Iraq

An Iraq Soldier-Blogger's Final Post

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hide captionArmy Major Andrew Olmsted

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Blogger and soldier Andy Olmsted was killed yesterday in Iraq. Olmsted had been writing for the Rocky Mountain News. He'd left behind a final blog post with a friend just in case:

I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?

Whether you'd read anything by him before or not — I hadn't — it's worth a few minutes of your time.

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I'm so sorry for the loss of another American Soldier.
My deepest sympathy to Major Olmsted's family and friends.

Sent by Jill S Hill ArmyMom | 4:04 PM | 1-4-2008

Those who live by the sword die the same way.

Sent by Rev H Oliver | 4:59 PM | 1-4-2008

I'm sorry for his loss --- and also for that of all the OTHER 3,907 (at the moment) US, plus (only) 307 "other, Allied" military on "our" side, plus more than 774 US and at least 238 other-nationalities "civilian contractor" types, and over 200 journalists all dead outright. I am also sorry for the losses suffered by the currently at least 12,912 (US alone) "Wounded in action - NOT returned to duty in 72 hours". AND ALSO AROUND A MILLION OR SO DEAD IRAQIS, and God (or Allah, or Whatever) only knows how many of THOSE people permanently disabled!

Sent by Frank Hummel --- St. Louis, MO area | 5:10 PM | 1-4-2008

Reading this articulate and obviously sensitive man???s last blog, I was deeply touched by its humor and his remarkable ability to cope with a terrible situation. And my anger deepened, if it's still possible to do so, at the hideous waste of this criminal war and its enthusiastic armchair warriors both inside and outside our regime who promoted and created it.

Sent by Norman Weinstein | 5:17 PM | 1-4-2008

SO SORRY TO HEAR...MY THOUGHTS & PRAYERS TO THE FAMILY...I'M ALWAYS READING THIS SITE...MY SON IS PRESENTLY SERVING IN IRAQ...ARMY INFANTRY..AND I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM HIM SINCE THE 26...SO I STRESS ALOT..GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS/SOLDIERS AND MAY THEY BE SAFE.."IN GOD WE TRUST"

Sent by RAQUEL FROM MILLVILLE, NEW JERSEY | 5:54 PM | 1-4-2008

"Rev" Oliver, what a cold and heartless thing to say while those of us who knew and loved Andy are mourning his loss. Andy was a wonderful friend and an amazing human being who was trying to help the Iraqi people. He did not deserve to die this way.

Sent by Heather Sims | 6:03 PM | 1-4-2008

A Patriot and Warrior with a sense of the futility of the task we (unfortunately, the WE consist primarily of the final 25% Bush Hardliners)have undertaken. God Bless and keep you and your Family...!

Sent by Anonomyous | 7:25 PM | 1-4-2008

judgeing by the comments here I have to conclude that NPR readers are morons. "criminal war and its enthusiastic armchair warriors". Newsflash...Andy Olmstead was a REAL warrior. My guess is you don't know anyone in the military. Obviously you are a lesser person for it

Sent by Geoff | 8:17 PM | 1-4-2008

Heroic Army Major Andrew Olmsted had NOT died in vain because he is telling the TRUTH by asking his friends to post his ???final Blog??? after his death: ??????that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok????

I wonder if Major Olmsted would have been living today if the Bush Administration had not made so many HUGE mistakes after going into Iraq: (1) de-Baathification (removing competent Sunnis from their government jobs); (2) disbanding 500,000 Iraqi military (almost all SECULAR military officers are Sunnis); (3) Supporting al-Hakim to form Super Shiite Region (taking oil control from Sunnis); (4) Supporting Separatists Kurds to annex northern oil fields (taking oil control from Sunnis). The Bush Administration will go down history as the WORSE commanding office in all written American history!

The only saving grace right now is the fact that we are paying these unemployed Sunnis to defend their neighborhoods so that they can support their family members. We just need to continue helping Sunnis to have a fair election so they can regain some of the power from this Jihadist Iraqi government.

Sent by Melody | 8:30 PM | 1-4-2008

To the family of Maj. Olmsted our sincere condolences. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them as they struggle to accept the dear price too many of our military families have already paid To the "Rev. H. Oliver", never forget those men would lay their lives down tomorrow to save your sorry hide. It is very obvious the word "compassion" is not a part of your "religious convictions". Having lived thru the agonies of Viet Nam I am shocked the sacrifice of this misguided endeavor is being born by a small portion of our population while the rest of our people are content to harass military funerals, make the sort of remark presented by the reverend or worst yet, prefer to go "shopping" as they were advised in total apathy as to what is being done in their name Although I did not agree with them at least the Viet Nam war generation had the guts to protest that which they did not agree with! Wait until the bill for this war comes due! Military families pay as they go and when the boots come home their burden will be lifted. So enjoy your shopping while it lasts! If this continues much longer you may not be able to afford your "cassock"!

