as shared experiences and knowledge inside the Veteran Community that might be different than that of society at large, and those differences are worth talking about. With that in mind, here are some things that veterans know that the rest of America might not, to start the discussion:
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BlackSmokeRisinG

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The GWOT

My experience: OIF Jan 04'-Mar 05', Oct. 06'-Jan 08' and contracting in Iraq Oct. 11'-May 12'

I do not regret my service, do not feel I was taken advantage of by the military, or that going into Iraq was a huge mistake based on "faulty intelligence". I can only speak on Iraq, here it goes.

PUBLIC OPINION: "The war in Iraq was a shady concoction by shadowy power brokers like the skull and bones society, neo-con indutrialists, and politicians pulling the strings of the IC to distort the intelligence they had to start a war. They either knew that Iraq probably didn't have WMD, didn't care or were too stupid to actually know. It was perpetuated by the MIC; the purpose was to take control of Iraq's oil reserves, put $$$ in the bank accounts of G.W. Bush's cronies, business partners. It only ended up inflaming the region, getting thousands of U.S. troops, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, and wasting trillions of U.S. tax dollars on useless military hardware, healthcare for injured veterans, and increased the federal budget to unsustainable levels."

Me: That's a bunch of bullshit...
Feel free to refute this if you know better than I.



3rd-infantry-saddam-911_s.jpgsaddam-shrine.jpg

"By God, spare us your evil. Pick up your goods and leave. We do not need an atomic bomb. We have the dual chemical. Let them take note of this. We have the dual chemical. It exists in Iraq."
-Uncle Saddam

Without completely derailing the thread into a conversation about the reasons we went in the first place, I'll just leave the above comments.

My service in Iraq taught me more about how the government works, and people in general than I would have ever learned without my time in the Army. You learn firsthand how shady and full of it the media is, how inefficient the government is, how important the rule of law is, how weird a bullet sounds when it passes by, I mean the education alone was worth the risk.
 

Topkick

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I can only speak on OIF, but I'd have to say that my biggest takeaway from the GWOT is that you can't build a nation unless they want to be built. It was obvious to me from almost SP time that building a democracy, training an Army, repairing infrastructure, etc wasn't going to work. I discovered that not all people share the same dream..thats a fallacy. We tried.
 
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11Bull

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I hope I don't get nailed to a cross for this...

My experience in Afghanistan wasn't action or exciting, mostly on a mega-fob being embarrassed I was deployed there. However I did get to feel what the thoughts about the war was for the average person over there.
It was mainly either " I don't care, let me do what I trained for " or " Yea, this war is a lost cause". This was from both junior enlisted to guys in surprisingly influential positions.
I'm not in charge of shit, but I see a lot of units sitting around to make the numbers look good, and a lot of Afghanistan not under our control.
 

BloodStripe

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I think that veteran's from every war are just like us, except WW2 vets. We have experiences that most civilians don't care to actually know. There were zero sacrifices made by nonmilitary families during the wars, except maybe worrying about how to fill a reservist or Guard guys spot at work while he/she were deployed. I think what made WW2 veterans different from us is that everyone made that war happen, from sewing to slinging led downrange. They came home and most of them had bought homes in the burbs and had neighbors that experienced the same shit they did. In my opinion, that support network enabled them to transition easier than any other group of veterans. My generation is lucky in that we had parents who are Vietnam vets and they didn't let us come home like they did.
 
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Jaknight

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I hope I’m not out of order asking these questions. My questions are

1.) Was The GWOT worth all the sacrifices you men and women made?

2.) knowing what you know now would you do it again?
 
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