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E-4 Mafia

I don't know where this blog went but here it is again. Copy it and don't let the authors work die.

The Blog

posted by E-4 Mafia at 9:49 AM 44 comments 

Rite of Passage for a Toy Soldier
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Militarization of American life has always bothered me but perhaps even more so after experiencing combat myself. I played with army men and fired my share of paintball guns growing up, however the reality is that the blood and death are not computer graphics and the bodies of the dead and dying don’t disappear or walk of the playground.

The romanticizing of armed conflict has made combat the modern age rite of passage. Boys think they don’t become men until experiencing the trauma of warfare. It instills in our youth false pseudo-patriotism than encourages our society to promote armed aggression.

Movies today depict war like it’s some opportunity to be a main character in some good always wins epic. No body in combat is any more special than the next guy and I have seen the dude that trains harder, shoots better, runs faster, and prays more get mangled in combat as much as the shit bags. IEDs, RPGs, and mortars are indiscriminant and equally tears through flesh and bone of whoever is unlucky enough to be close by.

Because of my fantasies about warfare I was completely ill prepared for the real thing. It was a system shock that every soldier must adapt to on the field of battle. There is very little honor in it and we boil down to basic instincts that are barely kept in check by military training. The courageous movie shots and imagined heroism is stripped away into desperate survival and fear.

Popular society will never fully capture the true aspect of combat because it is far too ugly to market. You can not package something so insane in plastic or wear it like a tee shirt. Children would not play with toys that conjure the hideous dreams my shattered psyche is left to mill.

Innocence is far more sacred than I believed before I hastily tried to do away with it to become some damned hardened warrior. I would have faired better if I were made of plastic like the toys I played with as a child.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 3:09 PM 50 comments 

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I have been throwing some heavy ideas around about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while trying to cope with my experience in Iraq. I agree that PTSD is a real and psychological injury, however the additional injuries seem more prevalent. There is a form of Character Damage that a soldier goes through while at war. When he steps away from the protective bubble of noble cause and patriotic duty the veteran comes into doubt about many aspects of the reality he once precieved. I have been calling it WTFS (What the Fuck Syndrome) or the search for meaning.

After I shot my first civilian I was very upset. I went back to my connex and trashed the place. I brought my frustration up to my chain of command and was directed to my chaplain. The very first thing he told me was that I was doing Gods work and I did what I did for my country’s and family’s safety. I was told I was in God’s hands and was an instrument of the lord. This was all very interesting, and even more angering, because I am an Atheist.

I realized what this officer was immediately doing was trying to construct meaning for my actions. In fact he was trying to manufacture meaning for the entire war. I saw through it and began to question my involvement in the entire operation.

Without that essential meaning there is a break down in personal identity, or the frame in which I think nails it, Character Damage. If there is one thing that every soldier seems to experience after being in combat or the war itself, no matter what his former personal beliefs, is doubt. Soldiers have to recreate their character based sometimes on who they were pre military, pre war, mid war or invent a whole new creature. Sometimes the personality we build is self destructive and sometimes we never solidify. Those are all mental illnesses attributed to the war that leaves veterans disabled.

One of my most significant realizations is that I am not suffering from PTSD in the classic sense that I experience a single traumatic event that left damaged my ability to react normally to my environment. In fact the comparison that I am alike some victim that was assaulted, abused or raped is very upsetting.

In most cases the American soldier is the perpetrator not the victim. I feel like the thief, rapist and murderer. I have caused others PTSD. I have returned to America unlike the criminals of society who serve time in prison and sometimes feel as if they suffered enough and have achieved some zero karma balance. I have returned a god damn hero. I suffer with feelings of guilt over what I have done and shame over who I’ve become and I have people thanking me for what I did.

Soldiers go unpunished and, consciously or not, go about punishing themselves. They drink them selves to death, fail in relationships, alienate their friends, get hooked on drugs, abuse their family, take unneeded risks, and commit suicide, all in the attempt to reach some sort of satisfactory punishment.

I have done some things that, in my opinion, have helped, all by accident, or perhaps instinct. I spoke out against what I have done through the anti-war movement and expressed the awfulness of my actions in war. I have admitted they were wrong and made a conscious decision to never do them again. I have worked to end the war, I am developing peer counseling circles and I’m advocating for veteran benefits. All these are old religious methods that I learned to do without the dogma, confession, repentance, and atonement. These three methods have empowered me and given me a tool to channel all that negative experience in to constructive solutions.

I believe these soldiers that are being screwed over at their medical board are being misdiagnosed because the classic PTSD symptoms do not fully explain the soldier’s problem. They are suffering from these injuries that are directly related to their war experience and when they come home it prevents them from adjusting on an equal level with their peers who chose not to serve. Which means the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs are accountable to a form of disability that compensates for the veteran’s injury.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:19 PM 23 comments 

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Everyone else seems to have something to say about George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, so why not me?
[Section edited out]
The State of [the union] address was a colorful display of brainwashing that would make Joseph Goebbels blush. And I’m sure Pappy George was sitting in his CIA protected mansion just proud as hell that George Jr. was perpetuating his New World Order scheme into an actual reality.

The only interesting news that came out of that dark and dismal night was the fact that Cindy Sheehan got arrested. It came across to the public something like this, “…and antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who’s son was killed in Iraq in 2003, was arrested by Capitol police officers at George Bush’s State of the Union address for allegedly wearing an offensive t-shirt. She was charged with unlawful conduct and later released.”

What the hell did they say? Unlawful conduct? Wearing a t-shirt? What exactly was going on there?

While taking her seat just prior to Bush’s speech, Cindy Sheehan was spotted by Capitol Police wearing a shirt that said, “2245 Dead. How many more?” An officer shouted, “Protester,” and Cindy was escorted out of the Capitol Building in handcuffs. Rep. Bill Young’s wife Beverly Young was wearing a “Support the Troops” t-shirt and was also asked to leave the event, but not arrested. Sheehan was then taken to the local cop-shop to be charged with the misdemeanor “unlawful conduct” and later released.

Many claim that she was out of line and deserved the arrest. While it is true that there are laws prohibiting political protesting on capital grounds, the exact statutes are incredibly vague and do not outline what the law considers “protesting”. There has been much confusion in relation to this incident. The Associated Press wrote, “The two women appeared to have offended tradition if not the law, according to several law enforcement and congressional officials.”

Offended tradition? Does that make it illegal? Well, in all fairness, apparently not. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer announced today that the charges against Cindy Sheehan were to be dropped. This came to light only after Cindy Sheehan threatened to sue the district for infringing on her civil liberties and consequently the entire story of her arrest was made public.

What is ironic about this particular Sheehan scandal is that it completely foreshadowed the bullshit that George W. Bush spouted out in his State of the Union address. Bush rambled on and on about how important “Freedom” and “Democracy” was to Iraq and the Middle East, all the while trampling on the freedoms and democracy of Americans at home. The funniest part was that Sheehan didn’t even mean to get arrested, unlike other times when she purposely confronted officers. No! This time Cindy Sheehan was arrested and booked for a THOUGHT CRIME!

What does this say about our State of the Union in 2006? If you can be arrested for wearing a t-shirt, does that mean you can be locked up for looking like a hippy? Soviet communists arrested kids wearing blue jeans and young men with long hair because…The Soviet Union was not free! Everybody knows that. But when you consider the facts of state oppression, it seems funny how much that level of injustice compares to what Americans are faced with today.

Cindy Sheehan’s arrest is not an isolated incident. I have friends who were arrested at antiwar protests because they looked like anarchist punks. At the Republican National Convention in 2004, similar wrongful arrests were made during peaceful demonstrations. In those instances, heavily armed police officers forced peaceful citizens into small boundaries constructed out of tape and barriers. They called these boundaries “Free Speech Zones”. Violators of these free speech corrals were arrested and thrown into dirty jail cells overnight, only to be charged with misdemeanor crimes upon their release. Worse yet, innocent protestors, punks, squatters, and other “undesirables” were detained at the 2004 RNC protest and locked up--without charge--in what was called Pier 57, a warehouse insulated with asbestos and guarded by armed police and razor wire. Most of the over 1900 detainees reported that they were held in filthy conditions and denied water and medical attention during their 18+ hour imprisonment. Why were these people arrested in the first place? Were they guilty of violent crimes or inciting riots? Were these people endangering themselves or others around them? Were these people terrorists? Certainly not! These were American citizens who should have been protected by the Constitution of the United States, and this was the price they paid for exercising their Civil Rights!

Bill of Rights
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

No infringement on these rights deserves to be ignored. It just so happens that some injustices are made more public than others. Cindy Sheehan may harbor radical ideas about the war or the government, but in no way should she deserve imprisonment for speaking her mind. Besides, doesn’t the question on her t-shirt deserve this respect? Whether you support the war or are against it, doesn’t the fact that 2,245 American soldiers have died even register a tiny shred of consciousness on your mind? Certainly no one could argue that her question is fair, whether you like the subject or not. The question speaks truth, and in this case, the truth does hurt.

