Conclusion (to Lies and More Lies)Ó
It is impossible to sift through the mass media accounts of ‘women-in-combat’ and get a true picture of what is happening in our Armed Forces today. The data, the facts, are simply not there. The data that are available are slanted in such a way as to promote the idea that our female soldiers are actually in combat roles – simply because they are dying in roadside bombings and other insurgent attacks in Iraq. The mass media is full of such accounts which focus on the emotional ‘sob story’ aspects of these tragic losses. Americans are deluged with such accounts. And we are being deluded. Women are not, repeat not engaged in combat operations against the enemy in Iraq. They are not taking offensive actions against the enemy. Only the male soldiers in ‘fighting’ units do this. In fact, even the mass media propaganda on this subject never use the word ‘fight’ or ‘fighters.’ It is always the words job, or career, or sometimes law enforcement that are used to describe their role. And stories which describe that role are prevalent while the real fighters, the men in real-life combat are not only neglected, they seldom reach headline status. So, who are the real ‘fighters’ in the war on jihadistan?
The real ‘fighters’ are men like Master Sgt. Tony Pryor, one of 26 Special Forces soldiers who raided an al-Qaeda compound in the mountains north of Kandahar in Afghanistan in 2002. His story is representative of hundreds of such stories in the battles in Iraq; in Fallujah, Sadr City, Mosul, and dozens of other hotbeds of terrorist activity. His story follows . “For a few seconds on a frigid Agfhan night, [Sgt. Pryor] fought America’s war on terror with only his bare hands…[he] found himself alone in a room with three enemy fighters. He shot two of them dead in the first few seconds. The third he would have to fight – and kill – hand to hand, so close he could smell the man’s sour breath.”
“War creates widows, orphans, disabled Purple Heart veterans – and soldiers such as Pryor, proficient in the dark art of killing. All of the nation’s nearly 30,000 special operations soldiers, sailors, and airmen [and he should have included Marines] are skilled at close combat. But Pryor was specially trained. He was one of more than 80 Army Special Forces troops who drilled relentlessly in close-quarter fighting – a combination of martial arts and street fighting – to prepare for a series of raids in Afghanistan.”
“‘Whatever digging, scratching, biting, hair-pulling, ear-ripping-off – whatever you got to do to get the job done, that’s what you do,’ Pryor says, explaining actions that night that won him the Silver Star for heroism and saved the lives of other team members in the compound. ‘Because, bottom line, I got a life at home. They (his comrades) got a life at home. And we’re coming home.’ That kind of close-up killing, though rare in Afghanistan, has become more common in the broader fighting of Iraq…”
“The men were ‘direct action’ A-Team members, also known as assaulters, door-kickers or ‘five-minute wonders.’ They are the first to enter buildings, and they use SWAT-team-like tactics. Close-in combat skills are crucial…Pryor, the senior enlisted officer that night, is a bull of a man. Only 5-foot-11, he weighs 235 pounds. At the time, he could bench-press almost twice that. Team members call him a ferocious competitor, the epitome of a warrior.”
“From the air that night their target looked like a U-shaped building within a walled compound. But on the ground it turned out to be three buildings separated by covered breezeways. The team charged into one breezeway and lobbed a flash-bang grenade, designed to disorient enemy troops, into the central courtyard…Al Qaeda fighters fired back, and the bullets raised clouds of stone from walls of the alleyway. Troops had to push through the gunfire and cut left and right to clear rooms. Pryor, whose healthy-sized cranium has earned him the nickname ‘Bucket,’ led the way. He stepped around a corner and shot a man coming at him with an AK-47 a few feet away.”
“The al Qaeda men appeared well-trained and disciplined. Twenty-one of them would fight to the death. As Pryor entered the first room to his right, he came face-to-face with a second fighter emerging from the doorway. Unable to see a weapon in that split-second, Pryor slugged the man and knocked him down, blowing past him into the room. But the fighter rose with an AK-47. [Pryor’s buddy], still in the courtyard, fired a single round from his M-4 carbine and killed the man.”
