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December 03, 2005

A great honor

As some of my readers know, my day job is with Microsoft in the Xbox group, which among other things should explain why I've been a bit too busy to blog much lately. On Friday we had a big party to celebrate the launch of the Xbox 360. It was a good party, featuring the Presidents of the United States of America, who played Lump at least twice. But the best part for me wasn't the entertainment, or the free booze, or even the spectacle of 2,000 drunk nerds trying to dance. No, the best part was a conversation I had with some extraordinary men.

The company did its best to keep the party exclusive. Only people who worked directly on the console were invited; not even the employees of Microsoft Game Studios, who developed some crucial launch titles, were admitted. But the company did extend invitations to some non-Xbox employees: a handful of soldiers from Ft. Lewis who had just returned from Iraq. I talked to several, including spending nearly an hour with a corporal who was home to recuperate from an injury sustained in combat.

What they told me was not novel; anybody who follows the conservative blogs has heard nearly identical wording from other soldiers. But hearing it live and in person from men who've been there was a very powerful experience. To a man, they were infuriated with the media. They cannot believe that the war they see on television is the same war they're fighting, and they're baffled and angered that journalists seem to be going out of their way to paint a falsely negative picture. And they believe very strongly in their mission. They are certain that they are winning.

The recovering corporal (who I will not name) had been shot a total of twenty-three times, including three times in the back by a friendly but careless SAW gunner. Apparently, American Kevlar is some pretty effective stuff. He'd also cracked three ribs when he caught an RPG round in his chest. Fortunately, he'd gotten the drop on the RPG's owner (now deceased) who as a result did not have time to arm the grenade before igniting the rocket. His firstborn is on the way. And yet, he can't wait to go back. He's frustrated that his men are there without him.

He told me stories of room-to-room fighting against enemies who were shooting at them from inside an orphanage, while terrified children screamed and cried. He told me of taking sniper fire from inside a mosque, but being under orders not to return fire, to instead move up and physically take down the enemy rather than shoot at a holy site.

Words cannot express my gratitude towards these men, nor my pride that America has such heroes in its service. Any words I use, no matter how superlative, would be shamefully inadequate. All I can offer are tokens. But I'll say this much: I'm going to do my utmost to see to it that these men get some Xbox 360s to play with.

December 3, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

To be fair, they should also be infuriated by the Bush Admin. Bush is doing a lousy job of leading. For all the paranoid whining by Libs of how Karl Rove runs such an incredible media machine, there is not nearly enough effort on the part of the administration to get word out of the good being done. I don't know if they're waiting for what they consider the best opportunity, but the recent effort to speak out and lash back should have been happening ages ago.

All that said, yes, of course, the media is a biased shitfest, refusing to look for a positive report in the constant effort to help the Dems. I love Kerry's new quote from yesterday, which the media should be all over, but will likely ignore:
December 4, 2005, CBS Face The Nation: "And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the-of-the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not… Iraqis should be doing that."

Posted by: odietamo | Dec 5, 2005 3:56:13 PM

I've been wondering about that. We know that Bush's political team is extremely competent. I suspect that Bush's silence through the summer was probably an attempt to let his opponents take enough rope to hang themselves. But we shall see.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Dec 6, 2005 9:49:51 AM

From what I've read and heard about the military, a corporal is supposed to be focused on the "small-picture stuff." Everything else is, as they say, above his pay grade.

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