Sunday, September 11, 2005

"No One Hates War Like the Soldiers": Our Interview With Bobbie Ragsdale

Tonight, we conducted our first Weenie Enema interview with Cadet Bobbie Ragsdale of West Point and New Orleans. I invited several of my comrades to join in to ask questions or just to watch. I have edited some of the content was ridiculous and not conducive to anything at all.
For the record:
MyDadIsAWeenie - E. E. Grimshaw
BRags753 - Bobbie Ragsdale
malsta48 - Malsta Coppenrath
HurricainFran - Erin Garrant
SweetPie91285 - Inna Rudman
Several other people were in attendence, but did not play a direct role in the proceedings.
You have just entered room "interviewbojangles."
malsta48: i dont get the name of this chatroom
MyDadIsAWeenie: we're interviewing bobbie ragsdale for the blog
MyDadIsAWeenie: and everyone gets to ask questions
HurricainFran: I have no questions
malsta48: bobbie
malsta48: will you bring me pretzels
HurricainFran: Thats a good question
BRags753: probably not
malsta48: eat it
HurricainFran: Bobbie, why do you spell your name with an ie?
malsta48: HAHAHAHAA
BRags753: um, hold on, I think I have a prepared statement
BRags753: ml?mode=reply
MyDadIsAWeenie: lets give the readers a bit of background
BRags753: deal
MyDadIsAWeenie: can you tell everyone why you know me
BRags753: because you are a facebook stalker
MyDadIsAWeenie: that is not specific enough
HurricainFran: hahahaha he does know you well
MyDadIsAWeenie: i resent that
HurricainFran: why? its true.
BRags753: you found me on facebook and then invited me to your Golden Globe party
HurricainFran: I thought that said "golden girls" party and got really happy
malsta48: bobbie bring me food
BRags753: NO
HurricainFran: that wasnt a question, Mal
MyDadIsAWeenie: can you explain to the readers why that is not a possibility
BRags753: because I'm locked away in my granite prison that is West Point
HurricainFran: Is it like Oz?
BRags753: without the rainbows, but with the flying monkeys
MyDadIsAWeenie: she means the show
BRags753: the fact remains
HurricainFran: Who would you rather be locked up with, Bobbie: prisoners, or Judy Garland?
MyDadIsAWeenie: before this goes completely to shit
MyDadIsAWeenie: why don't you tell us about your part in the new orleans relief effort
malsta48: are you delivering snacks
HurricainFran: Will you deliver snacks to Mal?
BRags753: is Mal a victim of the hurricane?
HurricainFran: HurricainFran
MyDadIsAWeenie: she is not.
BRags753: Then unlikely
BRags753: Anyway, it's a very long story, but I'm trying to organize a relief effort to New Orleans/Mississippi composed of about 300 cadets
BRags753: we want to link up with National Guard on the ground and put ourselves to good work
HurricainFran: that sounds nice
MyDadIsAWeenie: when would this likely take place
BRags753: Plans are in the works to go down over Thanksgiving and Christmas to relieve soldiers so that they may see their families for the holidays, but we'd also like to get some folks down before then
BRags753: leave on a Wed, come back on a Sun, get in about 3 good days of work.
MyDadIsAWeenie: that is so badass
BRags753: I'd like it to happen ASAP but beauracracy and frumpy colonels get in the way
MyDadIsAWeenie: how did your own family in new orleans fare?
MyDadIsAWeenie: and what is your opinion on the way fema has handled the rescue efforts
BRags753: They are alive.
BRags753: I think FEMA is doing a pretty good job really. I mean, I'm not on the ground, but I understand it's a hard situation and they're doing pretty good. It's a little disorganized, but noble. It's not so corrupt and befuddled as the media portrays it
BRags753: The real problems were with preparedness
MyDadIsAWeenie: what about how the media is portraying the response of mayor nagin and governor blanco?
BRags753: The levees should have been higher. Period. The feds cut our funding
MyDadIsAWeenie: a lot of people are upset that they didn't turn the power over to the federal government
BRags753: I like Nagin. I think he's doing a good job. I don't like Blanco, on a political level, but I think she's doing alright too. She smartly asserted her control of the National Guard, rather than giving it over to the feds
MyDadIsAWeenie: why was that a good thing
BRags753: because, locals understand the area and they know the problem and they know the people. The Federal government is there in place to help the states recover, not do it for them
BRags753: give the states money and let them do it. Advise, provide the tools, but it's their job
MyDadIsAWeenie: but you said yourself that the issue here was not being prepared. wouldn't it have helped new orleans out to have federal funding and all that shit there within hours rather than days
BRags753: Now, on the Military side, LTG Honore is the man. The funding should have been there for years before. And the President declared the area a national disaster 2 days... let me say that again... *2 days* before the storm struck...
