Who Was the 3,000th Soldier?

There's been a lot of writing about the 3,000th death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq. But, take a look at who he was and see if it doesn't really bring home the stupidity of this war and the perceived lack of choices facing some of our youths.

Dustin Donica, 22, an army specialist from the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment....[was] a soccer-loving college dropout from Texas with a weakness for trance music and ham-and-pineapple pizza....

Specialist Donica, known as “DD” to his friends, was brought up in the town of Spring on the outskirts of Houston. He enlisted after a short spell at the University of Texas in Austin.

On his MySpace page he wrote that he wanted to die “young”. But he also said that he hoped to go back to college and that his greatest fear was “the slight chance of re-enlistment seeming smart”. Asked: “What do you want to be when you Grow Up?”, he wrote: “if i knew, i wouldn’t be here.”

There are thousands of alienated teens in our society. They are all prey to military recruiters. Where are their parents?

I have a limited ability to understand, but an appreciation for those who make a rational choice to join the military out of a sense of patriotism or for its benefits. But how many are like this poor kid, simply adrift? As far as I'm concerned, his blood is on his recruiter's hands, for not recognizing that he never wanted to be a soldier, just wanted a place to belong.

"I want to die young" is the tantamount to "I don't care what happens to me." It should be a red flag for treatment, not enlistment.

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    "his blood is on his recruiter's hands" (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Andreas on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 01:15:24 AM EST
    First of all his blood is on the hands of those who organised and organise the war: the Republican and Democratic war criminals.

    Fredo (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 11:14:41 AM EST
    Each KIA is the same, irregardless of the number. They, and untold hundreds of thousands of INNOCENT Iraqis have died for a lie.

    Not a mistake.

    A lie.

    How Come the TV Commercials Dont Mention Iraq? (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by john horse on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 08:31:16 PM EST
    No wonder kids like Spc Donica joined the Army.  Did you check out the commercials and public relations campaign.  For example, the Army gives away Army videogames to teens.  In the Marine commercial you are like a character in a video game climbing the mountain to reach the phallic sword at the top.  In the Army commercial they mention job opportunities, character development, and training.  There is only one thing that the recruiting pitch doesnt emphasize and thats the price that soldiers like Spc Donica have to pay in order to receive these benefits.  They dont mention Iraq.

    For once I'd like to see some truth in advertising.  Here is the Army commercial that I imagine.  Dad to son "Son, when you got off the bus, looked me in the eye and shook my hand I noticed there was something different about you.  I noticed that you didn't have any legs."    

    They (none / 0) (#33)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:58:27 AM EST
    don't mention 0400 reveille, PT, pushups in mud, inspections, marching, haircuts, saltpeter, blister inducing boots, picking up your own brass, being yelled at, or shining shoes either.   Imagine that!

    not metioning something ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Sailor on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 04:13:07 PM EST
    ... and lying about it are 2 different things. e.g.
    "Nobody is going over to Iraq anymore?" one student asks a recruiter.

    "No, we're bringing people back," he replies.

    "We're not at war. War ended a long time ago," another recruiter says.

    3,000th soldier (1.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Fredo on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 09:47:06 AM EST
    I wouldn't draw any generalizations about today's service members from this individual's profile.  I encounter these young people several times per week, and I find them extraordinarily bright and motivated.  Beyond question, they are vastly superior in every respect to my colleagues of the Vietnam era.  I also think it would be good to bear in mind that we suffered 3,000 dead in the seven months it took to secure the island of Guadalcanal--more men than we lost at Pearl Harbor.  And consider that neither Germany nor Italy had anything to do with Pearl Harbor, and absolutely no operational relationship with Japan.  Recall that following Pearl Harbor FDR's first move was to invade the Solomon Islands, and then Morocco, Italy and France.  Multiple enemies with a common purpose can cause a war to take you many places.

    I served in the'60s (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 10:18:08 AM EST
    and I had a number of drafted college graduates in my unit.  I don't see a lot of college graduates enlisting at the E-1 level these days.

    Second, your point about WW II illustrates the disconnect required to justify the current war of aggression in contrast to the response to an attack and a declaration of war by Japan and the declarations of war by Germany and Italy in 1941.

    Iraq neither attacked us nor declared war on us, so it is apparent that the current war is illegal and treasonous, which is probably why it is so unpopular.

    That IS your point, correct?


    OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by plumberboy on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 04:56:11 PM EST
    The war was about nothing more than political garbage.This president had a vegenance against Iraq than 9/11 came along and bingo now he has free reign to set his war happy motives in motion.The fact is there never were wmd's found in Iraq or any direct connection to 9/11 attacks.The country of Iraq is in worst shape than when we first arriived there.The fact is 2/3 of Baghdad want our troops out and 3/4 of the overall population want a time table for the removal of our troops than includes the Kurd's.This seems to be trend at home here as well the president's approval rating among military personal is down to 30 some precent.The lowest approval rating any president has had with the military.This war was a money wasting FARCE! they put our men and woman in harm's way for no reason at all.The civil liberty violations here at home and aboard is unreal from innocent people being beaten to privacy rights threw in the trash like a day ole rag.I also enjoy the $400 billion plus price tag on it all, that we pay.The goverment is for the people by the people.

    Thsi is an ignorant comment (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:35:17 AM EST
    Why sure UN resolutions mean something! (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 04:50:48 PM EST
    ...Just ask Israel about UN Resolution 242 from 1967 which required Israel to withdraw back to its recognized boundaries.

    They have NEVER complied and the end result is the turmoil you see in the Middle East today.

    Or is it unseemly to criticize lawbreaking allies? Bad form, perhaps?

    And if you truly believe the rest of your rant, I have this little-used bridge in Fallujah you might be interested in - lightly traveled and primarily used to hang...um...well...how to put this?...uh...emblems of conflict, yeah, that's the ticket, emblems of conflict.

    If ya have a little depleted uranium and white phosphorous to trade with I can get you a really good deal.

    And citing the ABSENCE of something to attempt proving a point is usually nonsense. The moon hasn't fallen from the sky since 9/11 either; does bush get the credit for that?


    Kos (none / 0) (#43)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 05:18:57 PM EST
    sez screw em on that bridge!

    Wind 'em up and off they go... (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 03:25:06 PM EST
    ehhhh. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 04:10:33 PM EST
    Paperhead's had the whole holiday season (No, not just Christmas!) to get all wound up.  Whaddya expect?

    It took the whole season to (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 04:16:33 PM EST
    memorize the talking points?

    He didn't do to well ... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Sailor on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 05:14:14 PM EST
    ... at his memorization. paperboy sez: The Iraq War is but one battle in the war against Islamofacism

    But bush says Islam is a peaceful religion.


    Sailor, try and understand (1.00 / 3) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 06:44:32 PM EST
    Bush is trying to be kind and note that not all Moslems are terrorists but the current crop of terrorist are 99.999% Moslem.

    You just (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by aw on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:08:59 PM EST
    made up that number.

    Don't be obtuse, You get the point. (3.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:35:44 PM EST
    okay, 88.9654321

    First you make up numbers, (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by aw on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:54:52 PM EST
    then you assume I get your point.  What's next, a wink and a nudge?

    Other people provide you with links (that you demand) all the time.  Why should you get a pass for laziness?


    I didn't know that. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 07:42:36 PM EST
    Can you provide a link or two 'proving' that bush/cheney/rumsfeld/ppj etc. are 'Moslem'?

    We went without being attacked... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 04:49:39 PM EST
    ...for a longer period of time during the Clinton administration (1st WTC bombing to 9/11 on Dubya's watch = 8 years).  So where's your praise for Clinton keeping us safe?  Or are you now going to withdraw that point as valid?

    God lord, dadler (1.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 06:47:50 PM EST

    USS Cole? The two embassies. The attempt to attack LAX... The plot to blow up the airline flights,  etc., etc. In fact Clinton's lack of action in the face of the increasing threat level emboldened the terrorists.  

    And then there was his failure to take OBL when the Sudan offerred him.,


    Madrid, London, etc. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Dadler on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:35:32 PM EST
    You miss the rhetorical point entirely.  My point about Clinton (and yours, too) made a larger point about Bush (which the subject line refers to).  That his mindless yapping about making us safer is just that.  Less mind + more yap.    

    Number 3,000 (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Fredo on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 02:50:30 PM EST
    His blood is on the hands of the people he was fighting against, and who killed him, and no one else.  Otherwise you must acknowledge that FDR had the blood of roughly half a million young men on his hands--not to mention untold innocent German, Japanese, French and other civilians.  If you are in a war you had best resolve to win.  You can't save lives, innocent or otherwise, by surrendering to the likes of the Islamic fanatics.  You may wish you could, but you can't.  It may fill you with a sense of moral superiority to conclude that the fault lies with your elected officials and their appointees, but it doesn't.  It lies with the world-wide death cult that all too few seem determined to resist.

    Fault? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 02:57:08 PM EST
    It lies with the world-wide death cult that all too few seem determined to resist.

    The cult that attacks and invades countries that were no threat and had no ability to be a threat? That cult?