“Other team members had gone on to clear the rest of the buildings and Pryor faced the fighters in the room alone. If any got past him – or worse, killed Pryor – they could shoot other GIs in the back. It was Pryor’s fight now to win. As he entered the 25-by-25-foot room, his eyes swept from left to right. Bedrolls littered the floor, and two fighters at the rear of the room took aim through windows at other Americans entering the compound. Both swung toward Pryor, Kalashnikovs in their hands. Pryor fired, the rounds striking so dead-center that the men’s beards fluttered. As he reloaded, Pryor felt a foot brush up against his boot. At first, he thought it was another American. It wasn’t. An al-Qaeda fighter struck Pryor hard from behind. The blow, possibly from a wooden board, dislocated Pryor’s shoulder and broke his collarbone.”
“The fighter, bearded with his hair in a ponytail, jumped on Pryor’s back and clawed at his face, tearing off his night-vision goggles. ‘He started sticking his stinking little fingers into my eyeballs,’ Pryor remembers. His left shoulder felt like it was on fire. He was winded and weary from fighting at an altitude of 8,000 feet. Without night vision, everything was black…The battle outside raged on…The air reeked of gunpowder and the copper scent of blood. Inside that first room, the two fighters – al-Qaeda and American – were fighting to the death. Pryor had only a single thought: You’re not going to kill me. ‘That’s how I attack things,’ he says later.”
“With one good arm, Pryor grabbed his enemy by the hair. But the man’s weight, combined with 80 pounds of Army gear that Pryor wore, caused the two to fall. They landed on Pryor’s left elbow, and the impact jammed his shoulder back into its socket. Now he could fight with both hands. In a few desperate seconds Pryor broke the man’s neck and finished him with a 9mm pistol. Miraculously not another American was injured that night. ‘There aren’t any widows or orphans because of him,’ says [a fellow soldier] of Pryor.”
“In his 14 years in the Special Forces, Pryor has killed before, but never in hand-to-hand fighting. That night, he worried first, however, about his soldiers, who had shot it out with al-Qaeda inside other rooms. Around a wood fire at base camp hours later, Pryor offered solace. ‘I went around and touched every one of those guys,’ he says. ‘Everybody looked like they’d aged about 10 years.’ For him, sleepless nights followed.” But observe, the Sgt. Pryors – the real fighters – have no need for help from psychologists.
“He dispelled demons with cathartic heart-to-heart talks with his tent-mate, [Sgt. 1st Class James Hogg], replaying details of the fighting and dying. ‘A little bit of defragging of your hard drive,’ Pryor calls it. ‘Three articles of faith got him through,’ he says. First was pride in a successful mission: Training had paid off. Second was seeing the war as righteous, ‘We didn’t start it,’ Pryor says. ‘They started this fight. We’re in the right.’ Third was his children and the future. ‘I remember him saying, Hogg recalls, ‘You know, it’s an ugly business, it’s a terrible thing for us to do. But hopefully our kids won’t have to cope with it.’” This attitude of our American fighting men is one of ‘sheepdogs’ or ‘shepherds,’ as described  by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his seminal book, ‘On Killing.’
Master Sgt. Pryor has that attitude. “To cope with killing, Pryor says he lives two lives: one consumed with training for and fighting war, the other immersed in family. ‘Two different lifestyles, two different on-and-off switches,’ he says. ‘If you’re Johnny on the spot, focused on destruction, destruction, destruction all the time, where do you have time for compassion in a relationship with your wife? We’re dedicated to our job. But there has to be a time to turn that off.’ It is not easy for him to explain how he flips this switch, though he says that one way is to simply not discuss work and war when he leaves the base.”
“It bothers Pryor that civilians might see him and his troops as Rambo-like killers. ‘People look at people who do this stuff and it’s always, ‘they’re killers, and that’s what they live for,’ Pryor says. ‘That is so far from reality.’ Certainly, they don’t shrink from the task of taking life if necessary. Pryor is a student of Sun Tzu’s classic The Art of War, and a favorite topic is the legend of the Mongoday, the elite warriors of Genghis Khan. He and his troops train exhaustively in spotting the enemy and withholding fire. The night of the assault, members of a farming family armed with a rifle in a building that was searched nearby were left untouched because they offered no resistance. And at the height of action, with adrenaline raging, an al-Qaeda fighter chose to surrender and was taken unharmed. The control seems as ingrained as the reaction.”