All in all, I would say that the evening of the State of the Union address was a good one. It was filled with all the ups and downs and excitement that you can only watch on American television. We got to sit back and watch G’Dubya look like the lying, hypocritical bastard that we’ve all grown to know and love. We saw the Democratic Party doing what they do best: Sitting on their worthless asses, sulking, and doing nothing. Together we learned the valuable lesson that anyone who disagrees with the de facto regime is a “Defeatist” and should cower in shame. And to top it off, Cindy Sheehan was arrested by the Fashion Police and ironically martyred by the very forces of evil and corruption that she stands to oppose.
By being persecuted for speaking out, Cindy Sheehan now represents The Cause against a growing danger in our country: A fascist police state ruled by a power-mongering tormenter with no tolerance for honest dissent and no regard for constitutional rights. Sure there are people who hate her because she’s a peace-freak and opposes the war that needlessly took her son’s life. But no one who believes in the principles of freedom and democracy can argue that she was wrongfully arrested, no matter who apologized after the fact. In a hip-hop, glamorized society of spectacle, Cindy Sheehan is the new “in”. Just by wearing a controversial t-shirt to the State of the Union, she managed to build a reputation far more dangerous than gangsta’rap. In the end, Cindy Sheehan has more Street-Cred than the Bush administration has moral integrity.



Monday, January 09, 2006
We Owe Veterans and Soldiers the Truth

The German winter was in high gear as the Scouts of 2-63rd Armor Battalion crossed the tarmac to an awaiting plane. We were wearing our newly issued desert uniforms and carried almost all the necessary gear to survive one year in hostile Iraq. Other than an occasional joke most of us were deep in thought. I shifted from images of the people I loved and the luxuries I knew would soon be few and far between. Mostly I thought about the mission ahead, all the “what if scenarios” and the exercises we covered in training. I knew why we were supposed to be going to Iraq. I was going to fight terrorists that blew up the world trade center. I was going to put an end to a tyrannical regime to free a country. And, I was going to keep America, my family and friends, safe from biological, chemical and nuclear attack. The drone of the aircraft and the dull cabin lights soon put me into an easy sleep.

It has not been a year since I have left the combat zone and sleep no longer comes so easy. I am anxious and thoughts of my fellow soldiers struggling with injuries and mental illness keep me awake. My actions and experiences of war plague my dreams. I have seen veterans with missing limbs, paralyzed bodies, and disfigured appearances overcome their disabilities. However, something still interferes with our healing, the fact that we were betrayed and used abusively by our administration. The fact that we sacrificed and now suffer for ulterior motives by our own leaders hurts far greater than the visible wounds. However, our sacrifice need not be in vain.

If a lesson can be learned from the Iraq War, a lesson that should have been learned from the war in Vietnam, it is that we can not allow our president the ability to wage war without the will of the people and the support of the entire government. We have to apply stronger checks and balances and enforce the existing procedures. The only way that we will encourage change is to hold the administration accountable for its’ fraudulent lead up to the Iraq War. There must be an impeachment trail against George W. Bush and his staff.

I hear people comment that we need to concentrate on withdraw strategies and the problem at hand and the reasons for going to war is a mote point. It does however matter to those of us who made the sacrifice and did our duty as was asked of us. We were the strong arm of a democracy, and should have been used responsibly to accomplish the needs of our citizens. There seems to be enough evidence to support a doubt that the war was based on deceit. An investigation for impeachment is the only justified course of action.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 3:13 PM 31 comments  
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Winners and Losers
The more I reflect back to my service in the military and my deployment in Iraq a bad taste forms in my mouth. I am beginning to realize that I was an active component in the fundamental lose of the Iraq War or (Bush’s War). I took part in the occupation during Iraq’s most fragile hour. In the year I was in Iraq I witnessed the rise of the insurgency in April 04’, the scandal at Abu Ghraib break open, false sovereignty handed over, the re-election of George W. Bush, the second battle of Fallujah, and a mockery of an election in Iraq. All these events were tipping points in a war where the US soldier lost the trust and support of the Iraq people.

Through the use of conventional war against a guerilla insurgency and abusive tactics we turned the communities, we were supposed to be bringing democracy to, into terrorized anti-Americanists. We can not win the hearts and minds with shock and awe and shake and bake. I watched as the undecided Iraqi civilians still sitting on the fence started to side with the rebels. It became harder to get information from the friendlys and the insurgents found safe havens in many more Iraqi homes and mosques. There was a growing animosity between the Iraqi people and the US soldier.

Terms like “Rag Head” and “Sand Nigger” were used more frequently. The name Haji became the “Gook” and “Skinny” of the Iraq War. An honorary term the Muslim uses for a man who completes the Islamic pilgrimage, now a derogatory remark by the GI. Bags went over anyone’s head who was eighteen and older and didn’t give us full cooperation when we raided houses and search vehicles at check points. People started to disappear from neighborhoods and ended up as enemy prisoners of war. With little to no records of who they were and why they were detained, these prisoners were assumed to be the most violent of insurgents and treated with very few rights. A bigot’s war had escalated.

As we begin to withdraw troops we are going to pressure the ill prepared Iraq security forces to step up. The death squads will get more brutal as we approve of hard line tactics that decrease US soldier casualties. Mean while the Iraq civilian population will suffer under extreme and unchecked militias. We will increase our air campaign allowing Iraq Army officers to coordinate targets. Often these will be to resolve personal vendettas and attack opposing political personalities. The US Armed Forces will become an instrument for the power plays and attempted genocides that are beginning to over take Iraq’s troubled areas. The innocent Iraqi people will be caught in the middle.

The damage done by this war to peace in the middle-east and the security of the world is so vast I am not sure if anyone has the answers. But, here is my attempt to add some reason to this tragedy. We must realize that as Americans we do not know what is best for anyone and to assume we have the world’s solutions is fairly arrogant. The best we could do is try harder to understand and listen to the Iraq people instead of forcing them into a mold we believe is best for all mankind.

One aspect that is long over due is the fact we should begin to treat the insurgency as a legitimate military force and create an environment were we can negotiate with the primary leaders. Possibly even, compromising areas to allow insurgents to become an institutional part of the security forces in those sectors. This might offer a safer region in the long run for the civilians there and will force the insurgents to take active roles in the political procedures.

We should shift the aggressive conventional operations into peace keeping efforts that concentrate on missions that reduce criminal activity and protect the Iraqi people. Flood areas of Iraq with civil affairs projects and non-profit work in order to rebuild communities from the ground up. Improve the standard of living so the Iraq people start to trust America is going to deliver on our promises. Create jobs so that Iraqis can start helping themselves. If the Iraqi is providing for his family he will be to busy and content to join the rebellion and his children will be less susceptible to joining extremists.

A lot of the strategies to win the war in Iraq rely on one major factor, we must have an honest foreign policy that is transparent to the global community. This is a tangled mess when we take a hard look at why we entered Iraq in the first place and who’s definition we are using as to what success truly is in the region.

To the American people winning in Iraq should be defined as gaining security from terrorists and building stability in the Middle-East. These can be achieved be satisfying the impoverished nations by having American corporations becoming less dependent on out sourced labor and by abusing countries to capitalize on their resources. We will be at war with the third world until we manage to keep our business to ourselves.

The largest problem that applies here is the control of oil. It is time to confess to ourselves and the world that the consumption of oil by the US is dependent on the Middle-Eastern oil fields. We will soon have to face up the fact that we require a certain amount of these resources until we have developed alternatives and negotiate terms with the rest of the world. We have known since the Carter Doctrine, and it was further proved in the Bush Doctrine, that we would be willing to go to war to insure we had access to the oil resources in South West Asia. So it is about time we start working on a way to get the oil while we with draw troops or else in a few years we are going to have Iraq War II Vets, Iran War Vets, Syria War Vets, and Saudi War Vets.

These are my views on the current situation. I can’t say that I am right on all these accounts. I just added my personal experience with the knowledge I have gained about these issues. Having the prospective on the ground allows me to understand how these plans and strategies will likely play out. I am fairly depressed about the direction we are going and I don’t think we are doing what is best for anyone but a few individuals.

I hear Murtha getting slammed for being afraid to stay the course, but isn’t it fear that we also attempt to win over Iraq? It is hard to tell who is right when we neither side can see the future. The best plan is to set conditions to with draw and bench marks to initiate more of the exit strategy. But, also we must be flexible to adapt to current events and adjust the operations on the fly if the plan seems to fail. I don’t think sticking to one stubborn solution will get our troops out of harms way and supply Iraq with a safer environment. It is going to take a lot of compromising and our polarized America seems to be unable to do that. While we argue about what is best, my brothers and sisters die in Iraq.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 8:19 PM 22 comments  
Monday, November 21, 2005
Staying the Course
After some discussion and recent events the authors of this site have decided to continue posting on the Fight to Survive blog. It has gained in popularity after Heckle chose to expose his identity. And, now more than ever there is a need for veterans who fought to express themselves.