BRags753: That provided the Gov. the federal funding to prepare as she saw fit without regard for cost
BRags753: So, in the immediate past, the feds were there
BRags753: Now, troops took a while to get in, but you've got to remember, most of the NG was evacuated too, so that's hard to mobilize... perhaps it would have helped to have activated them beforehand.... I don't know enough about the plans prior to the storm...
MyDadIsAWeenie: now, i understand the need not to point blame and whatnot at this point in time. but what is your response when you see the pictures and reports of people literally starving to death on highway overpasses and in the superdome
BRags753: There should be food there, of course. There should have been hundreds of flights out of Ft. Hood with MRE's. That eventually happened, but not for about 3 days
BRags753: I don't know who to blame for that. It's too soon
MyDadIsAWeenie: what about the busses? we've been seeing pictures of half-submerged busses with people saying that they weren't able to get out to safety because they couldn't find transportation
BRags753: It's a logistical nightmare to evacuate 1.5 million people (in the New Orleans Metro area alone) in two days...
MyDadIsAWeenie: when you see people that have the ability to get a powerful message out, celebrities, media fixtures, etc., and you have a situation like last friday with kanye west saying 'bush hates the black people,' or when you have sean penn wandering around new orleans with a rifle
MyDadIsAWeenie: what the hell is the point?
HurricainFran: Oh Sean Penn...
MyDadIsAWeenie: for me personally, i was enraged by the other sean penn story
MyDadIsAWeenie: when he went out in the three-person boat to 'rescue' people, and he brought his photographer with him and there was only one spot left in the boat
BRags753: I don't know much about what Sean Penn's up to, but I think if celebrities want to help, go for it. They do have influence, and they have just as much right to use it as I do
HurricainFran: Sean Penn's a douche.
MyDadIsAWeenie: is it conducive to anything though to have celebrities spouting off for no conceivable purpose
MyDadIsAWeenie: this certainly doesn't just apply to new orleans
BRags753: I do think Kayne West is a retard and an asshole, fyi. This is the same guy who thinks the government developed AIDS to kill Africa and crack to kill blacks in America
MyDadIsAWeenie: and yet the man has a number one album
HurricainFran: crack is whack
MyDadIsAWeenie: and makes more money than any of us will ever see
BRags753: True, and I see a lot of people complain about celebs trying to be public figures... I mean, of course they have no expertise, but they have no less right than I do to voice their opinion. More power to them. I don't care. If you base your political opinions on what Alec Baldwin has to say, that's your problem, not his.
MyDadIsAWeenie: okay, mardi gras - they say it's going to happen. good idea?
BRags753: Hell yes
BRags753: There's enough movies about people saving Christmas. Mardi Gras is of this level of importance to New Orleaneans
BRags753: and let me tell you, I will be celebrating Mardi Gras come February
BRags753: you can't kill Mardi Gras any more than you can kill Christmas. It's a state of mind.
MyDadIsAWeenie: rebuilding new orleans. some people have said it's not a good idea, it makes no sense, it will just happen again.
BRags753: no, New Orleans was founded in 1716, and this is the first time it happened. According to probability, that gives us 300 years to rebuild the levees to withstand a cat 5
MyDadIsAWeenie: are you really going to base this on probability?
BRags753: no, I'm going to base it on that's my fuckin home and if you think we should bulldoze it, I've got about six friends in shrimp boots and overalls who'd like to have a talk with you outside with shotgun and claw hammer.
BRags753: I'm saying we have to rebuild it. It's my home. And home to a million other people. It's vital to the US economy and the spirit of Louisiana
HurricainFran: I like new orleans
BRags753: It's a city like no other
MyDadIsAWeenie: last week, i think you used california as an example, seeing as how they live smack in the middle of a volatile earthquake zone and the same thing could happen
BRags753: exactly; no one would suggest that we shouldn't rebuild San Fran. or LA if an earthquake happened.
BRags753: And you know why? Cause LA and San Fran have money and NOLA doesn't
MyDadIsAWeenie: but new orleans has oil bojangles
BRags753: haha, well, yes, but US oil is expensive to produce. Drilling and refining are expensive in the US. Granted, The Crescent City is vital - VITAL - to the US economy, but NOLA doesn't see much of that money
BRags753: we had a lot more money in the 80s during the boom, but the industry has dropped
BRags753: New Orleans is as far inland as you can be and still be accessable by ocean going vehicles; that's important.
MyDadIsAWeenie: and
MyDadIsAWeenie: most importantly
MyDadIsAWeenie: it's where streetcar takes place
MyDadIsAWeenie: on to a new topic
MyDadIsAWeenie: west point.
MyDadIsAWeenie: why the hell are you there
BRags753: That's a very complicated question.
BRags753: In short: to serve my country in what I think is the best way I can
MyDadIsAWeenie: when did you decide to go there
BRags753: When I was... a freshman, maybe... I decided I wanted to go into politics...
BRags753: I later came to think that if I was gonna do that it was important to serve in the military first
BRags753: So I thought about enlisting after HS in the reserve to help pay for college
BRags753: then I thought about doing the ROTC thing so I'd be an officer
BRags753: Then I said, "Well, hell, if I'm gonna do that, may as well try for West Point." At first I was very uncertain that I wanted to give up 5 years after graduation to devote to the Army...
