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WR Steve Smith from Iraq: 'A life-changing experience'


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#1 jtnc

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:41 AM

I've covered Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith for all of his professional career. He can be downright volatile. When I heard his voice over a crackling phone line, it was clear he could also be genuinely touched. His feelings were understandable. Smith was part of a small group of NFL players visiting troops in Iraq. It was obvious he had been deeply moved by what he saw.

"You don't get a real appreciation for what our troops do until you see them," Smith said from Iraq. "It's incredible how they are over here, fighting for us, and most of us have no clue about what they're doing.

"Coming here and seeing them is a life-changing experience. They are fighting for us, with almost no recognition or appreciation from a lot of people in the United States."

Smith is in Iraq with Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, Cleveland Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Davin Joseph, Broncos linebacker Von Miller and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. They are part of a week-long USO tour across parts of the Middle East that has so far visited a number of military sites and hundreds of troops.

Smith said he spent a large chunk of his time with a group of soldiers who detect and disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have killed or injured numerous American troops.

He also visited a hospital where soldiers had been injured by IEDs.

"They showed us how they detect them and it was incredible," Smith said. "These soldiers are so brave.

"It doesn't compare to what we do [NFL players]. It's not even in the same hemisphere with sports. Nothing we do as NFL players is brave compared to these guys."

Then Smith explained he wanted to say one last thing and what he said reminded me of the combative Smith. But this was the good combative Smith.

"One of the generals told us there are thousands and thousands of soldiers here fighting for our country and they need our support," Smith said. "No matter what people thought of the war or think of it now, these soldiers need our support. So the next time anyone is protesting, just remember, they have the right to protest because of soldiers like these."


http://www.cbssports...ging-experience

#2 GRWatcher

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

lol you beat me by 1 minute.

MODS: please delete my thread with the same subject. Thanks!

#3 Keith Moons Liver

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:17 PM

just remember, they have the right to protest because of soldiers like these."


yeah, cuz saddam was about to take away our rights

#4 PhillyB

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:46 PM

this may well end up in the tinderbox because of the nature of the subject matter, and i don't mean this as an attack on steve, but i'd like to note that american soldiers in iraq are no more protecting our freedoms than 19th century british soldiers in colonial india were protecting the autonomy of the british isles.

fighting for their country =/= fighting to protect their country (unless you equate your country with hegemony, then i guess there's a case to be made)

#5 TheRed

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:55 PM

Geesh can't you guys just commend the man without going into your own personal diatribes?

#6 TheRumGone

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:59 PM

Good for Steve. Just going to Iraq period, would be a life-changing experience, let alone visiting with soldiers over there.

#7 Doyle

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:59 PM

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yeah, cuz saddam was about to take away our rights


Explain to us what you have done that compares?

#8 CatMan72

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

Glad Steve is having that experience, puts things in perspective...

#9 PhillyB

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:04 PM

Geesh can't you guys just commend the man without going into your own personal diatribes?


for what? i disagree with what he said, which is that "those guys are over there fighting for us" which i believe to be demonstrably false.

it's not a knock on smith, as the majority of people in the united states buy into the comfortable paradigm of good guy vs. bad guys. people tend to look at foreign conflict through the lens of hypernationalism. as an impassive observer i find that steve's actions are commendable in the sense that he is willing to humble himself and his profession in comparison to something far more sacrificial, but at the same time simple-minded because it follows a narrative that is clearly propagandist to anyone paying attention.

#10 TheRumGone

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:13 PM

this will end well.

#11 P.I.A

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:25 PM

How about we all just take a deep breath and say "Good Job Steve Smith" before any of you develop acute brain cancer from raging to hard. Excellent representation for the Panthers, I would say. No need to slam anyone, or anyones foreign policy choices.

#12 L-TownCat

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:29 PM

If your mad about the war be mad at the right people. Support the men and women brave enough to be there if and when we need them.

#13 BigSyke

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:52 PM

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

#14 carpantherfan84

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:23 PM

this may well end up in the tinderbox because of the nature of the subject matter, and i don't mean this as an attack on steve, but i'd like to note that american soldiers in iraq are no more protecting our freedoms than 19th century british soldiers in colonial india were protecting the autonomy of the british isles.

fighting for their country =/= fighting to protect their country (unless you equate your country with hegemony, then i guess there's a case to be made)


It is rare that Philly B and I are on the opposite sides of a conversation but I am a career soldier with multiple combat tours and I feel compelled to respond (though I may regret it later, lol)

