Tales From The Rear, Volume III

Towards the end of last week, as both the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day were fast approaching, I received some beautiful cards from both friends and lovers, thanking me for my service to this great nation of ours.

As quick as I am to downplay any role in which I served to provide our great land with the freedom which we are still living under today, I am as quick to be proud of (hopefully) the great things which i did while serving. I was only one part of a giant, but delicate, machine. One which is unseen, yet omnipresent. One, as scary as it may seem from time to time, does in deed look out for the best interest of Mr and Mrs American.

I find myself quite often questioning the paths which our current government is taking us into the future, and I can not say that I have always agreed with them (I did not vote for Bush in '00 or in '04) but from time to time it humors me to look back to the fall of '01, and remember how much we hoped for, and loved, our President then.

I will always remember the week of 9/10/01 as the week of the best surf that the East Coast has ever seen.

On Monday, September the 10th, 2001, my buddies Rob, Sammy, and myself got off of work around 4:30 and drove out to the beach, where we saw some of the highest and cleanest surf we had seen in years. We rode our boards on that gentle, clean break for the next three hours, until daylight had faded into darkness. As we sat on our boards, sharing a twelve pack and staring out into the great North Carolina surf, we knew we were in for a great week.

We partied on the beach all that night, and in our barracks rooms well into the morning. Once the alarm clock shrieked it's ugly siren come morning, we proceeded to go to work and to entertain ourselves at one of the most dryest of dry computer classes.

I had fallen asleep on my keyboard around 9:15 when my buddy Sammy woke me and said, "A plane hit the twin towers...it's all over the news."

It took a few more reports of downed planes before I broke out of my hung-over shell and sprang into action, cancelling our computer class for the rest of the day and having everyone meet up in our office. We left our office early that afternoon, making sure everyone was to go home, make sure their equipment was in order, and assemble in the morning.

Once our business was taken care of, Sammy and I remembered there was surf to be cared for. It's hard to put into words what I was thinking in the most spiritual place in the world during what will end up being one of the most important dates in world history, but I remember thinking to myself, as I lied on my board in the warm waters of the Atlantic, that from now on, what ever I do... I do for my country... and if I ever want to lie in this beautiful ocean again, I must do it as well as I possibly can.

The next morning, things were extremely different. There were guards everywhere. People were pointing machine guns at me. But I had not lost the lesson I had learned the night of 9/11.

That Thursday, the 13th, I was sent to a school in Pensacola, FL. It took me two days to drive there, and when I reached my destination in America's Red-Neck Riveria, I sent out the following e-mail to my friends from Peoria who had not heard from me that week:

"Misses and fellas-

Sorry if you got something partial from me earlier..stupid computers.

Right now i am in Pensacola, Fl until the 24th of Oct (or until the call to arms comes up) and the flag will come up for me by then I am certain. We are teetering on the brinks of a third world war and i couldn't be any prouder.

Throughout my life i have heard that American youth is too desensitized to violence and too pampered...if Pearl Harbor hit us we would not care, we'd just go back to watching Jackass. We have now shown that those assumptions were erroneous, we do care and we have helped. Now we must show the resolve, patience, and temperance of our Grandparents. Please talk to them and hear how they reacted to Pearl Harbor when they were our age...we learn through wisdom, knowledge and history.

While driving through the south today the Flags and reflections for prayer, which were being flown on even fast-food signs, gave me the desire and motivation to respond to the people responsible for ending innocent civilian lives and ending the innocent lives which we and all of america have enjoyed for the past twenty some odd years.

I am here to let you and everyone else enjoy the freedoms of America. If that means my life being taken so that you, or anyone else, can enjoy another day...and I speak for all servicemen... another day of FREEDOM, then I am ready to go and die for our loved ones and beloved country. In regards to how i feel, after investigating the domestic sides of the attacks, i spent Thursday night throwing up.

I had not cried since grade school...and i cried three times while driving today...twice during "God Bless The USA" and once during "Pink Houses"...i know you love that, Boomie.