Sent by Giny | 9:22 PM | 1-4-2008

Where is the Christian charity from the "Rev" H. Oliver? Maj.Olmsted died doing his job. He was in Iraq because he was sent, not because he wanted to go sightseeing. My sympathy to the family. I'm proud of them. He sounds like a wonderful man and his loss will be enormous. "Rev" Oliver - you can say disgusting hurtful things like you just did, because men like the Major defend your right to do so. Shame on you. God bless all our Troops!

Sent by Nuala - an Army mom and proud of it | 9:27 PM | 1-4-2008

Major Olmsted's FINAL request of us was to not use his words as petty political fodder for ANY side. So a plague on all your houses who have done so. But Scum H Oliver, you get a double helping of plague you miserable subhuman.

Sent by Greg in Illinois | 1:25 AM | 1-5-2008

Owned!!!

Sent by haha | 2:27 AM | 1-5-2008

I hope that Bush and Cheney experience what they deserve in the wake of the Iraq occupation.

Sent by cowalker | 3:20 AM | 1-5-2008

Well Geoff, I know plenty in the military and in fact come from a military family - and that includes current active duty.

I also believe in keeping my end of the covenant with these REAL warriors, and that is to hold my government accountable so that they are never placed in harm's way needlessly.

Sent by E.C. | 3:26 AM | 1-5-2008

He should have stayed home and not gonne to a foreign country to participate in a terroris ocupation and theft of that country??s resources.

Sent by Observer | 6:38 AM | 1-5-2008

He writes "I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children." But I am sure that the women and children didn??t ask him to go there to defend them and most probalby what he calls "hundreds of insurgents" where the local men - husbands, fathers, sons, cousins, boy-friends, friends - of the women and children, who also didn??t want him there. And this is a metafore for the whole Iraq invasion/occupation.

Sent by Observer | 8:09 AM | 1-5-2008

Defending a vilage?Dystroiyng it maybe?
Thats what Americans do in Iraq kiling and stiling.

Sent by James | 9:33 AM | 1-5-2008

No worries - Bush and Cheney are still getting fat and rich off their War.

Sent by Tim | 9:47 AM | 1-5-2008

Melody,
You don't get out much to comedy clubs do you ?

Sent by Airedale | 10:19 AM | 1-5-2008

Appears few of you even took the time to read Major Olmsted's last blog before rushing to post your own. He was clear in his request that his death not be used to further any political position, be it for or against the war. I will honor the wish of this man who I did not know but is someone I'd like to have met. I suggest you all read his last blog. He is articulate, witty, and wise and it is worth a few minutes of your time to read it. I gained much more from it than I did from these postings. Deepest condolences to his wife Amanda who sounds like an incredible woman. Reading his word's about her brought tears to my eyes thinking of my own beautiful wife. Sincerest thanks and appreciation to Major Olmsted for making the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of me, my family, and millions of Americans. p.s. "Rev" H Oliver is not likely a reverand and "James" is not likely a person who's ever left his naive, safe little world of academia.

Sent by Mike in Pennsylvania | 10:52 AM | 1-5-2008

Guy really had a sense of humor in dealing with his possible death.
I guess the tone of his "final blog entry" really underscores how well we are doing there, when he jokingly states to just lie about it and tell the naive folks back home that its going fine, we're doing good things.

Sent by Rick Cain | 11:16 AM | 1-5-2008

Maj Olmstad believed in your right to your opinions. The world is a darker place without him. If the evil people would stop killing inocent people and each other we could bring our loved ones home from that sad sad place. Very simple solution..bad people just stop killing. God Bless Maj Olmstad's family and give them peace.

Sent by another Army Mom | 11:19 AM | 1-5-2008

The Reverend has a point fellas. If Major Oliver did in fact harbor a strong desire to serve this nation, "liberate" Iraq, or to help with the "war on terror" then he would have realized that to realistically reach his goal he should focus his energy on diplomacy, aid, and politics. Adorning tactical gear and weaponry with a hundred thousand other men in order to maintain an occupation of a foreign country with its own patriots bearing arms and a will to resist doesnt really sound like a success story to me. Nevermind the false pretexts and misinformation leading into March 2003.