BRags753: but the longer I thought, the more apparent it became that USMA was the place for me.
SweeT Pie91285: Inna doesn't understand how exactly you are helping your country
SweeT Pie91285: very innocent question
BRags753: Understandable. That's an incredibly complex question
SweeT Pie91285: go on...
BRags753: National Defense is of a level of importance that people in peacetime often fail to understand
SweeT Pie91285: ... what's the objective?
BRags753: The presence of a military discourages attack and commands power even without it's use. At heart, the military is in place to protect the state...
BRags753: but in reality, it is often a projection of power
BRags753: War is not an end in itself, but a means to protect interest and enforce policy. To be cold about it, that is
SweeT Pie91285: so, it's a "projection" of power, and you are the movable tool of that "projection" whose power is outside of yourself
BRags753: well, yes. I represent and enforce and defend the ideals of my nation
BRags753: I am power. The Army is power. But we are not the only power the US has
BRags753: and the point is not really power
BRags753: power is not an end either
SweeT Pie91285: how do YOU feel, do you feel powerful?
BRags753: Machivelli did not write our Constitution. Power is a means to secure our ideals and values.
HurricainFran: I fucking love Machiavelli
BRags753: I personally fell very powerless sometimes. But I know I am part of something very powerful
SweeT Pie91285: what else does it give you, other than power? (just curious) Machiavelli also wanted "the ends to justify the means" meaning that anything goes till the fat lady sings and then you bs about why you did it
BRags753: It give me a sense of importance. And sense of value. i could make a lot of money in business or being a lawyer, but it would be empty. I need to serve other people.
BRags753: "The ends justify the means" is not our philosophy
BRags753: we fight and operate justly at all costs. We will not do unjust things for the sake of a favorable outcome
BRags753: That said, we do kill for a favorable outcome
SweeT Pie91285: favorable outcome in my mind -- people alive
BRags753: but war has rules and values and its own morality. And according to the rules of war, killing is sometimes necessary
BRags753: "War is always evil, but sometimes, it is the lesser evil" -- George Orwell
BRags753: Without getting deep in the weeds about Iraq and such, sometimes you need to kill to ensure that people live and live well.
BRags753: That is the unfortunate reality of the world
BRags753: No one hates war like the soldiers that fight it, but we realize it's occassional necessitity
MyDadIsAWeenie: actually
MyDadIsAWeenie: lets talk about iraq
HurricainFran: YES
MyDadIsAWeenie: the president's approval rating is reported as being below 40%, lowest of his presidency, even some conservatives are saying it's not going well. what's going on?
BRags753: OK, yet another very complex question. Let me start with this:
BRags753: Americans have a very false understanding of War whereby they see it as Win or Lose. This is not accurate
BRags753: Particularly when we're talking about an insurgency
SweeT Pie91285: is it all lose?
BRags753: You CANNOT "Win" an insurgency. You can only outlast it.
SweeT Pie91285: so it's all lose
BRags753: People want us to "win," but of course that's impossible. You can't defeat an insurgency militarially.
BRags753: you truly only lose if you leave. Then they win. You "win" by staying and debasing their support.
BRags753: Eventually, when they kill enough Iraqi citizens and the general Iraqi gets a lot wealthier and smarter, these groups will have less poor people to prey on
MyDadIsAWeenie: from the start of the war. you had a lot of people mad about the wmds not being there, but everyone seemed momentarily placated by the fact
MyDadIsAWeenie: that the us got a guy out of there who had killed hundreds of thousands of his own people
MyDadIsAWeenie: why has that changed
BRags753: Because Americans are dying and America does not understand that war has cost
BRags753: that's something foreign to Americans today
SweeT Pie91285: what i can't understand is how you could go into something saying: "some of us will die, but that's ok, because some people will get to live" don't YOU want to live?
BRags753: they want 100 hour wars like the first Gulf War and Panama and Greneda. They don't understand that those are the exceptions, not the rule.
BRags753: Of course I want to live. All soldiers do. But my life is no more valuable than Joe Iraqi
BRags753: And if I lay down my life so 10 Iraqis can live happy and free and better, it was worth it to me
BRags753: A lot of soldiers will feel the same way. A lot won't. But that's my motivation anyway
HurricainFran: Whats your favorite tv show
BRags753: It was Married With Children
BRags753: I don't really watch TV anymore
MyDadIsAWeenie: okay the interview is offically over
HurricainFran: But I have some really great questions!
MyDadIsAWeenie: sigh
BRags753: ask away :-)
HurricainFran: Whats your favorite Madonna song?
BRags753: Like a Prayer
HurricainFran: ooh, good one. I approve.
BRags753: thank you

Our thanks to Bobbie Ragsdale, who withstood the liberal Russian and the drunk Michigan with a poise befitting the US Army.


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