I dont really know how to describe the feelings that i have. I can only say that i know now why i was thrown into the Marine Corps. Although i still am a believer and follower of God, i know that fate and spirits worked its way into the mix. If anyone of you know wants to know why they're here...and I now realize why I am...WE WILL RID THE WORLD OF EVIL!

But it will take support from back home, of course. Please help out any way possible (Give Blood and pray.)

I am certain none of you saw this coming, however you must realize that our time of being "fat and happy" is over...and if you ever want to be that way again, you must start living to the fullest of your potential. As if every day is your last...and smile every day the sun comes up, for that is another victory for America.

It is going to be the "long haul" as they say, but of course if there had never been a long haul before this we wouldnt be saying it...another reason to know that America will prevail. As Japans Prime Minister said.."Let those who did this act hear this...we attacked America before, and we felt the repercussions."

As President Bush said "We will find those who did this, we will smoke them out of their holes, we will get them running, and we will bring them to justice. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned: Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction. You will be asked for your patience, for this conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve, for the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long."

i love you all and I'll be in contact before i leave for somewhere...

With Peace and Love you're in my thoughts and in my prayers,
Alex Fritz"

Weeks after that e-mail, I would be in Cuba. Months after that, in Kuwait for the invasion of Iraq. Although I knew by then, that our leaders may be bull shitting us a little, I still had faith.

Maybe, someone else learned a lesson like I did on 9/11. As I rode the waves, I knew that one thing led to another, some times we couldn't help but to ride a wave, even though there was a better one behind it, and to always always always learn from your mistakes.

Don't accept failure.

Embarce it.

Learn from it.

I don't know what really put me in the mood to write this post.

Most people, or I should clarify, most people not from New York, don't think about 9/11 anymore. Afterall, most people not from New York aren't directly connected to the attacks.

Most people are pissed that gas is $2 a gallon, as if nobody saw that coming.

Or pissed because they have to fight through traffic, only to stand in line at the airport for an hour before they go on a business trip.

Or don't remember how much everyone wanted to invade Iraq in March of '03. Republican.. Democrat. Everyone. Anyone.

I think it's time we start looking past everything which is going wrong with this war, this struggle...with this...this... American jihad..and start finding a way to resolve it.

To find the resolve which we all pledged we would have after 9/11.

To have that resolve.

To bring our dudes home.

To have peace.


Millions of people protesting in the streets of cities all around the world on February 15, 2003 (myself included, amongst fifty thousand other frozen Torontonians) were pretty well opposed to the US invading Iraq.
Sorry I missed your little protest, JTL. I was too busy helping stomp a huge mudhole into the asses of bad guys in Afghanistan. Wonder who's efforts made Toronto safer?

Great post, Alex.
I merely wanted to point out that not 100% of people on this continent wanted to invade Iraq, and I feel your sarcasm is very ill-placed.
Who is this JTL guy. What a fucking looser.

Al great post. I'm pretty sure you know where I stand on this issue.

I can't believe how quickly people forget 9-11. I had a very similar moment that day as well as almost everyone in the service at that time did. It is something I will never forget.

Oh well, this great country still remains the shinning city on a hill and it will find it's way threw our current division. I still wouldn't want to live anywhere else especially Canada.


Evelio D'Leon
"Friend of Alex Fritx"
"Sgt of Marines"
"Currently serving his third tour in Iraq"
I'm a loser because I question things? Your country was built on questioning authority. It worked in 1776, and it works today, too.

I like the US, and I like Americans; it's your government about which I'm not so crazy. I'm happy that even Republicans in Congress are starting to ask the President about a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq. And I think Mr. Fritz agrees with me on this.

As for Canada, we'll just keep playing hockey very capably and enjoying our relative anonymity on the world scene. Remember, we pitched in on Afghanistan from Day 1 (as we did against Hitler in '39).
Question away; just remember that someone earned that freedom for you with their efforts and sacrifice. Also remember that someone else is always out there looking to take those freedoms away and they won't be convinced otherwise by flowery arguements about brotherhood and compassion. If you value what you have, you have to protect it. With strength.