I view America differently after I survived through war in Iraq and my life may forever be defined by that one year. It is kind of like seeing a home movie and realizing how foolish you act or sound. Also I no longer take for granted some of the things I viewed as minor, and minimize things I thought were a big deal. These key perceptions might be intriguing and useful to many readers. In the end it seems that writing is still therapeutic for my stress and anger management issues.

So, there are many reasons to continue the blog. However I thought changing the description and adding this explanation was in order. I haven’t much looked at the site in a long time since our tour of duty was complete and it appears there are a lot of new comments. I hope that I have time to answer most of them and look into other links that have been left, excluding the spasm and adds.

Here is the original description to be preserved:

"This site is the mouthpiece for a group of soldiers who are fighting in a war they oppose for a president they didn't elect while the petrochemical complex turns the blood of their fallen comrades into oil."-Joe Public

Thanks to all of you that supported us and even those that did not. We appreciate your dialog. Open conversation is the only way to find a successful compromise for the issues that trouble our nation and the world. Even though we might have contrasting beliefs, it is our responsibility to find solutions that are acceptable to the majority. That is what a Democracy is supposed to involve. And even if our views seem extreme to some, we are not so stubborn that we won’t listen to other ideas.

So we will do what my hero “W” recommends and “Stay the course!”

-the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:41 PM 43 comments  
Monday, November 07, 2005
Letters from Iraq

Letters from Iraq

The hot Sunni sun
passes Moaning Mosque Spire.
B-company’s pinned down
and under heavy fire.
Underneath the palms
there’s improvised bombs.
Because, Jihad Johnny
knows Yankee is a liar.

On Euphrates east bank
where the desert winds blow,
M 1 Abe
keeps his head down low.
Smoking up Joe,
With a front back go,
Is General Hash,
And his puppet show.

They lost another friend today.
It’s getting rough over there.
They say the food tastes like shit.
They miss the pussy, drugs and beer.

They say the whole things fucked.
I wish the boys were back.
At least I know they're still alive.
Another letter from Iraq.

Police Call Kilo’s
marching double time.
While, the grease monkeys
sweep the motor pool line.
On guard is Shaming Jay.
Rolls his own every day.
Lifer Lenny’s getting fitted
for new box of pine.

On an empty cot,
Presents full of Christmas loot.
All that’s left of Bullet Billy
is a pair of bloody boots.
His mom is on the phone.
His girl is all alone.
We all stand in the rain
for a twenty-one gun salute.

They lost another friend today.
It’s getting rough over there.
They say the food tastes like shit.
They miss the pussy, drugs and beer.

They say the whole things fucked.
I wish the boys were back.
At least I know they're still alive.
Another letter from Iraq.

Ramadan Rebel
Is in the holding cell.
The brass looks away
while MPs give em hell.
Guantanamo rule book.
From Basra to Kirkuk.
Beat em’ in a bag,
and drop em’ in a well.

Iron Mike’s on patrol
his weapon status red.
He rolls out the gate
with a foot full of lead.
Tango’s on the hill,
looking for a kill.
Mohammad’s got him convinced
he’d be better off dead.

They lost another friend today.
It’s getting rough over there.
They say the food tastes like shit.
They miss the pussy, drugs and beer.

They say the whole things fucked.
I wish the boys were back.
At least I know they're still alive.
Another letter from Iraq.

Ali Babba’s on the offense
picking up the beat.
Delta needs an e-vac,
but the bird’s outa seats.
There’s a four man stack
outside the Haji Shack.
Bradley’s zipped in
calling Willie Pete.

There’s celebratory fire.
And a purple thumb vote.
Tom cruise is on a sortie
from a gulf love boat.
Smart bombs are a coming.
See the children running.
The dead are all laughing,
but we don’t get the joke.

They lost another friend today.
It’s getting rough over there.
They say the food tastes like shit.
They miss the pussy, drugs and beer.

They say the whole things fucked.
I wish the boys were back.
At least I know they're still alive.
Another letter from Iraq.

An eye for an eye.
And, blood for Texas Tea.
At the call to prayer
Al Queda’s on his knees.
Issac versus Ishmael.
Allah versus Christ.
Basic Training to Route Tampa
rolls in the F-N-Gs.

Mairnes say Sempi Fi
as they cross Highway Ten.
Uncle Sam’s in Highschool
Seeking a “few good men”.
Rummy’s in the Green Zone.
We’d all rather be home.
Where we can watch the war
On C-N-N

They lost another friend today.
It’s getting rough over there.
They say the food tastes like shit.
They miss the pussy, drugs and beer.

They say the whole things fucked.
I wish the boys were back.
At least I know they're still alive.
Another letter from Iraq.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 3:46 PM 92 comments  
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Anonymous said...
you are the biggest pussy i have ever heard of!

get the fuck out of here!
11:37 PM

Matthew Schelberg said...
Dear Sir,

I enjoyed reading your article. However, I am curious as to what Army unit you served with in Iraq. As a Marine Corps Reservist who did one tour in Iraq with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in 2003, your observations seem very strange to me. They are observations and opinions I have not found shared by any other OIF veteran I have met in the two years that I have been back.

In what areas of the country did you serve to have "never once saw a terrorist with extreme inclinations for senseless bloodshed"? Does targeting Shia civilians with car bombs count as "extreme" in your eyes? Are the "angry farmers and shop keepers" the people who manufacture the car bombs that have slain thousands of innocent Iraqis?

Please let me know what areas of the country you operated in, as I am very interested to learn more about your experiences. What was your job in 1st ID? To what unit were you assigned? Who was your company commander? What date did your unit rotate back to the States? Thanks again for your service. I look forward to hearing from you.

Semper Fidelis,
Cpl Matthew Schelberg
Bravo Co, 4th LAR BN., 4th MARDIV

Anonymous said...
You are a traitorous scumbag. I am on my 3rd tour here and I can dispute every one of your seditious lies. I also wonder how much combat you, a specialist, ever saw. You are a weak miserable excuse for a man and I can assure you the American people will not support your attempts to threaten the security of the United States and further endanger its citizens by your reckless aiding, abetting and encouraging the enemy in their efforts to defeat our forces.
11:53 PM

USMC IN IRAQ said...
Please do not address this scumbag as "sir". You are 100 times the man he is. In answer to some of your questions. He was a pogue specialist-HENCE NOT iNFANTRY MOS - whose extent of combat was watching (and complainming about) the USMC success at Fallujah. He was apparently a driver or a gunner on a HMMWV for a VIP. By his own account he describes watching the battle -not participating -of course No not him! He's too big a seditious pussy to help win the war. He's too busy trying to defeat us by offering support to the enemy. He is devoid of honor and not worth your time. He will pass into ignoble anonymity like his fellow traitors. Nobody respects a coward or a loser. He's both.
3:31 AM

I have recently received some negative, hateful comments about the last piece I wrote titled FINDING CLOSURE. Although they sign on as anonymous, they appear to be soldiers in Iraq. Although one Marine Corp Corporal was very polite and intelligent, others seemed extremely angry about my anti-war views. While normally I simply ignore some of the hateful comments we receive on this site, I have decided this time the integrity of Fight To Survive needed to be defended against what appears to be an unchecked, right winged jingoistic agenda.

What I find to be commonplace is the people who label me a traitor, call me a coward, and then accuse me of sedition are always the misinformed, close minded, naïve and ignorant soldiers who have been deceived by their chain of command, from the President all the way down to the lowest level, into believing in a twisted cause to establish a world police force across the globe under the guise of a war against terrorism.

I have received cynical and even very hateful criticism for as long as I have written on this website. It has never deterred my train of thought nor has it frustrated me. By receiving hateful comments is how I know I am doing my part to bring some level of consciousness to the table.

While I was in the army I was labeled a problem simply because I did not believe in the war, and I was vocal about it. What I cannot fathom is the soldiers out there who not only cannot see the obvious truths of this war, but actually get angry when they know of one who disagrees with the military and government’s war-gospel. I never could understand how anyone involved with the Iraqi OCCUPATION could whole-heartedly support it. The foul machinations behind it should be crystal clear, but then again military brain washing is rampant and seems to affect everyone with a myopic scope of reality.

When I was finally caught for my writing in November of last year, the Command Sergeant Major wanted to court-marshal me under his firm belief that what I was writing was “aiding and embedding the enemy”. However, a court-marshal was not possible after our written material was sent through military intelligence and came back clean. You see, my intentions are not to help the Iraqi insurgency but only to raise the awareness of what I went through and what I saw during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

I do not regret anything I have written, but I do wish to make one thing clear. CPL Mathew Shelberg made a very valid point when he asked, “In what areas of the country did you serve to have "never once saw a terrorist with extreme inclinations for senseless bloodshed"? Does targeting Shia civilians with car bombs count as "extreme" in your eyes? Are the "angry farmers and shop keepers" the people who manufacture the car bombs that have slain thousands of innocent Iraqis?”.