The fact of the matter is is that America is a very powerful nation. We exercise our influence across the globe and constantly take military action to protect our "interests" Because of this we as citizens are able to enjoy a way of life unlike any where else in the world in particular we have enjoyed near unlimited access to resources that are rare in the world, i.e. food, water, oil, land. We drive huge gas guzzling cars that we park in our paved driveway that goes to a house that sits on a half acre of land that we spend our free time grooming because we can. There is no threat of starvation from running out of useable farm land. We spend hours on the weekend killing animals that we dont eat or catch fish simply because we like the challenge. There is absolutely no threat of invasion so we have plenty of free time to spend argueing about a game that is played by multimillionaires. As a nation our bellies are seldom empty and even our poor have access to facilities to shelter, clothe and feed them. The common family has such excess that most have tv's they never watch or rooms they never use. Yes these freedoms are many.

Indeed America is unique in its combination of wealth and security. But why is this? Is the rest of the world so incredibly generous that they clamour over one another to bask in the glory that is the US? Do they form lines to offer us tribute, that our country may continue to prosper? What keeps them at bay? A kind word and a firm handshake from the President? Well, I promise you that it is not our good looks and sunny disposition. This is what your military offers you. The knowledge that no matter what, you are safe to pursue your interests as an American citizen, free from the militaristic influence of other nations.

The members of the military volunteer to accept this responsiblity often times at great risk to their own life, but never with a complaint. You are obligated to respect that, because there is not one of you that would trade even one freedom in order to satisfy some trumped up sense of moral dilemna. That is what is meant by supporting the troops not necessarily the war. We do not choose the fight. We do not pick our battles or tell the public what nations we will exercise our influence. ALL of those decisions are made by civilians. If you dont like it vote new people in. That stuff is not our call. But without us there would be no nation to protect. There is one superpower. Just one. There can only be one. I am curious to hear who you would rather have that role other than us.


People may not like it, and when I stand before God I may find that I have to answer for some things, but this is what I do. I love this country. I am third generation Airborne Paratrooper. I have no delusions as to why we are strong, but I am completely comfortable with risking my life that you may keep yours.

#15 PhillyB

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

The fact of the matter is is that America is a very powerful nation. We exercise our influence across the globe and constantly take military action to protect our "interests" Because of this we as citizens are able to enjoy a way of life unlike any where else in the world in particular we have enjoyed near unlimited access to resources that are rare in the world, i.e. food, water, oil, land. We drive huge gas guzzling cars that we park in our paved driveway that goes to a house that sits on a half acre of land that we spend our free time grooming because we can. There is no threat of starvation from running out of useable farm land. We spend hours on the weekend killing animals that we dont eat or catch fish simply because we like the challenge. There is absolutely no threat of invasion so we have plenty of free time to spend argueing about a game that is played by multimillionaires. As a nation our bellies are seldom empty and even our poor have access to facilities to shelter, clothe and feed them. The common family has such excess that most have tv's they never watch or rooms they never use. Yes these freedoms are many.

Indeed America is unique in its combination of wealth and security. But why is this? Is the rest of the world so incredibly generous that they clamour over one another to bask in the glory that is the US? Do they form lines to offer us tribute, that our country may continue to prosper? What keeps them at bay?


many of these great things we have come, to some extent at least, at the expense of others. just because america's hegemony allows us to sustain our unfettered greed doesn't make the hegemony itself a good thing IMO

you'll never see me knock the individual soldier as immoral for simply being in the military (see the "good nazi" argument for how easily the lines between good and bad are blurred when it comes to things like military action) but questioning the role of nationalism, hegemony, and the agency of the individual as a soldier is critical.

fwiw i spent two years in a marine corps officer development program... it was a dual enrollment through the officer selection office that let you join two years before graduating college, go to OCS in quantico, and get your commission at graduation before heading off to TBS. i made it through PLC OCS just fine, but ended up tearing cartilage in both knees that required arthroscopic surgeries and ultimately got booted from the corps before i could graduate college and get my commission.

i bring this up to show that i at one point stood rank-and-file with the most ardent supporters of military action, american imperialism, exceptionalism, and the seeming infallibility of the american military and american military actions in the eyes of a huge portion of the general public. my viewpoints have not come from institutional liberalization in marxist universities (the accusation that is most often leveled by people who cannot understand how my views have changed) but rather from removing the lens of nationalism that so easily blinds and distorts and looking at things from a larger, dispassionate perspective.

when you consider yourself a citizen of the world residing in america rather than wrapping your identity as a singular nationality - american - you begin to detect subtle problems in the manifestations of the latter worldview that expand into much larger ones the more you pursue them.

/tangent

steve smith is awesome


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