“The other GIs tell of a firefight weeks earlier during which Pryor entered a room that was ablaze and spotted movement under a blanket. He didn’t shoot. Pausing to search, he found a baby girl, pulled her free and passed her to a team member. Off the battlefield, Pryor has a gentle reputation. For security reasons, he declines to discuss immediate family, but he says he forbids toy guns in his home. [Another team member] remembers finding ‘Bucket’ in his garage once nursing a newborn raccoon with an eye dropper. ‘The wives just think he’s a big old teddy bear,’ Hogg says.”
“Though he was earning straight A’s by the end of high school, college held no appeal. Like other young men from rural towns, he longed to escape. In 1988, he was accepted into the Green Berets, one of 79 chosen from an entry class of 429…He has had two reconstructive surgeries to repair damage from that battle in Afghanistan. A chunk of his collarbone, removed during an operation, is kept in a jar as a souvenir. That, and the violent images, are what he has left. ‘It never goes away,’ Pryor says. ‘It just gets put further back in your mind.’ Hoff, the teammate who helped Pryor exorcise his demons from that night, says these are the prices they pay for lethal work. ‘But there are a few of us who are called to it. So that’s what we do. Maybe people should at least keep us in their prayers.’”
America – keep this picture in your mind when you read about the faux ‘women-in-combat’ stories in our nations press and TV. Compare it to the FOBBITs and the ‘Queens for a Year’ presently deployed in Iraq. And compare it to the many phony stories in the mass media of how our nation’s ‘fighting men’ are abusing women in the military . “At least 112 women in the military have reported being assaulted by fellow service members in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past two years, military officials told the Senate yesterday…At least 86 sexual-assault cases have been reported in the U.S. Army.” One wonders how many of those reported assaults involve Ms. Williams’ ‘Queens for a Year’ in Iraq.
By far one conclusion overshadows all others. That is, the startling new revelation in the New York Times that finally gives the correct count of ‘Women Killed in Action’ in Iraq. It is an admission, although not purposeful, that they have been lying to us all along about the ‘Faces of the Fallen,’ which have depicted the ‘combat casualties’ that we have been fed for the past two years. The story appeared recently in a front page, nearly two-full-page spread aimed at the mistakes made by the Marines involving the three deaths and 13 injuries to women in a single suicide bombing of a Marine convoy transporting about 20 females to help search Iraqi women at the Fallujah’s many checkpoints. It, of course, lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of male marines.
Excerpts of the story follow . “The 120-degree June heat and rising tension in Falluja had already frayed the nerves of the Marine women when the cargo truck they were riding in pulled onto the main road and turned toward camp. It was only a 15-minute trip. But the blast took mere seconds to incinerate lives. The suicide bomber had waited for his victims alongside the road, and then rammed into the truck with deadly precision. The ambush ignited an inferno – scorching flesh, scattering bodies and mixing smoke, blood and dirt…The military sent the women off that day with substandard armor, inadequate security and faulty tactics, and the predictability of their daily commute through one of the most volatile parts of Iraq made them an open target…If anything, the women needed more protection because of their work in Falluja and the tension it was igniting, some marines said. They had been searching Iraqi women for weapons and other contraband and felt certain the task was infuriating the insurgents. Even so, the military had the women follow a predictable routine: traveling to and from their camp each day at roughly the same time and on the same route through the city.”
“Some [female?] marines questioned whether they should have been traveling at all. Male marines also worked at the checkpoints, but did not have to face the dangers of the daily commute. They slept at a Marine outpost in downtown Falluja, but Marine Corps rules barred the women from sharing that space with men…Making sure the women’s commute was safe was the responsibility of the men who provided convoy security. ‘That was their job,’ said Corporal Sally Saalman, the group’s leader’…”
But blaming male marines, shorthanded forces, wrong armor for the mission and other discrepancies for the disaster was not the most egregious part of the article. Far down at the bottom of the second page of the story was a brief summary of the females killed in hostilities in Iraq. In a graph entitled, Women Killed in Action, is the true count of female ‘combat fatalities’ in Iraq. Observe that this is the very first time that this phrase has been used in the mass media reporting. It has always before been ‘Faces of the Fallen’ or some such phrase – which included in the totals all deaths in Iraq and the theater, that is auto accidents, illnesses, suicide, etc.