    Another repeat of the same old talking points. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:56:26 PM EST
    Today's recruits (1.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Fredo on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 06:45:25 PM EST
    The fact that there were some college-graduate draftees during the Vietnam era proves nothing at all.  Apart from such anecdotal irrelevancies, the fact is that today's recruit is better educated than ever in history, and comes from a slightly higher socioeconomic class than the population at large.  The initiation of war against Saddam's regime was entirely appropriate under law: Saddam daily violated the truce signed at the close of the Gulf War by firing on the aircraft sent to enforce the UN-mandated no-fly zone (tell the pilots that Saddam never attacked us).

    When did Morocco ever attack us?  Did FDR have on his hands the blood of those who died in the US defeat at Kasserine Pass?  If you're not prepared to say so, then you are unpersuasive about Bush's bloody hands and Iraq.

    If Bush's decision to go to war was a "lie" instead of a "mistake," why did two bipartisan commissions (Robb-Silberman and Senate Intelligence Committee) find to the contrary?

    Not True (none / 0) (#27)
    by john horse on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 05:42:10 AM EST
    re: "the fact is that today's recruit is better educated than ever in history, and comes from a slightly higher socioeconomic class than the population at large."

    This may have been true prior to the war in Iraq but it is not true now.  The fact is the Army has been lowering standards in order to meet recruiting goals.  


    Where did you get your data? (none / 0) (#35)
    by roy on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 11:42:55 AM EST
    today's recruit ... and comes from a slightly higher socioeconomic class than the population at large

    I've looked for data on that, and couldn't find it.  The DOD doesn't track recruits' parents' income level, or the recruits' pre-military income.  They only track the recruits' ZIP code, which is at best a dubious proxy.


    Another repeat of the same old talking points. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:55:04 PM EST
    myspace (none / 0) (#2)
    by roy on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 01:36:25 AM EST
    A rather dated Google cache of his Myspace page is here.  I've no clue how long it will work.

    at the battle of cannae........................ (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 12:35:43 PM EST
    the roman army lost more men, in one day, than died in our entire involvement in vietnam. so what? that didn't make vietnam a "good" war, any more so than wwII justifies our involvement in iraq.

    not even warped logic fredo, no logic at all.

    jeralyn, i'm not so sure your logic is any better, if it even exists, in this instance. historically, the military has been used by young people as a transit to getting their lives together. it teaches discipline, self-control, teamwork, all positive traits. it instills self-confidence and a positive self-image, from doing a job well. i don't see anything inherently wrong with this.

    further, you leap to an unfounded conclusion: the recruiter read this kid's myspace site. as a result, he should have known spec. donica had a "death wish". how, exactly, do you know this? you don't say. neither does the article you reference.

    do recruiters "target" these kinds of kids? beats me. possibly. given the difficulties recruiters are having lately, i wouldn't be surprised. but, i don't know that for a fact. neither do you.

    as well, given the lowered standards, i wouldn't be at all surprised to find more less than desirable recruits. again, i don't know this for a fact, because there are no publicly available statistics.

    however, given our involvement, since 2001, in afghanistan, and 2003 in iraq, anyone who enlists does so knowing full well they face a high probability of deployment to one of those combat zones. even a college dropout should see this. kind of hard for a recruiter, however charming or charismatic, to hide that.

    unless the recruiters lie (none / 0) (#18)
    by Sailor on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 05:23:08 PM EST
    kind of hard for a recruiter, however charming or charismatic, to hide that.
    Of course recruiters 'target' kids who don't have the means/capability to understand what's going on in the world. And then they lie to those kids.

    As I recall (none / 0) (#34)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:32:30 AM EST
    you fell for this for a few weeks, correct?  Then you saw the light.

    fredo, that's not even (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 03:59:44 PM EST
    competent bs. last i checked, iraq neither attacked nor declared war on us, japan and germany did both. last i checked, we hadn't actually declared war on iraq, unless congress met in secret session, and did so in the dead of night.

    please, spare us all your idiotic republican talking points. if you can't tell the difference between a war of choice, and a war thrust upon us, there's just no hope for you.

    I was there (none / 0) (#44)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 01:41:09 PM EST
    I was in the military and I can tell you first hand that it is primarily made up of 1.) poor urban black youth 2.) poor immigrant latinos 3.) poor rural whites and 3.) middle class kids who are looking to be independent of mom and pop.

    I was in the latter group. Obviously, these people are looked at as throw away by the people who make the decision to send them to war and to keep them there.

    The Democratic Party has a chance to show that they actually care about these people's lives. I am watching very closely to see if they actually do. We already know that the Republicans don't.