T Nation

Touching.....

"Got a tough, but heartwarming story and a picture of John Gebhardt in Iraq. For those that did not know John, he was our former Med Group Chief, Dave Nordel replaced him.

Anyway, his wife talked with mine last evening and sent this picture. Mindy related that this little girl’s entire family was executed.They intended to execute her also and shot her in the head but they failed to kill her. She was cared for by John’s hospital and healing up, but has been crying and moaning. The nurses said John is the only one she seems to calm down with, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both sleep in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

John comes home in early October.

He is a real Star of the war and is representative of what America is trying to do."

"Sgt. Gebhardt is now back home in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife and two children. An Air Force Link article about the sudden fame he gained as the subject of this photograph reported that:
The chief had a knack for comforting [the injured Iraqi girl] and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair.

“I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did,” he said. “I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been.”

While deployed to Iraq, the chief tried to help out any way he could. He figured holding a baby that needed comforting that would free up one more set of arms that could be providing care to more critical patients.

“I pray for the best for the Iraqi children,” he said. “I can’t tell the difference between their kids and our kids. The Iraqi parents have the same care and compassion for their children as any American.”" - Snopes.com

We are all people…some are just more human than others. Nice pic.

He sets an awesome example for others. When people ask why I re-enlist (time after time) and why I’m a medic I always say its because I get to serve with and take care of some of the best people on the planet. Case in point CMSgt Gebhardt.

Great story. Interesting how some would portray our troops as monsters and terrorists (Kerry/Murtha). This girl’s family was executed. By who? Baathists, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, miscelaneous “insurgents”? This girl would be dead if not for American forces. The problem is that the media won’t cover stories like this. They want doom and gloom. Scandal sells papers, especially if it involves American troops. This girl’s tradgedy was not brought on by Americans. I’m sure some of you are getting ready to write that we’re creating more terrirists and that Iraq was peaceful before the war (Blame America First). That’s BS. Despite what the politicians keep saying, we are making a difference.

Sorry to get so wound-up, but I’m still a little upset over the elections and the rediculous and offensive anti-military statements made by some Democrats. We’ll pull out ASAP and Iraq will become home to the bloodiest civil war in history. Then in several years when all those new liberal congressmen have been replaced with Republicans due to weak national defense posturing, we’ll have to go back in and clean house again.

Call me crazy but I find it depressing. Kinda shows you how screwed up the world we live in really is when we find inspiration in a man that simply did the right thing. I’m not trying to downplay the whole thing(cause it really is a touching story), I just think that it’s something that anyone should do in the same situation. It’s like that video on Youtube of the father with the son that had Down Syndrome and he did the triathlon with him. That guy was amazing, and he loved his son unconditionally. Yet all I could think about was how many people given the same situation would do so much less. I’d like nothing more than to be totally wrong about all this, but I have a feeling I’m not.

Thank you for this photo.
Thank you very much.

My brother just joined the military. I watched him march out on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month (rememberance day) and my whole opinion of the military changed. Time stood still. That soldier is my brother.
There is a human side to the military the majority of us never see, but should, just like this picture. Respect due…

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

[quote]PGJ wrote:
Great story. Interesting how some would portray our troops as monsters and terrorists (Kerry/Murtha). This girl’s family was executed. By who? Baathists, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, miscelaneous “insurgents”? This girl would be dead if not for American forces. The problem is that the media won’t cover stories like this. They want doom and gloom. Scandal sells papers, especially if it involves American troops. This girl’s tradgedy was not brought on by Americans. I’m sure some of you are getting ready to write that we’re creating more terrirists and that Iraq was peaceful before the war (Blame America First). That’s BS. Despite what the politicians keep saying, we are making a difference.

Sorry to get so wound-up, but I’m still a little upset over the elections and the rediculous and offensive anti-military statements made by some Democrats. We’ll pull out ASAP and Iraq will become home to the bloodiest civil war in history. Then in several years when all those new liberal congressmen have been replaced with Republicans due to weak national defense posturing, we’ll have to go back in and clean house again. [/quote]

Thanks for ruining a good thread with your political bullshit. Your willfull ignorance is admirable. I hope it continues to protect you from ever having to conjure an original and thoughtful opinion.

[quote]PGJ wrote:
This girl’s family was executed. By who? Baathists, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, miscelaneous “insurgents”? This girl would be dead if not for American forces. The problem is that the media won’t cover stories like this.[/quote]

I agree. Some people there are doing amazing things, and the media is basically ass. To be sure, Iraq is about as violent as it gets, but nothing positive is ever covered. Ever. Not even in the back pages of a paper.

The problem with the war, however is the statement “is representative of what America is trying to do.” And the problem with that is that no one has any idea what America is trying to do, including the people running the war.