And do you know what? The correct figure given for Women Killed in Action is 30. Yes, 30 – not the 40-some that has been reported before this article. With this figure, we find that female fatalities for our ‘women-in-combat’ in Iraq is less than 1.5 percent. This statistic makes it absolutely certain (10% of the force on the ground in Iraq are females) that women are not in combat in Iraq. They are primarily the vulnerable HOBBITS who seldom, if ever, wander off the safe havens called forward operating bases. And, despite the propaganda (military and civilian) to the contrary, women are kept out of harms way by sheltering them within FOBs and rarely forcing them to go ‘outside the wire.’ And while the nation’s mass media trumpets the heroism, loss of life, and loss of limbs as proof that they are, indeed, in combat in a war that has ‘no front lines,’ women are not in combat in Iraq. This truth negates the biggest lie that has come out of our nation’s current conflict. The statistics do not lie. The mass media propagandists do – day in and day out. Wake up America!
1) Hanson, Victor Davis, “Too soft for a new kind of war?” The Washington Times, 2 September 2005.
2) Hanson, Victor Davis, “How the ‘Cowboys’ Of the West Defeated the Nazis,” The Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2005.
3) Ferguson, Niall, “Cowboys and Indians,” The New York Times, 24 May 2005.
4) Bulkeley, William M., “Mental Ills Rise Among Soldiers Back From Iraq,” The Wall Street Journal, 1 July 2004.
5) Ritter, John and McMahon, Patrick, “9 and ½ month mission pushes sailors, families to the limit,” USA TODAY, 2-4 May 2003.
6) Hart, Betsy, “Overly therapeutic culture,” The Washington Times, 31 May 2005.
7) Eckert, Allan W., “The Frontiersmen: A Narrative,” pp. 357, Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2001.
8) Levitz, Jennifer, “Women in combat a fine line: Female troops in Iraq shot at and shoot back,” The Washington Times, 15 August 2005.
9) Macur, Juliet, “In the Line of Fire,” The New York Times, 20 November 2005.
10) Moniz, Dave, “Women share dangers of combat: Female amputees make clear that all troops are on front lines,” USA TODAY, 28 April 2005.
11) Macur, Juliet, “Two Women Bound by Sports, War and Injuries: In Two Arenas, Athletes and Warriors,” The New York Times, 10 April 2005.
12) Shureb, Lynnette, “In war, consider reality before ‘equality:’ Daughter’s safety,” USA TODAY, 1 June 2005.
13) Associated Press, “Fourth Female Soldier Killed in Iraq War,” The Washington Post, 30 October 2003.
14) O’Connor, Phillip, “One Daughter’s Fight,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 19 June 2005.
15) O’Connor, Phillip, “Copter’s downing sends bad news home,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 June 2005.
16) O’Connor, Phillip, “Downed pilot finally hears uplifting words she awaited,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 21 June 2005.
17) Leonard, Mary Delach, “Should Women Be In Combat?” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 2005.
18) Leonard, Mary Delach, “A military mother’s sacrifice: Sgt. Jessica Cawvey, killed in Iraq in October, left behind grieving parents, friends and a daughter, 6,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 29 May 2005.
19) Cave, Damien, “Normally Quiet, a Military Town Talks of Casualties: Attack Raises Topic of Role of Women,” The New York Times, 27 June 2005.
20) Cohen, Randy, “Mother in the War Zone,” The Ethicist, The New York Times Book Review, 28 August 2005.
21) White, Josh, “Military Deaths in Iraq Reach 2,000,” washingtonpost.com, 25 October, 2005.
22) Levins, Harry, “Because of Iraq experiences, Army toughens basic training,” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 15 October 2004.
23) Schmitt, Eric, Glanz, James, Burns, John F., “Iraq Bombing Kills 4 U.S. Women, a Record Toll,” The New York Times, 25 June 2005.