My year of combat from February 2004 through February 2005 was spent with 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Baquba, Iraq--centralized in the Sunni Triangle--35 miles northeast of Baghdad. I specifically remember two weeks in the month of July where our sector had the most car bomb attacks in all of Iraq. So I do know the maniacal savagery that was wreaked because of the insurgency’s tactics.

I wish to correct myself by not recognizing car bomb attacks, or any attack that would kill or maim innocent civilians, as indeed an act of terrorism. It is very true that acts of terrorism are occurring in the war in Iraq. But what I would like to make clear is that our involvement in this war is like trying to extinguish a lit match with gasoline. I do not see how terrorism can be snubbed out using conventional warfare. Some of the insurgents’ attacks such as suicide bombers, car bombs, and arbitrary assassinations are unfortunately taking the lives of innocent civilians. This is always wrong. But what needs to be understood is the primary targets of these violent acts are either the Iraqi forces that we empowered or the US military presence exclusively. The Iraqi insurrection, in itself, is what I believe to be an honest rebellion. Because it is a guerrilla war against an illegal occupation enforced by our conventional military force, with far superior weapons and technology, it seems obvious that acts of terrorism are also acts of desperation. One would have to study terrorism for what it is: political violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes. One would have to wonder why international factions of terrorist cells, especially those located in the Middle East, would target the people of America. But what is commonly ignored is the role the United States government takes in aggravating terrorist acts through our hegemonic stranglehold on those regions of the world. With no other means to attract world attention for the economic desperation these third-world regions face, and no way to effectively counter a military superpower, it is no wonder these extremist factions choose terrorism to fight back. Is it right? Certainly not, but then again, neither are economic sanctions and the corporate subsidization of localized goods (oil) and services that our government is notorious for generating. Terrorism should never be accepted by any rational person or society and is certainly an immoral act, but to say that the US government is clean of all responsibility of terrorism is very naïve. Like Noam Chomsky says, “The best way to end terrorism is to stop participating in it.”

I never meant to deny the presence of terrorist acts in Iraq, and I apologize for not making myself clearer in this manner. I just grow more and more aggravated every day listening to George W. Bush spout out loads of propaganda bullshit convincing this country to live a life of absolute xenophobic fear, and using that word “TERRORISM” to do it. Just the word “TERRORISM” has become derogatory. Sure, terrorism does exist in our society, much like it has been prevalent throughout human history. However, to use this natural fear to control the masses of people is irresponsible and wrong. Because of the Bush Administration, we are now locked into a new “Red Scare”, where the draconian standards of the Patriot Act are absolute dogma and unchecked racism and bigotry can run amuck. A new era of McCarthyism is at the threshold of the freedoms and liberties that makes this country so great. The future is always uncertain, but in these menacing times, with an all-powerful fascist oligarch posing under the banner of Jesus and the American Way of Life, there seems to be little hope for a sane and rational tomorrow.

So for some of you brainwashed idiots out there who would dare to accuse me of cowardice and treason, I say this: How dare you point the finger! I am not the enemy, as I have honorably served this country and did everything in my power to serve and defend the Constitution of the United States. I believe whole heartedly in the great monument of mankind this country could be if only it were not managed by thieves and crooks. The American people are among the most noble and kind-hearted and decent in all the world, which is why we should never let our current deranged government run out of control.

I must admit that your frequent use of the word “sedition” both surprises and humors me. That must be a big word for you. Did you happen to read it somewhere, or was its terrorist connotation ever so monotonously drilled into your head in boot camp? Perhaps you removed a “seditious” leader in Level 7 of your new Tom Clancy shoot’m up video game. Whatever the case may be, perhaps you have a valid point. Webster’s defines the act of sedition as “rebellion or incitement: actions or words intended to provoke or incite rebellion against government authority.” If what you are saying means that I am accused of opposing this current and criminal regime, and desperately hope for swift and drastic change, well…at least you used the word right.

When I joined the United States Army I swore an oath to “serve and protect the Constitution of the United States”, not an ignorant greedy little fuck like George Bush or any of his court jesters in the White House. And by writing and speaking against his policies and his war and his grossly high death tolls, I know in my heart that I am still, to this day, fighting to protect all the constitutional rights that his administration is robbing from us everyday.

So where do you fit in as a soldier in the United States military? Are you just a hired gun, a hit man, robbing profit and power from impoverished third world countries? How can you sleep at night knowing that perhaps a stray bullet fired from your gun blew the brains out of an innocent baby or mother only a few clay buildings away? Do you call that war? Do you call that right? If you can disprove the experiences that I have shared with readers of this site, than do it. I fucking dare you. Because I know what I have said at times can be emotional or raw, but it is always right and true. If you are too ignorant or blind to see the realities of this war, there may still be some hope left for you to learn. If you honestly support the decisions of your officers and your commander-in-chief, than you honestly support the war that has killed over one hundred thousand innocent Iraqi civilians and almost two-thousand fellow soldiers. If it is this illegitimate war and death that you honestly support, than I feel sorry for you, for you are surely no better than the criminals in the White House who are truly responsible for holding the smoking gun.

And to try to discredit me as a “scumbag pogue” who never saw combat will do you no good. I was a 19 delta reconnaissance scout in a cavalry scout platoon, a combat MOS that not one of you automated brainwashed grunts can deny. My job was no different than yours in many ways. If you even bothered to read the rest of this website you would surely understand that the authors of this site have seen our fair share. We didn’t just pull this out of our collective asses, we actually experienced it. Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And unlike you, not every soldier in Iraq is proud of the blood on his hands.

I hope someday you find solace for the orders you have had to execute, for the carnage you helped take part in, and for the pride you wear supporting this bloodbath. Until then, you can only hope for an epiphany, something that stands out as completely immoral, that convinces you of the inhumanity of this war. I don’t know how much more proof you need. The criminal outrage of Abu Gharib, the absolute massacre of Fallujah, the stray .50 caliber bullets or 40 millimeter grenades or tank rounds fired in highly packed urban areas, five hundred pound bombs dropped on innocent homes, the use of 25 millimeter depleted uranium rounds, the inhumane use of white phosphorus, the hate and the blood and the misunderstandings…this is the war and the system that you support. If you choose to be that programmed automaton that will follow along in this debacle like a lemming off a cliff, than the real pity should be on you.

J.D. Engelhardt
aka: hEkLe

posted by E-4 Mafia at 8:49 PM 131 comments  
Monday, August 22, 2005
Every morning I wake up and follow at least one routine that I will carry out for the rest of my life. I look into the mirror and see an average guy with a turbulent past and an uncertain future.

I see my flowing brown hair growing longer everyday and a reddish brown beard that has now consumed my entire face.

I see dark circles under my bloodshot blue eyes and wrinkles from at least four years of undue stress. I have just turned twenty-five but I feel as though I’m forty. If experts say that smoking tobacco will add ten years to your life, I wonder what they would say about military service.

I see a new person, one that I never thought I would meet, one that I never knew could possibly exist, but there he stares at me in the mirror. Not so much a stranger, but completely different that I would have ever imagined.

Everyday I see myself in the mirror and am reminded of the new person who stares back. A new me, a refined me. A happy and optimistic me. A fresh mold, a new start. Things will be better now, for I am free and very gratefully alive. The future seems so bright and pure now compared to where I was only a few short months ago. I am in control of my own life once again. I have embraced this new unknown with open arms, waiting to challenge any obstacle that is thrown in my face. I know this new path in life will not be easy, but I will proudly assume responsibility for all my future accomplishments and failures.

As I walk from my home and stroll through the streets, I hit the ground running. New and exciting possibilities loom around every corner. Everywhere I look I see people running to and fro, consumed by their worldly responsibilities. Running errands, heading to work, earning money, spending money. So much to do, and yet I drift through the madness like a ghost. I know I have responsibilities of my own, but they no longer seem to anchor me down like the ball and chain that was my past.

Because I can, I walk into a tavern for an afternoon beverage. “Long island ice teas taste better in Europe,” I think to myself, noticing that almost every cocktail I’ve had in my hometown seem to be watered down. No matter, though. Its just that Europeans have better taste concerning the finer things in life, such as an afternoon head-change. Its not America’s fault. We’re simply a very young nation and have not yet learned to perfect the Art of Living like that of our ancestral neighbors across the Atlantic Ocean. But then again, they are not so big on watching televisions in their pubs, and as I stare across the gray sunlight room, I notice a enormously looming and mind numbing television perched high in the corner.