[quote]swordthrower wrote:
PGJ wrote:
Great story. Interesting how some would portray our troops as monsters and terrorists (Kerry/Murtha). This girl’s family was executed. By who? Baathists, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, miscelaneous “insurgents”? This girl would be dead if not for American forces. The problem is that the media won’t cover stories like this. They want doom and gloom. Scandal sells papers, especially if it involves American troops. This girl’s tradgedy was not brought on by Americans. I’m sure some of you are getting ready to write that we’re creating more terrirists and that Iraq was peaceful before the war (Blame America First). That’s BS. Despite what the politicians keep saying, we are making a difference.

Sorry to get so wound-up, but I’m still a little upset over the elections and the rediculous and offensive anti-military statements made by some Democrats. We’ll pull out ASAP and Iraq will become home to the bloodiest civil war in history. Then in several years when all those new liberal congressmen have been replaced with Republicans due to weak national defense posturing, we’ll have to go back in and clean house again.

Thanks for ruining a good thread with your political bullshit. Your willfull ignorance is admirable. I hope it continues to protect you from ever having to conjure an original and thoughtful opinion. [/quote]

What I said was completely relevant to the issue. Many Democrats want to paint America’s troops (I happen to be one, by the way) as monsters, rapist, and murderers. The media is obsessed with elevating EVERY military error to national crisis level. You never hear stories about positive things. You sound like you have been brainwashed by popular doom and gloom media. Please inform me of where I am wrong in my statements.

The guy in the picture is going above and beyond to provide comfort to a little girl who was tortured by her own people. He didn’t have to do that. He could have just let her cry. Yet his story will never be national news, even though it happens every day over there. Instead we get nothing but horror stories fed to us daily. Stories like this are political because some politicians say they support us, but then call us murderers. WTF? At some point, you will have to decide which side you are on.

I think I know which side you are on.

[quote]Dweezil wrote:
PGJ wrote:
This girl’s family was executed. By who? Baathists, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, miscelaneous “insurgents”? This girl would be dead if not for American forces. The problem is that the media won’t cover stories like this.

I agree. Some people there are doing amazing things, and the media is basically ass. To be sure, Iraq is about as violent as it gets, but nothing positive is ever covered. Ever. Not even in the back pages of a paper.

The problem with the war, however is the statement “is representative of what America is trying to do.” And the problem with that is that no one has any idea what America is trying to do, including the people running the war.[/quote]

Keep in mind, this nation was a complete disaster after declaring independence in 1776. I think it took something like 10 years before we developed anything that resembled organization. And after over 230 years, we still haven’t perfected democracy. Iraq isn’t like WWII where Americans died by the thousands every month. It’s not exactly a bloodbath. In the whole scheme of national defense strategy, it’s not for every individual to understand exactly what’s happening. You and I aren’t briefed by the CIA, FBI, JCS, field commanders, and a myriad of other organizations on a constant basis. Some things must be kept secret. Unfortunately, many people watch the news and think they have the complete picture and feel qualified to criticize the President about military decisions. Every war is controversial. Lincoln was bombarded by his own party for his unbending determination to hold the nation together. Now he’s an American icon because he refused to allow states to leave the union. Freeing the slaves was just a means to an end (i.e. crippling the southern economy that was dependent upon slave labor). Controversial and highly criticized in his time, but in the end pure genius.

Things in Iraq haven’t exactly happened according to the plan, but then NOTHING in war EVER happens according to the plan.

[quote]PGJ wrote:

Keep in mind, this nation was a complete disaster after declaring independence in 1776. I think it took something like 10 years before we developed anything that resembled organization. And after over 230 years, we still haven’t perfected democracy. Iraq isn’t like WWII where Americans died by the thousands every month. It’s not exactly a bloodbath. In the whole scheme of national defense strategy, it’s not for every individual to understand exactly what’s happening. You and I aren’t briefed by the CIA, FBI, JCS, field commanders, and a myriad of other organizations on a constant basis. Some things must be kept secret. Unfortunately, many people watch the news and think they have the complete picture and feel qualified to criticize the President about military decisions. Every war is controversial. Lincoln was bombarded by his own party for his unbending determination to hold the nation together. Now he’s an American icon because he refused to allow states to leave the union. Freeing the slaves was just a means to an end (i.e. crippling the southern economy that was dependent upon slave labor). Controversial and highly criticized in his time, but in the end pure genius.

Things in Iraq haven’t exactly happened according to the plan, but then NOTHING in war EVER happens according to the plan.[/quote]

Judging from books, leaks and interviews the plan was to start a bombing campaign while simultaneously inserting special forces soldiers, to be followed by a train of soldiers entering the country from the South, in Kuwait, and a smaller amount to the North, in what is essentially Kurdistan.

I’m not saying I’m the Secretary of Defense, but judging by the ‘mumblings’ from Generals who are still serving (it’s pretty rare for dissention from active military commanders to become public as much as it did with Rumsfeld) there was little to no post war planning, with Rumsfeld actively threatening any analysts who thought that focus should be turned to post war planning. The Generals have clearly asked for more troops despite any denials that people may have made, there have been too many things said by former military personnel and too many leaks from current personnel to believe otherwise.

