Skip to comments.Nicholas R. Andoscia: Contrary to Kerr, we're not starving in Iraq
Posted on 05/17/2006 4:48:23 PM PDT by got_moab?
AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq
I AM WRITING to you in regard to Bob Kerr's April 26 column, "The problem is strictly from hunger." The article was about me and my Marine unit, deployed to Iraq. Several of the statements need to be cleared up, because they were taken out of context and are inaccurate.
Mr. Kerr refers to "chow call at the Greenwood Credit Union, in Warwick," which was set up "in response to the unthinkable image of U.S. Marines' approaching Iraqi citizens and asking for food because they do not have enough."
We have more than enough food. We receive two hot meals a day, which our cooks prepare for us, and a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) for lunch. In addition, the cooks keep a never-ending supply of Power Bars, fruit, cake, and Gatorade in the chow hall that we built, to which we have 24/7 access.
The column states: " 'I got a letter,' says Karen [Boucher-Andoscia, the mother of Nicholas R. Andoscia]. 'And he had called me before that. He said, 'Send lots of tuna.' " I did, in fact, ask for tuna from my mom, but it was not because of an alleged lack of food here. Tuna is a good snack between meals, and a taste of home. Many Marines write home to their loved ones and ask them to send a box or two a month filled with snacks. This is not because they are going hungry; it's because they may be in the mood for a certain treat at times.
The column states: "Nick told his mother that he and the men in his unit were all about 10 pounds lighter in their first few weeks in Iraq. They were pulling 22-hour-long patrol shifts. They were getting two meals and day and they were not meals to remember." It's true that a lot of Marines lose weight soon after arriving in theater. Combat is very physically demanding, and the fact is that we have no access to our normal diet of McDonald's, fast-food places, and junk food. The combination of hard physical work and a healthier diet would obviously add up to anyone's losing some weight. In addition, we are not pulling 22-hour-long patrols; we have more than enough time to eat every day.
The column states: " 'He told me the two meals just weren't cutting it. He said the Iraqi food was usually better. They were going to the Iraqis and basically saying, "Feed me." ' " The fact is, we have never gone into a house and said, "Feed me." Sometimes we visit homes of Iraqis to collect census information or just to see how they are doing. Most Iraqis are pretty generous and when we visit their houses, they sometimes offer us some tea and bread, out of pure kindness and a spirit of hospitality.
The column states: "Any packaged food is welcome. So are baby wipes, because showers are even rarer than a full meal." The fact is that we have access to showers, thanks to our company gunnery sergeant and the Marines who have set these facilities up for us. These Marines made showers possible, building them from scratch as soon as we arrived here. Now every Marine in the company can take a shower whenever he wants.
Also, we sincerely appreciate every care package that we receive from Americans across the country who want to offer us a taste of home by sending us some amenities. These care packages provide us with a huge morale boost, because it is assuring to know that the American people are behind our efforts over here 100 percent and want to help us accomplish our mission.
The column states: "The last thing he should have to worry about is an empty stomach. The last thing he should have to do is approach Iraqis and ask for food." You are right: Those are the last things I should have to worry about, and the fact is that they are the last things I worry about, because they are not an issue. As I have already mentioned, we have plenty of food, which lets us be on top of our game while we focus on looking out for the fellow Marine to the left and right of us.
The column ends with: "You have to wonder what the gracious hosts must think when a fighting man from the richest country on earth comes to their door in search of something to eat." This scenario has never occurred with me personally or with any of the other Marines in my unit.
Iraqis are gracious hosts, and are very generous, although many are poor by our standards; it is in their nature to offer food and drink to guests, and is one of the truly inspiring things about their culture. While occasionally a Marine may take an Iraqi up on his offer of food and drink, so as not to offend his or her hosts, no Marine would ever ask an Iraqi directly for food. It is not polite and not needed.
I hope that this letter has cleared things up for you and all of the others that have, unfortunately, read Mr. Kerr's article. The last thing I would want is to have hard-working Americans thinking they have to spend money to buy us food when it is not needed.
I hope that they realize that Marines appreciate every care package sent over, which greatly feeds our morale. We are over here because we choose to be; our mission comes first, and everything else comes second. That having been said, we are well fed, well trained, well equipped, and, thanks to the American people, well supported.
Corp. Nicholas R. Andoscia is with the Third Battalian of the Third Marine Regiment in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
Bob Kerr replies: I talked with Karen Boucher-Andoscia, Nick Andoscia's mother, about her son's appeal for food and the conditions that had prompted it. I had no reason to doubt her or her son, then or now. I also heard from Marines from all over the country who took issue with the column and assured me that Andoscia would be contacted about it. Apparently he was.
that's exactly how it reads
Who in his right mind could think even for a moment that we could not feed our military?!?! Even in the early days of the Iraq campaign, when the soldiers were moving much faster than the supply train, there was no suggestion that any of our people were going hungry. It's amazing how stupid this Kerr person is. Thank God for people like Corp. Andoscia, whose letter shows he's a whole hell of a lot smarter than 99.99999% of all of our so-called "journalists."
Media pukes are the lowest form of life on earth. Kerr knew exactly what he was doing when he wrote this misleading piece of crap. Why would we ever, ever want to believe the MSM?
Kerr is a rancid splash vomited out of the nineteen sixties. He attacks Boy Scouts, straights, the military, the President with equal venom.
There should be no problem settling this - just go to the tape. Post the audio online, and we'll see who said what.
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