The few customers in the vicinity of this Electric Fix seem to be watching the broadcast, but I can clearly see that they are not. They have the look of a deer in the halogen headlights of an oncoming vehicle. No reaction of danger or panic, but rather no emotion at all. Completely transfixed by the meaningless visions of commercial advertisements, muted on the big box, emitting no sound at all. In the whole of the land, its just them and the flashy images that fall upon deaf ears.

Within seconds this senseless barrage of consumerism turns to news updates on the channel that broadcasts CNN. A reporter behind a sleek studio desk is moving her mouth, but nothing is said. At first it seems unclear what is being discussed, but in no time another little TV pops up behind and to the right of this talking head, and the theme of the moment is suddenly clear. As the program transcends from the reporter at her desk to actual media footage, it becomes starkly obvious what is going on in that flat screened box. Apparently the war is still happening in Iraq, and wouldn’t you believe that its getting worse.

The images I see perturb me. The feeling is not so much fear as it is uncomfortable distress. Because while most people only see car bombs and explosions and American soldiers running frantically to contain “the situation” on a muted television screen, I see it in real life. I actually hear the booms and bangs of insurgent bombs, and the crackling of machine gun fire, and the hysterical shouting of frightened Iraqi civilians. I can hear a military radio asking for reinforcements, and I can hear the diesel engines of real humvees racing to the scene. I can hear the cocking of M-16’s and orders being shouted to scan for hidden enemy targets. There may not be any sound emitting from the television, but I can hear it, I can smell it, and I can feel it. I know what it is, because not too long ago I was there.

At times it feels as though many years have passed. Weeks go by so fast in my new civilian life that I don’t even realize that it was only five months ago when I was counting days to escape the suffocating madness of Operation Iraqi Freedom II (It Looks Good On Paper). But it doesn’t mean I have forgotten about it. On the contrary, I think about this meaningless war everyday. I can’t hide from the soldier I once was much like I will never be able to bury the memories of one year in combat. Whenever I glance at war coverage on a television, or hear the ignorant hate-talk of our blood mongering president, or read the latest death tolls in the news papers my eyes fill with rage and my heart fills with sorrow. It is impossible for me to ignore what is going on in Iraq when I am constantly reminded of the death and carnage, as well as my participation in the war machine. Some people boast the war chant “never forget”. Well, I never do.

There is nothing that I feel can alleviate the guilt for being directly involved with our illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq. I ask myself from time to time, “Why was I so afraid to resist the order to go to war? Why didn’t I object to the whole damned thing?” I have been told many times not to be ashamed for my service to this country, but I can’t help a genuine intuition that this war is not designed to promote freedom and our beautiful American way of life, but instead only carried out to proliferate Western imperialism and corporate profits every time a bullet is fired. My guilt is synonymous with the sentiment that I was indeed on the wrong side of the wire.

I know that many Americans are completely unaware of what damage our military is wreaking not only in Iraq, but also on our homeland security. An estimated 100,000+ of innocent Iraqi civilians have perished due to gross negligence at the hand of the US military. Not a single day goes by without a non-combatant man, woman or child being slain due to stray bullets, wildly aimed mortar or rocket rounds, or the use of massively destructive air deployed warheads in urban areas. And as this unjustified war continues to rage with no end in sight, the anti-American sentiment across the world continues to escalate enormously. While in Iraq, I never once saw a terrorist with extreme inclinations for senseless bloodshed, but only angry farmers and shop keepers who for one reason or another wish to end our empirical domination over their homeland. What I saw was an honest insurrection fought by average citizens, a perfect guerrilla war ran by no centralized leadership and with the potential to overcome any obstacle furnished by the conventional coalition forces. By any sensible logic, fighting terrorism with war is only counter-productive and in the long run only adds fuel to the fire. With every insurgent we kill, five more stand in his place. One has to ask how this illegitimate attack on innocent citizens is keeping Americans both at home or abroad safe from the perils of a desperate terrorist attack. One thing that I learned in this war was that the Iraqis are people like you or me. They want the very same things out of life as anyone else in the world. Like everyone, they wish only to raise their families and be merry with friends and enjoy life for all that its worth in a peace and harmony that everyone deserves. But the hardest aspect of this lesson rests in the knowledge that every time a child is murdered, a terrorist is born.

Upon returning to the United States I began to feel isolated and alone in many ways. I felt that what I did in Iraq was an enormous crime to the people of Iraq and a great dishonor upon myself and my family. While I was in combat I wrote on this blog site not only to give people a different perspective on the war in Iraq, but also for my own therapeutic reasons. It was a great relief to be able to express my opinions on the matter and hopefully help to spread the awareness that what was being done in the Bush administration’s interests was a great crime against humanity. I thought by writing about my experiences I could do some little bit of good from within the war machine. However, once I returned back to a normal society I felt as though my story was done and finished. I felt that no one really wanted to hear what I had to say anymore and besides, given the jingoistic sentiments being shared all over the country, it seemed that nobody cared anyways.

However, during a conversation I held with a Vietnam veteran who was hitchhiking, I was enlightened to an opinion that this fellow expressed to me in regards to what he felt needed to be done not only in his time, but also in mine. He told me that the most important thing to do now that I have returned home was to speak openly about the war any chance I could get. He told me to grab anyone I can get my hands on and tell that person about the war and make that person understand. The only way to end this vicious melee is to spread the awareness to the public, and only then will we as a people begin to take the power back. All this made perfect sense to me, and at that moment I realized that the veterans of the Iraq war have a huge responsibility to convey our experiences to those who are blinded, show them the truth of this ugly debacle and collectively end this war.

Since then I have become heavily involved in what some would consider to be the “peace movement”. Not only do I share my stories with friends and family and strangers I meet in social situations, but I have also met other veterans who have returned who are not happy with the current administration’s gross belligerence in dealing with our country. I have joined forces with the Veterans For Peace and Iraqi Veterans Against War and met with them at a conference in Dallas, Texas to discuss plans on how to strengthen the antiwar movement. We even went to Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas to help Cindy Sheehan establish a peace camp in hopes of meeting Bush, Jr. to ask him a few simple questions. The whole Texas experience was amazing and I really felt that not only did I meet a huge amount of brilliant minds, but also had the pleasure of joining forces with good people and great allies.

I’ve had an extremely busy month traveling with friends and meeting new people who are dedicated to reverse the neo conservative trend happening in this country. In fact, very seldom do I meet anyone who agrees with this madness taking place in our society. Just last weekend I had the privilege of meeting many great individuals at the Hunter S. Thompson memorial in Woody Creek, Colorado. We all had a great time there paying our respects to the late Doctor of Journalism, talking about literature and music and media control and the war and politics all day long until the point when the Doc’s ashes were shot in a great display of pyrotechnics and dispersed across his beautiful Rocky mountain homestead. Rest In Peace, Hunter!

(To all the wonderful people I met this month in Dallas and in Woody Creek, a huge debt of gratitude for your hospitality and for sharing a great sense of solidarity. You all have taught me a very inspirational lesson this month, being that in these ominous times, WE ARE EVERYWHERE!)

So I suppose things are looking brighter everyday, although the proof may not be so obvious at the moment. I get the feeling that with every passing moment the great Pendulum of Fate is starting to swing back to the left. More and more people are becoming aware that we are being conned and fooled into believing the deranged lies of crooks and criminals in Washington, DC. There seems to be less support in taking the lives of innocent Iraqis and having the blood of brave American soldiers calculated into the prices at the gas pumps. I still firmly believe that progressive change cannot happen until we hit rock bottom, and although it potentially can get much worse, I can’t see all the good people in the world allowing it to happen.

As incredibly bad as the army can be at times, it did teach me some very valuable lessons. One is that just because someone with authority is “in charge”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that person is Right, or even a Good person. Not every order handed down is based off of good moral pretexts, and many times the outcome of immoral orders makes the situation as a whole much worse. Eventually common sense, self respect, and real honor for first-rate decency must prevail. Whether you are subjected to the draconian structure of the military or that of our pernicious government, honest dissidence should always remain constant. In the words of the wise Timothy Leary, “ Think for yourself; question authority.”

I would like to say that this will be my last entry on Fight To Survive, but somehow I don’t think it will. My involvement in the Iraq war is over and done, but my experience there is something that I will live with and work through for the rest of my life. I will carry the shame and degradation of probably every soldier who is forced to fight against his common man and against his will, but I shall not let these burdens drag me down. My goal from now on is to overcome the adversity of violence and decadence that is so prevalent in our society. The weapons I choose to fight this battle are communication, peaceful resolution, and complete understanding. The war is now on all fronts, and for me the real war is ending the one in Iraq. I feel I owe it to the victims of this horrible conflict, both the freedom fighters and innocent families on both sides of the spectrum. I simply cannot sit down and allow greed mongers and war hawks to run our countries and govern our lives any longer. I have decided to do my share, collectively with others, to bring this tyrannical administration to its knees through words and acts of civil disobedience. If we allow the bastards to take a little more, soon enough they will have it all. The time has come to stop the madness.