By the way, I served with your guys in Afghanistan (the 3rd PPLI); great guys. I'll bet they don't think much of your protest either.
Great post Al. You never cease to surprise me.

Oh yeah, JTL, here's a dollar twenty-five and go fuck yourself.

Anyway, I try not argue about the whole war thing because, honestly, I am pretty naive about it. What I don't understand is how people can bad mouth the president....the president! I mean, do you know what happened when someone looked at Saddam Hussein the wrong way? They chopped off their fucking hand. George Bush is just trying to keep that shit out of the USA. I definitely remember 9/11 and I know that all those backward-ass people in the Middle east gotta put up with that shit everyday. And I know I don't want that in the U.S. And guess what, if it was Kerry as president, no matter what he decided to do about the war, it would have been wrong because that's just how Americans works. But god damn it, do I love not being Canadian.

Sincerely, thank you for your service Al.
Anonymous (12:34pm): Believe me, on Remembrance Day here (Nov. 11), as I do very often, I realize what lengths to which people have gone to preserve the freedom we enjoy today. I wear the poppy with pride, and not just because my grandfather served in the RCAF in WWII.

Mozzy: George W. Bush and the rest of his hawkish administration have put hundreds of thousands of Americans in direct danger by sending them to Iraq, after manipulating intelligence in order to suit its own aims. As former "terrorism czar" Richard Clarke noted on last night's Daily Show -- and he has worked in the White House all the way back to George HW Bush -- dissenting opinions within the Executive are very much frowned-upon; they know the answer before anyone sits down at the table. Reasoned and informed debate is the lifeblood of democracy; without it, you have totalitarian regimes like Iran and the former Soviet Union.

Also, I would like to say that I do thank Al, and the many other outstanding men and women in the US Armed Forces, for their service to their country, and hope that everyone currently abroad comes home safely.
At least you solidified your argument by referencing "The Daily Show" which proudly calls itself "A fake news show".

Good work. And seriously, where did you copy and paste that paragraph from? Cause lets face it, you are clearly a hippie and not that smart, so quit directing posts towards cause I don't care about you or anything you think, you head-flapping, waste-of-space Canadian.
There's more real news on the Daily Show than you'll ever get on Fox. Example: last night's montage of Dick Cheney video clips of the past few years, reminding us about how he was so certain there were WMDs, the infamous "we will be greeted as liberators" comment, and the whole "the insurgency is in its final throes" back in May.

You say yourself that you're naive about "the whole war thing." So, instead of firing ill-informed one-liners at me, why don't you pick up a book and read something abou it? I can recommend the aforementioned Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies, Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward, or if you're really looking to shake your head up, Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky.

Or watch the Daily Show. It's pretty good too.
Well JTL, if you want to start citing "experts" (My God, Norm Chomsky?), then how about this one: "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." That's from Thomas Paine. I know what freedom I was supporting over my 4 combat tours; what freedoms were you support with your protests? -- the freedom of Saddam to torture and kill his people at will? -- the freedom of terrorists to run free in a "safe house" of states like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan?

"All that evil requires to succeed is for good men to do nothing." Or, I guess, for men to protest against the good men who are trying to do something.
Thomas Paine was a good man. So was Thoreau, in A Plea for Captain John Brown:

Is it not possible that an individual may be right and a government wrong? Are laws to be enforced simply because they were made? or declared by any number of men to be good, if they are not good? Is there any necessity for a man's being a tool to perform a deed of which his better nature disapproves?

About Saddam... evil guy, yes. So evil that the US supported him all throughout the '80s in the Iran-Iraq war. Gave him chemical weapons, and didn't say anything when he turned them on the Kurds. (Sure, Colin Powell looked solemn at that mass grave site he visited, but where was he over a decade earlier?) Iraq was no Shangri-La, to be sure, but (a.) a lot of places aren't, and (b.) it did not meet the standard of "grave and imminent threat to American national security" which would justify a pre-emptive invasion (which is on shaky legal ground anyway).