We are one of the most efficient armies in the world. We are the strongest. We should have been able to dominate Iraq, but inbetween the initial routing of Saddam Hussein and people saying “what next” there appeared to be a literal pause in doing anything to secure the country, which allowed the majority of the foreign agents that are now in the country to get in.

The failure in Iraq does not speak to a failure of the troops, it speaks to a failure in leadership. From the statements of Cheney and books like Fiasco and State of Denial (which I do take with a grain of salt) there appears to be enough evidence to indicate that our leaders had what essentially was a brainfart.

But this still takes away from what I was saying before. The initial quotation that this good doctor is everything America is trying to do. I have no fucking idea what America is trying to do, at all. There were few questions raised prior to the war, I was told it was because Iraq was a threat and it was apart of the broader war on terrorism. He had the capacity to proliferate knowledge and weapons of mass destruction. Good enough for me. The problem with Iran and North Korea isn’t that they’ll attack us. They won’t. They’re states, the leaders want to remain leaders, they know they’d be obliterated. The problem with them having nuclear capability is that they will profilerate that capability to non-state actors who want to and will attack us. It’s a fine rationale for war. I understand what we were trying to do then.

What I do not understand is why the question of what we do with a gigantic, ancient country in the middle of our enemies with three seperate social groups that have hated each other much longer than you and I have been alive was raised. The complete lack of post war planning, and I mean a literal lack, as in next to no preperation made from all reports and from the testimony of Rumsfeld, Rice and Cheney on television and infront of Senate committes, is probably one of the worst things I have ever seen.

And now that our initial goal of disarming a potential nuclear threat was apparently for naught (hey, it happens), I don’t understand what our purpose is. Everything America is trying to do. What the fuck are we trying to do? It appears that none of our leaders know. Not Democrats, not Republicans, not the DoD, not the military leaders on the ground. We are in the middle of a civil war with no direction. If we want to leave, we shouldn’t pussy foot around while more people die. If we want to secure the country, the leaders made a mess for poor soldiers on the ground (per the norm of all warfare over the course of history) and they do not have enough forces on the ground to route out enemy, especially when apart of the enemy force are some of the people we are trying to secure the country for.

No one has said what we are trying to do. The question is asked to the President, the question is asked to Nancy Pelosi, the question is asked to everyone and the answer is always some overly contrived needlessly elaborate way of saying I have no idea. We’re going to stay the course, we’re changing tactics, we’re there to liberate the people, they’re going to be an ally in the Middle East, we’re going to show them a Democracy can function. These are all pretty good reasons. Unfortunately, they’re not good enough reasons for Americans to be dying and for this country to be torn apart when we need strength the most and we need a military with assets in reserve, not a reserve that’s on the frontlines.

I also have to key in on the phrase “it’s not exactly a bloodbath.” This is true, but the targeting precision by insurgents is fucking amazing. I’m talking about the terrorists, not the militas fighting each other based on leader and what sect of a religion they belong to. The terrorists are actively targeting two groups: potential military and police recruits + current military and police members (at a time when the police and military are still fledgling), and academics. The brains of the country and the brawn of the country. The future ruling class who can bring about liberalism and resist the advances of Iran and Syria, and the only people who can keep order after we leave.

That, as far as I know, did not happen en masse during our war for independence. Atleast not with the seeming ease that these people are able to do it. It seems like the terrorists actually see the “big picture” better than the leaders in Iraq and America. The in-fighting is crippling the country now, but they’re setting it up so that the country will be crippled in the future and easily dominated. Unfortunately, they’ve probably already succeeded. It seems now that this war will never end up benefiting the United States of America, or the Western World. We replaced a despot who was anti-fundamentalism, and the ideals behind Islamic fundamentalism are our enemy, with someone who is ‘doing lunch’ with representatives from Iran and Syria. The great shame is that people like the good man in the original post are stuck in a country where there is literally no direction, in a situation that everyone expects someone else to fix and more people suffer because if he is what ‘what America is trying to do there’ then he essentially epitomizes a void. We don’t need a history lesson about our war for Independence when it’s a war we fought, not a war that was fought for us. It’s a war we wanted. Many Iraqis didn’t want liberation (those who used to be in power), the only people willing to fight for it were a small amount of Kurds (who we essentially left to die after the first war) and there is severe dissention in the ranks. The only comparison that can be made between the war in Iraq and our war for independence is that people died in both. Other than that, there are no parallels to be drawn.

[quote]PGJ wrote:

I think I know which side you are on.
[/quote]

How the fuck do you know what side I’m on? This was a thread about a man who went beyond what was asked of him in order to help someone. Do you think he was thinking about politics when he was comforting that girl?

For you to go on a diatribe about the media and the recent Congressional elections was just unwarranted and troll-like. Save it for the politics thread.