To the many readers of our blogsite I give you my total and sincere appreciation. When I started writing from Iraq I never thought that anyone would care enough to hear from just another soldier. I was soon proven wrong. Your positive insight and support were a huge inspiration for our writing, even after the command ordered us to stand down. We have always felt that the supportive readers of this site were more than friends but trusted allies as well, and we thank you very much.

Until Freedom Forever!

aka hEkLe
(former) Specialist, 1st Infantry Division, US Army

posted by E-4 Mafia at 11:45 PM 60 comments  
Thursday, June 23, 2005

June 22, 2005 By DAVID S. CLOUD, New York Times

WASHINGTON, June 21 - American casualties from bomb attacks in Iraq have reached new heights in the last two months as insurgents have begun to deploy devices that leave armored vehicles increasingly vulnerable, according to military records.

Last month there were about 700 attacks against American forces using so-called improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.'s, the highest number since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the American military command in Iraq and a senior Pentagon military official.

The surge in attacks, the officials say, has coincided with the appearance of significant advancements in bomb design, including the use of "shaped" charges that concentrate the blast and give it a better chance of penetrating armored vehicles, causing higher casualties.

Another change, a senior military officer said, has been the detonation of explosives by infrared lasers, an innovation aimed at bypassing electronic jammers used to block radio-wave detonators.

Most likely, this little bit of precious information was overlooked as just another article concerning the ever present droll of “The War Against Terrorism” in Iraq. Unfortunately, what is said here not only proves the presence of a growing insurgency in Iraq opposed to Coalition Forces, but more importantly displays the insurgency’s increasing ability to improve techniques needed to kill American soldiers.

I am no longer a soldier in the United States army, and I am no longer fighting this useless war in Iraq. However, not too long ago I was there, and ever day I could not help to notice just how potentially fatal operating in a combat zone really is, regardless of how much fancy equipment or impenetrable armor you are surrounded by. The bottom line is this: As we continue to fight dedicated guerrilla warriors, a growing number of Americans keep dying in vain.

When my unit first arrived to Iraq in early 2004, we began by conducting missions in scantily armored, much dated and pathetic humvee trucks. Our doors were made of plastic, and a well lofted stone could shatter our windows. A stray bullet had the potential to pierce anywhere on the truck, leaving us very concerned about how well our trucks would hold up against the insurgency’s favorite means of destruction, the roadside bomb, or the Improvised Explosive Devise (I.E.D).

Finally the day came when we were given heavily armored trucks to do our fighting in. The arrival of these brand new, state-of-the-art trucks was perceived by many as a God-send. To be able to sit in a truck feeling fairly confident that a bomb could do you no harm was indeed a wonderful feeling. This was very important to many soldiers I knew, as we were not too keen on getting killed for some bullshit reason.

In time, at any given location in our sector, an armored truck was hit almost everyday. The well hidden bombs dug into the road would completely fold the eight inch thick door and splinter the glass of the window like a glittering spider web. But in most cases, the soldiers within would survive relatively unharmed. As a gunner on a truck, this was the only solace I had.

The only fear that crossed our minds was that of the shape-charge. As mentioned in the above article, a shape-charge serves as a huge loaded shotgun buried in the ground just waiting to destroy whatever stands in its blast. The shape-charge is no new technology, as it has been used many times in many other wars. We knew about then, and we know about it now. Many times, we attended classes and briefs learning to how to identify a shape-charge and understanding the gruesome details of how it worked. Once we were told that shape-charges were becoming quite popular in Baghdad. With one blast from this horrible bomb, we were told, a whole truck crew was slain as the explosion penetrated through one door and out the other, bringing with it nails and jagged pieces of the mortar round needed for the explosion.

This ominous briefing was concluded as the commander told us, “Make no mistake about it, this particular brand of IED can cut through an Up-Armor truck like a hot knife through butter.”

During the year that I was in Iraq, many soldiers were permanently injured or killed by a variety of insurgent attacks. Although it was quite common to be shot at by small arms fire or rocket-propelled grenades, the most popular menaces were car bombs and IED’s. Throughout our rotation, we were seeing the insurgency using more elaborate means of planning attacks, of hiding bombs, and packing more and more destructive power into an explosion. Likewise, our US forces attempted to stay one step ahead of the insurgents with our own assorted tactics. These included night raids on suspected bomb factories, staggered truck formations speeding mercilessly down city streets, or gunners attentively manning machine guns with the intent to kill. In the end, all we learned was that if a guerrilla fighter wanted to hit you, he would. We conducted patrols through the streets of Iraq much like moving paper-ducks at a carnival game. We would never see the first attack coming, but we held onto our belief that if we were nestled safely within an Up-Armor humvee, we could at least stand a chance.

The growing and adapting cleverness of the insurgency and their advanced means of bomb making have blown the Up-Armor theory out of the water.

This war has always been, and always will be, nothing more than a tug of war between both sides. The sad truth is that the insurgency usually beats US forces to the punch with more ingenious ways of killing our soldiers. Sadder still is that our military’s tactics seldom change until enough soldiers have been killed to make such changes necessary. The shape-charge IED confirms this theory, as we’ve known about its devastating effects and its usefulness for the insurgency for quite some time now.

A simple formula concerning guerrilla warfare always states that as long as the motivation for resistance remains strong, the ill-equipped and much deprived guerrilla fighters will continue in their endeavors, constantly surprising the occupying force with new tactics and amazing resiliency.

It is yet to be seen how advanced this Iraqi insurgency will become in the near future. Only through morbid statistics and a growing number of flag-draped coffins will the analysts in Washington be able to tell.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 12:57 PM 22 comments  
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Three weeks ago, amidst a perfect evening at a quiet local pub, Heretic, hEkle, and Joe Public received a telephone call from a true ally at www.socialistworker.org in regards to a loose ended, recorded phone interview about their time in Iraq.

Some of the questions were difficult to field considering the restrictions on a GI’s freedom of speech, but in the long run the results turned out to be exactly what both Socialist Worker and Fight To Survive had hoped for.

Here’s that interview…

Antiwar soldiers speak out:
“The situation in Iraq is getting worse every day”
May 6, 2005

FOR U.S. troops in Iraq who oppose the war for oil and empire they were sent to fight, speaking out can be dangerous. But three soldiers--whose pen names are hEkLe, Heretic and Joe Public--found that their consciences made it more difficult not to speak out.

Each spent about a year in Iraq. Throughout their tours, they earned a reputation for reporting the truth--on their Web log at ftssoldier.blogspot.com--about what was taking place in occupied Iraq. Their dispatches have also been featured in Thomas Barton’s GI Special, a daily Internet newsletter for soldiers and military families, available on the Web at www.militaryproject.org.

In mid-April, hEkLe, Heretic and Joe Public spoke to Socialist Worker’s ERIC RUDER about their experiences, observations and opinions of the U.S. occupation. Here, we print excerpts of the conversation.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WHAT DO you think about morale in the military?

WHILE WE were in Iraq, it was pretty low. It depends on what camp or operating base you were at. If you are at a place where you didn’t go out on missions, but stayed on and provided support for others, morale was higher, because they weren’t seeing the shit. Battalions that were going out every day and doing missions--their morale was pretty low.

You’re crammed into a 15-by-20-foot aluminum box with two other roommates--plus the heat, plus the miserable conditions, plus bad food for a whole year. You add it all up, and morale gets pretty low.

I saw the military bring in reporters who they knew would tell a picture-perfect story. They wouldn’t talk to reporters who might tell it how it is. The soldiers they interviewed all gave the Army hoo-hah. Low morale never got out to the public.

A lot of soldiers coming back now are starting to realize that they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the things you’ve seen start to creep back up on you. Whatever you had growing in you--bottled up all year long--is starting to come out now. It’s going to be really interesting to see how guys react to this now that they’re back in the real world.

SOME PRESS reports acknowledge that the Army and National Guard are missing their recruitment quotas, and that a small number of soldiers has refused to re-deploy to Iraq. What’s happening among soldiers in Iraq?

I KNOW a lot of people who say they’re never going back. The three of us agree that we’re never going back.

There are people who have re-enlisted while they’re in Iraq. There are a lot of people in the Army who came from poor families. They join the Army, and the government feeds them and clothes them and takes care of their families. All they have to do is go out and kill for a year. They’re not afraid to sacrifice that comfort level.

The number of resisters in the ranks is still very, very low. It’s going to take time before they realize that the war isn’t right--that it’s wrong. There are definitely some resisters, but not as many as the antiwar movement would like to see.

CAN YOU talk about life as a U.S. soldier in Iraq?

YOU WORK every day, and your mission could stay the same or change greatly, depending on where you’re at, or what you’re doing. My mission was pretty monotonous, but it always involved going “beyond sector,” and coming in at night and trying to regroup your thoughts.