Sent by Pat Riot | 11:31 AM | 1-5-2008

its a shame to read the comments from the typical NPR left wing bomb throwers who have never been part of anything bigger than themselves. I served for 30 years. both my sons are serving. my father served. and yes my mother served, both in WW II. do you NPR folks even consider that to be a worthy endeavor? my grandfather served in WW I. my great grandfather served in the War Between the States. my great, great, great grandfather served in the Continental Army. were those wars ok with you? you wouldn't fight if they were on your doorstep. save your treason for some other blog that people like yourself read, don't dishonor the sacrifice of a soldier's life.

Sent by Jimmy P | 1:44 PM | 1-5-2008

You know, there are plenty of other places to debate the war. This is a place to remember a man who fulfilled his duty, in fact went beyond it, regardless of personal thoughts. He brought humanity, humor and insight to those of use who read his words, and he brought love and joy to his family. I'll gladly discuss the war, but that's better at Dkos, and not here.

Sent by Gene Alloway | 2:08 PM | 1-5-2008

Thank God in Heaven for courageous men like Army Major Andy Olmsted, who are willing to give their lives for others. He is a hero and will not be forgotten.

Rest in Peace.

Sent by traci | 3:37 AM | 1-6-2008

Everyday I read the list
"Fallen Hero's" of America
With every new day, a new name.
A new pain for an American.
Their families' hurt just begun.
Struggling with the questions:
"Why? How?"
Hoping, "Please don't let this be true".
With a little hope left, they continue believing.
Until the belief is taken away.
As a mother kneels at a grave.
No greater loss than when a mother buries her child.
No greater loss; without good-byes or sweet "I love you's".
The war rages on; victory we see.
Given by the blood of our "Fallen Hero's".

Sent by Bek | 5:07 PM | 1-6-2008

Rest in peace good and faithful servant.

Sent by Kojak | 7:05 PM | 1-6-2008

P.Riot, just by getting his name wrong you have given yourself away as an ego blogger who just likes to hear yourself speak. You did not know this man nor do you understand sacrifice. How dare you comment on my cousin's service to this country which gives you the freedom to make an idiot of yourself.Major Olmsted was indeed trying to use communication to save Iraq lives when he was killed.Diplomacy sometimes requires great sacrifice which means you actually have to be there in danger to accomplish. Instead of sitting behind your very safe computer and typing such jibberish try reading Major Olmsted's bloggs and learn.

Sent by L. Cooney | 9:08 PM | 1-6-2008

In response to those using blame attacks, remember that 93 percent of congress and President Clinton passed the ???The Iraq liberation act of 1998??? which is referenced in Authorization for use of military force In Iraq passed by 70 percent of congress. One can read them with a google search. From Oct 2006 (the month before the U.S. election) to Jan 2007 U.S fatal causalities were up 35 percent from the previous four months. It might be because in Osama Bin Laden???s Declaration of War he requests his supporters ???to spread rumours, fear and discouragement among the members of the enemy forces.???

We have accomplished much of our goals in Iraq. We???ve removed Saddam and his sons from power, removed the threat of WMD, had elected Iraqis supervise writing their constitution. 78 percent of approximately 9.8 million people voted for the Constitution. (which can be read online) Installed a democratically elected government, 83 percent of the 14 million registered voters voted in the general candidates election , under the threat of death, with over 10 million Iraqis being below the age of 18. We???ve trained an all-volunteer security force of around 360,000 (including police) . The Iraqi security forces causalities are 2 to 3 times our own .
Our enemies achieved their goals of murderous intimidation, undermining the Iraqi government, and provoking sectarian violence. The counter insurgency surge is succeeding in defeating their strategy. Violence is down around 65 percent since June. This last quarter of 2007 U.S fatal casualties were the lowest of any 3 months of the war. (Let us pray the trend continues) Soon Gen. Petraeus will slowly start his 5 step plan for stepping down our force levels from a stable Iraq.
Army Major Andrew Olmsted died honorable serving his country. (God willing) making the world a safer and freer.

Sent by Veteran Keith C. from RC SD | 11:38 PM | 1-6-2008

I hadn't talked to Andy in a very VERY long time. We mostly disagreed about politics, but often found ways to find things in common, whether SF, sports, or just plain ordinary collegiate weirdness.
Yeah, I'm an NPR "left-wing bomb thrower" or some such crud... But we educated one another about a lot of things in the short time that we knew each other well.

He was an ass at times, but hey, so were most of us at times. In other words, our dear friend was a human, folks. Not a hero, or a devil...just an ordinary guy trying to do a difficult job. Our love to Amanda, the kids, and both their families and friends at this incredibly indescribably difficult time.

Sent by The Badger | 7:59 PM | 1-7-2008

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