24) “The Roster of the Dead,” The Washington Post, pp, 26 October 2005.
25) “Faces of the Fallen,” The Washington Post, pp. A16, 13 November 2005.
26) “Faces of the Fallen,” The Washington Post, pp. A8, 12 December 2005.
27) Fainaru, Steve, “Silver Stars Affirm One Unit’s Mettle: Women Play Key Roles In Combat Near Baghdad,” The Washington Post, 26 June 2005.
28) Ricks, Thomas E., “Soldiers Record Lessons From Iraq: Unvarnished Tales Serve as Warning,” The Washington Post, 8 February 2004.
29) “The Belgravia Dispatch: Comment on Quote(s) of the Day,” http://www.belgraviaddispatch.com/movabletype/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=4626.
30) Semple, Kirk, “G.I.’s Deployed in Iraq Desert With Lots of American Stuff,” The New York Times, 13 August 2005.
31) Zucchino, David, “Comforts of Home Amid Perils of Iraq,” The Los Angeles Times, 27 March 2005.
32) Dictionary definition for ‘fobbit,’ http://www.doubletongued.org/index/php.dictionary/fobbit/.
33) Tyson, Ann Scott, “GIs in Iraq Choosing to Re-Up: Army Exceeding Retention Goals as Recruitment Suffers,” The Washington Post, 18 December 2005.
34) Burns, Robert, “Service faces recruiting challenges: Blacks, women avoid Army,” NAVY TIMES, 21 March 2005.
35) Cooper, Christopher, “Black Recruits Slide as Share Of Army Forces,” The Wall Street Journal, 7 October 2004.
36) Editorial, “Supporting the Troops: The Death Spiral of the Volunteer Army,” The New York Times, 29 May 2005.
37) Cave, Damien, “Army’s Top Recruiter Says 2006 May Be Biggest Test: Analysts Fear Effect on Combat Strength,” The New York Times, 13 May 2005.
38) Moniz, Dave, “Army offers one-and-one-quarter year hitch: Recruit shortfall produces shortest enlistment ever,” USA TODAY, 13-15 May 2005.
39) Cave, Damien, “Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules,” The New York Times, 3 May 2005.
40) Associated Press, “Army creates Close Combat Badge,” The Washington Times, 19 February 2005.
41) Shanker, Thom, “Army Creates Medal for Troops Who Come Under Fire,” The New York Times, 13 February 2005.
42) Harris, Frank, Guest Contributor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 21 July 2005.
43) Solomon, Deborah, “A Soldier’s Story,” The New York Times Magazine, 21 August 2005.
44) Williams, Kayla and Staub, Michael E., “Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army,” pp. 19-22, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2005.
45) Zimmerman, Woody, “Cultural obstacles to winning wars,” The Washington Times, 18 December 2005.
46) The Fallen Heroes Report, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, tylerpaper.com, Http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=14231592&BRD=1994&PAG46.
47) Maloney, Tim, “Where al Qaeda Is Not the Biggest Threat,” The Washington Post, 10 July 2005.
48) Cauvin, Henri E., “Tiny Casualty of Lingering Violence,” The Washington Post, 26 March 2005.
49) Wilber, Del Quentin, “Boy’s Shooting Leaves Wounds That Don’t Heal, 11-Year-Old Is Too Fearful To Play Outside SE Home,” The Washington Post, 8 May 2005.
50) Zoroya, Gregg, “Inches, divide life, death in the Afghan darkness: Battle with al-Qaeda fought hand-to-hand,” USA TODAY, 20 October 2003.
51) Grossman, Dave, “On Killing,” Little, Brown and Company, pp. 183, 1995.
52) Hess, Pam, United Press International, “Servicewomen cite 112 sexual assaults in 2 years,” The Washington Times, 26 February 2004.
53) Moss, Michael, “Hard Look at Mission That Ended in Inferno for 3 Women,” The New York Times, 20 December 2005.
Lies, Lies, and More Damned Lies America is at War Women-in-Combat
Home The Indian Wars The Tale of Two Gauntlets