A lot of times nothing happened. We’d go out, get a lot of ugly looks and come back home. But at least once or twice a month, there’d be something that was really disturbing--something that would really just make you sit down and think for a while.

Going out every day and doing what you’re told is your mission, and then coming back and waiting for the clock to run down every day for a year--it gets very tedious and stressful. You don’t even realize how stressful it is until you’re back, and you’re in normal society. It was a long year of my life, but at the same time, it flashed right by because of the amount of work that we were doing.

CAN YOU describe life for average Iraqis?

WHERE WE were, there were many peasant farmers and small shopkeepers. Many didn’t want anything to do with the violence, but they didn’t sympathize with American forces either, which only helps the insurgency. Stuff like car bombs at Iraqi police checkpoints didn’t faze the people--it was just more violence added on. You could see in their eyes--they were just getting tired of the violence.

We were there for a year, and nothing changed--nothing was solved. And I don’t imagine anything is being accomplished now, as we speak. There’s a lot of poverty, roads need repairs, street lights need repairs. A lot of people didn’t have electricity or running water. These are things we promised them when we came in, and nothing is getting solved. A lot of the reason is because we’re too busy trying to hold down this insurgency that’s not dying out, and seems to be getting stronger.

WHAT KIND of pressure did you face for opposing the occupation?

IF YOU’RE a soldier that your chain of command recognizes as a resister--a peace-freak, somebody that doesn’t like the Army--you have an enemy on both sides of the wire.

The three of us have been labeled “shit bags” by the Army--that’s what they like to call people like us because they don’t like what we believe in. They don’t like the way we see things, and we’re pretty vocal about it. The chain of command can make it very hard on a soldier who constantly says, “This is fucked up, this is wrong,” or just generally dismisses a lot of what the Army thinks is important.

I was really stressed out that I could go out and die--or I could get court-martialed and sent to jail because I said some bad things about George W. Bush and the war. So it felt like I had an enemy on both sides. There are people trying to fuck me in the camp and my chain of command--and then there are insurgents out to kill me on the outside.

The chain of command creates stress. And outside of the wire, you had to deal with blown-up bodies. Car bombs that killed innocent civilians. A little girl’s pink sandals smoldering on the side of the road. A guy’s face in a watermelon after a watermelon truck full of explosives blew up and killed Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint. U.S. soldiers dying in Bradley tanks.

You deal with that kind of shit for a year, and you recognize it as disturbing and gross. But when you get back and start thinking about it, all of a sudden it becomes much more horrific, much more painful. All this creates a classic diagnosis of PTSD--general depression for no reason, problems concentrating and remembering little details. You don’t even know what’s affecting you. It parallels a lot of the traumas associated with victims of abuse.

A lot of it boils down to guilt. That’s what I feel for the people I killed out there and the stuff that I saw--just knowing what you’re doing is wrong. All of these guilty feelings bottle up and explode in moments.

Patriotism in itself isn’t wrong, but overzealous patriotism and overzealous nationalism isn’t right. The public’s own inability to see its nationalistic fervor is what’s actually hindering people from seeing the overall picture. If they can try to understand it through the eyes and from the shoes of the Iraqis, they can understand that war is shit, and it’s not accomplishing anything. It’s hard for an American to say that war is wrong when all they’re given is a patriotic shot in the ass about it.

Of all the casualties, almost 50 percent are women and children. How is this right? How is this war justified? How is it correct? How is it even helping our country? War is wrong.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Joe Public
HOW DO you think the war and occupation are viewed by most people in the U.S.?

I BELIEVE that the current climate in which people are seen as unpatriotic if they refuse to support the nation is something that parallels the nationalism that happened in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. Being called “unpatriotic” because you refuse to support your government is not something that someone should be subjected to.

In the media, there’s a one-sided representation of the war that corresponds to what the U.S. government is attempting to put forward. As such, the feelings of the soldier and also of the Iraqi national are not being represented, because the U.S. government has such control over the media.

What’s taking hold in Iraq is not “democracy.” It’s just our own fascist tendencies, to be quite honest. I think that forcing our own notion of government into power and forcing our beliefs on these people is not what should happen.

And the power mongers in Iraq--the people who know that if they take power now, they’ll be able to maintain power for 30 years--they’re the ones at the forefront of this government. Throughout all of it, America has backed them, because no matter what, as long as we can install our government within their system, we’re going to be able to get that 20 cents off every dollar at the gas pump.

WHAT SHOULD people know in order to fill in the blanks in the media’s account?

IT’S NOT that people ignore the story of the common soldier. It just happens to be that the common soldier is so brainwashed at this point that they’re more than willing to give the story that the government wants everyone else to hear--which is why our Web site or other similar sources stand out.

They’re taking a kid who is 17--whose mom had to sign a waiver--and putting him through basic training. Now he’s 19, he’s going to war and he doesn’t know anything else, aside from his mother and the Army. You take this kid and put him in a situation like this, and he has no choice but to comply with the ideas that have been given to him. It’s the lack of outside ideas within the Army itself that leads to this kind of general malaise.

The overwhelming hatred for Islam is, I believe, pure bigotry on the part of the U.S. government, and I refuse to accept that. I myself am an atheist, and I believe placing one person’s god over someone else’s is inherently wrong. I believe that racial bigotry and religious bigotry permeates this entire war and is played out through the media every night. These are inherent wrongs in the system.

Everyone’s path to the divine is their own choice, and to say that your path to the divine is wrong because your god doesn’t comply with my god’s needs is nonsense. Hatred is only hatred--it doesn’t matter where you find it or how you find it.

Racism is just inherent to the system. You go out there every day, and you’re going to kill “sand niggers.” You look at these people as animals, because that’s how they’re treated by the military and that’s how you’re taught to view their lifestyle.

I don’t believe that all commanders inherently believe that the people they’re fighting are racially or culturally inferior. But up high, most of these people are officers because that’s the career they chose. And because of their “career path,” they have no other choice but to believe that these people are inferior to them; that they are subservient; and that our mission is to make them fall in line with “American democracy.”

WHAT IMPACT has the war had on you personally?

I grew up in a PTSD household. My mom was married to a Hell’s Angel who beat the shit out of her. Every time she heard a Harley, she’d cringe and crawl under the counter. That was just part of growing up. Now, here I am, and every time I hear a door slam, I’m going to fall on the floor. There’s nothing I can do about that.

The thing I’d like to bring up isn’t me or my friends, but the young soldier--the 17-year-old who joined the Army with his mom’s signature, who’s being forced to believe what the government believes, and who’s being mentally ripped from any cradle they could have had. They’re forced into this mentality where there is no evil except for the evil they’re fighting--because dehumanization of the enemy is the single thing anyone is taught. That was what Hitler taught. He’s pioneered the idea to teach to the lowest level, and in the American Army, everyone is taught at the lowest level.

People like us escaped the system because we were able to think for ourselves, outside of the system. But there are those who can’t, and here, they’re brainwashed and alone. Then come home, torn up, torn apart, hopeless. These are the people you hear about who are homeless, being just completely mind-fucked.

The American government has placed itself in a situation where it has irreconcilable differences with the enemy, and because of these irreconcilable differences, the enemy has no choice but to win--because the enemy can’t escape the war zone. And all we can do at this point is try to get through alive. It’s just straight out of Apocalypse Now. These soldiers only serve one year, but the soldiers on the other side have only one choice--their home has been invaded.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

IS THE best course for the U.S. to withdraw immediately?

THE SITUATION in Iraq is getting worse every day. The longer I was there, I saw more and more abuse of the Iraqi people by U.S. soldiers. I don’t think the problem is going to go away with force of arms. It’s obvious that the longer we stay there, we build more and more enemies throughout not only Iraq, but the entire world.

If we’re talking about “securing the nation” and what’s best for Americans, it’s obvious that the right thing to do is pull out. If we can get the United Nations or other more diplomatic solutions to the problem, that’s better, but immediate withdrawal is the first step in resolving this whole problem.

If you talk to Iraqis, the difference between the American occupation and Saddam Hussein is that Iraq is a less-safe environment with the Americans there. We get attacked constantly, and the victims of those attacks are usually Iraqis, not Americans--through collateral damage.

Saddam Hussein had a dictatorship, but now, Iraqis are getting pulled over on the road and hijacked, and there are more gangs, more rapes, more murder. It’s not safe to walk the streets at night for Iraqis. They’re either going to get shot by an American or held up by an insurgent.

All they want is for the Americans to leave so they can solve their own problems.

People in America and the rest of the world were lied to at least four times to bring on this war. Obviously, the weapons of mass destruction issue is a farce--there are no weapons of mass destruction. In fact, in my opinion, the only reason we went is because we knew for certain they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.

IN OTHER words, the U.S. invaded because it figured Iraq couldn’t retaliate with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

WAR IS money. If we went in and Iraq retaliated with nuclear arms, I think that would reflect very badly on the Bush administration, which is a lot more intelligent than the average American thinks. If the reasons we went in are exposed as false, then obviously, they’re not the true reasons that the administration had for going in.