You had him boxed-in with no-fly zones, still bombing the piss out of him. He wasn't trying to buy uranium from anyone. All his other WMDs that he had before would've either been expired or taken out during the extensive inspections all through the '90s. (Aerial photos of trailers don't prove WMDs' existence.) Why did the US government claim he was such a grave and imminent threat when not even Israel -- Israel! -- was that worried about him in '03? One can only come to the conclusion of sinister motives... and with the Bush/Cheney cabal, that's not such a stretch of the imagination.

By me (and millions of others) protesting, we are not saying that you, the boots on the ground, are bad men. We are saying that your leaders are bad men. Or has the Patriot Act outlawed free speech there already?
You certainly have taken a long drink of the Norm Chomsky Kool Aid. From believing we gave the chem weapons to Saddam to grudgingly admitting that the wholesale murder and torture of a country’s people doesn’t quite reach the threshold of Shangri-la to thinking WMD’s have expiration dates to thinking the Iraq war is just a sinister conspiracy... well, I'm afraid I'll have to give you up for lost. So be it. You said earlier that Canada enjoys her relative anonymity on the world scene (presumably you do, too). Fine, sit and watch; just count your strong neighbor as a big spillover benefit while we protect the continent.

One more applicable U.S. patriot quote, since you seem to enjoy them; this one’s from Samuel Adams:
"If you love the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
If I've taken a drink from Chomsky-Aid (which tastes surprisingly grape-y), then you've been dining at the Casa de Mentiras de Cheney.

1. The US supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war (falsely believing that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"). The famous photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein's hand is easily found through Google Images; the relationship is also well-documented in chapters 4 and 5 of Joe Wilson's The Politics of Truth.

2. It's very well-documented that the US supplied Iraq with chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s; namely, chemicals like methylphosphonous dichloride, which is used to make nerve gas. Biological agents have a finite shelf-life of five to seven years; by the time the 1991 embargo was in place, these things would've easily been gone even before the 1998 bombing campaign. And, all throughout the 1990s, UN WMD inspectors, led by American Scott Ritter, were doing their job very well (before they were yanked out in '98 on the eve of the aforementioned bombing).

And, hell, if Saddam did have WMDs in his arsenal, don't you think he would've used them in the US/UK invasion? You know, the one that had "Mission Accomplished" written all over it in May, 2003? Yeah, that one. I think you know it.

3. As you've been seeing over the past few weeks in the mainstream media (and no doubt in the alt-media for three years), the Bush administration clearly cherry-picked the intelligence that suited its already-determined ends -- in Richard Clarke's words, "They picked the worst stuff," in reference to the yellowcake memo from Italy, Ahmad Chalabi's stuff, and a host of others -- to whoop up the country for war. And all they could say in their defense was, "Those sixteen words should not have been in a State of the Union address"?!? Come on, guys -- take pride in your lying, like Clinton did.

Alright, so we've had a nice little back-and-forth going here for a few days now. I've supplied facts backed up by research and quality news reporting, and you've supplied sound-bites. Been watching a lot of Fox News lately?

Enlighten the people, generally, and tyrrany and oppressions of the body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.
— Thomas Jefferson
Spirited debate - that's what we've got brewing here. At what point does the arguing of a political perspective become nothing more than a pissing match? I've personally enjoyed the input on both sides. JTL - as a people Canadians and Americans are bourne of different ideals. They are neither right nor wrong, simply different. Your protest against the war is an example of everything that is right in the world - just as the freedom that Iraqis are enjoying every day is the finest sort thing. I'd say we've all got a terribly good thing going, and will continue to be endangered by our success for years to come. As Joe said, we are the shining city atop the hill. If you were them, wouldn't you attack us? Allah knows I would...
Well Al you got yourself a vast assortment of charecters that visit your blog.
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