I think in many ways that the U.S. has succeeded with the Iraq mission. It’s just that the American people don’t understand or believe what the true goals of the Bush administration were.

After the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq’s army was run down, there was horrible training, equipment was depleted. Basically, the military was crumbing. And chemical and biological weapon toxins have a certain shelf life. So any chemicals that Iraq had before the war would have been mostly useless by the time the weapons inspectors arrived a few years ago.

The idea that there was an immediate threat of a nuclear attack is ridiculous. We had a no-fly zone over Iraq, so to launch a ballistic missile, they would have had to set it up and prepare to launch it, without us attacking them and shooting it down. That’s ridiculous, considering we had been launching bombing missions since the 1991 war up to the second occupation of Iraq.

So it’s my belief that we attacked Iraq knowing that they didn’t have capabilities to release a nuclear weapon, or even a biological or chemical weapon against our troops.

Another lie we were told was that the war was waged to destroy Saddam Hussein and the Baathist regime. If that was our only goal, it’s obvious we completed it, and we still haven’t pulled out.

Another lie was the supposed al-Qaeda and 9/11 links to the Baathist regime. The 9/11 commission--made up of five Republicans and five Democrats--concluded that the evidence of this link was false.

The fourth lie is Iraqi freedom. In my opinion, we may have set up a constitution and had the first elections in Iraq, but I don’t think we’re going anywhere anytime soon. We’ve increased our building and construction on bases--the infrastructure for soldiers to get there and operate in Iraq is increasing every day. We’re spending billions of dollars to grow our bases and our military strength in Iraq, and there’s no sign that we’re going to pull out just because we “freed Iraq.”

Those are the four lies that soldiers and the public have been given to enter Iraq for unjust reasons. Gaining control of that nation, its oil and its people--even to create a capitalism there withh consumers in a whole new nation for products of the West--is definitely a major goal.

HOW DOES the military shape the attitudes of soldiers toward Iraqis?

IRAQ IS a really easy victim for the U.S. to inflict war on. Most people are afraid of what they don’t understand, and they attack what they’re afraid of. Arabic people--their culture, their language, their history, their way of life--are alien to the average person in the U.S. When a soldier gets thrown into that environment, there’s a lot of confusion there.

You go there with all these lies built up that you’re going to help these people, and they’re turning around and shooting at you. It doesn’t take long before the average American soldier is going to have prejudice against the Iraqi people.

Soldiers don’t understand why they’re there, they’ve got a bunch of people shooting at them, and they’re frustrated that they’re in the situation at all. And they don’t have the power to blame the right people--the people who are in charge--because soldiers can be brought up on disciplinary charges, kicked out of the military and sent to prison.

The only people left to hate are the Iraqi people, because soldiers are allowed to abuse them and shoot at them.

Every day, we see a man get pulled out of his car at a checkpoint, strip searched, thrown to the ground and abused by American soldiers. American soldiers are afraid of this man and afraid of car bombs, but meanwhile, this man is getting humiliated while his wife and children are watching from the car. That humiliation is occurring every day to the Iraqi people.

It’s hard to say that it’s the soldiers’ fault because we’re all victims of this war and thrown into this situation. Not a lot of people have an understanding of the big picture--to realize why the situation is affecting them the way that it is. So the average soldier takes out all that anger and aggression on the Iraqi people, especially after being there for a year, sometimes a year and a half--that’s far too long.

HOW HAVE you come to understand the Iraqi resistance?

I THINK that to lump all the resistance in Iraq together is ignorance. The complexity of the resistance goes far beyond one definition. There are many resistance fighters, and they all have their own goals. There are certainly warlords out there who are only out for a dollar, and to gain control or power.

But the average farmer in Iraq who’s resisting is grossly tired of the U.S. occupation. There are many different facets to the resistance--just as many different facets as there are in America. If you ask an average citizen why they support the war in Iraq, you’ll get a different reason from 100 people down the line. It’s the same in Iraq for people who resist.

To have compassion and understanding for all of them--that’s an alternate form of humanity. It can’t be seen as betrayal to the country to understand someone who’s in a difficult place. Just because there are two sides in a war, it doesn’t necessarily make one correct. I think that’s where Americans get derailed.

There are men over there who are cutting people’s heads off--that’s obviously wrong, and nobody’s going to support that. But what we’re doing over there is wrong in a lot of ways as well. So if someone feels sympathetic to the Iraqi people and some of the resisters, that doesn’t mean that they condone cutting people’s heads off.

I think there are two negatives in the whole soup. In the long run, we’re the ones that made the pre-emptive strike, and we’re the ones inside Iraq, so the logical solution and the cure to this problem is to leave Iraq. Then there won’t be any IEDs [improvised explosive devices] killing American soldiers, there won’t be any RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] attacks. There wouldn’t be people cutting off people’s heads if we weren’t in Iraq.

DO YOU think that the U.S. has an obligation to keep soldiers in Iraq in order to fix the problems that it created?

IN MY time in Iraq, I’ve seen more schools close than open. I’ve seen more roads explode in front of me than I’ve seen fixed. I’ve seen the infrastructure deteriorate every day that we’re there. We’re not solving the problem by having soldiers there on the ground. The way to solve the problem is instead of spending billions and billions of dollars on a military campaign on Iraq, maybe we should spend it in more diplomatic and helpful areas.

Staying there and trying to keep the peace is an oxymoron. We’re not there to create peace. We’re there creating war.

posted by E-4 Mafia at 1:58 PM 20 comments  
Sunday, February 20, 2005
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Somewhere on the forward operating base another trash fire was burning away at the random uselessness of one division leaving the Sunni Triangle and another one replacing it. The soot and ashes of the waste-consuming inferno fell from the sky like twisted feathers of charcoal. The scene resembled that of a post apocalyptic death rain, as if the whole world were caught on fire by the ravages of a gruesome war.

Of course, describing a storm of black ash from a nearby trash fire as “post apocalyptic” would certainly be an exaggeration in this case. But despite the ominous overtones of falling ash resembling the aftermath of some horribly destructive event, there is no “aftermath” about it. The war rages on, more or less, depending on how you look at it, or who you ask.

Some may notice that the TV media coverage of the War In Iraq seems somewhat lacking as of late. This, of course, was bound to happen. A news flash here and there. A scrolled sentence of morbid carnage depicting unknown deaths run across the screen, right under the daily stock market quotes, which seem to be slipping more everyday. A quick war update usually sums up “just another” car bomb and its devastating effects in under five seconds, which leaves plenty of time to get back to the hot gossip. A sexually attractive 30 year old school teacher sexually molesting a 13 year old sexually-inexperienced school boy and a deviously altered life for everyone is much healthier for American Morale than the stark realities of “the same old war”. Its not about The Truth anymore, its about entertainment. No one cares about what happens in Iraq because, quite frankly, its boring. Car bombs are no fun for anyone anymore. They usually only happen in some far away dysfunctional country, and they never really seem to amount to much more than a few dead people who probably had it coming anyways. The controversy of another dead American soldier or the demise of many faceless 3rd world indigents seems to be a mundane cliche. Besides, a government at war is always too much controversy for anyone to handle in these fast times of mall-madness hysteria.

One would think that Bells and Whistles would be screaming all over the world when the White House finally had to come out and admit that rumors of a New World Order were actually true. For two years the public had grown so accustomed to hearing about a rich boy’s oil war that when the schematics for bombing Iran were finally confirmed, no one seemed to notice. Its as if Iran and Iraq were so similar in spelling or geological proximity that all of a sudden a preemptive attack on another random country seemed to be about right. In fact, it seemed to be The Norm.

Bells and Whistles, indeed. But who was listening to the war drums when a major ground war started way back in 2003? No one except for greedy corporate profit-mongers and an entire world population of sensible, peace-minded adults. In the end the forces of tyranny got their way, and the antiwar majority went back to their work-a-day worlds to lick their wounds and hope for the best.

But doesn’t a preemptive attack on Iran all of a sudden look like Nazi Germany rolling into Poland on what they called a justified and entertaining “blitzkrieg”? No one stopped Crazy Adolf and his minion of “good ol’ boys” from crossing that line, and no one will stop our evangelical hero President George W. Bush when the time comes to teach some terrorists a valuable lesson in hegemonic warfare.

This is now the way of the world. There is no longer a war, just a long and annoying (sometimes boring) but always enduring maniacal process. The cute jargon of yesteryear’s Cold War is back with a festive sentiment: “Imminent threat”, “Domino Theory”, “Arms race”, “Nuclear annihilation”, “Peace, Freedom, and The American Way”. These theories seemed important during the most crucial moments of US and Soviet tensions, so why not today? Especially when a whole nation of Prozac poppin’, Bud Light drinkin’, fast food binging, TV zombie inner-child spoiled brats are fully convinced that Johnny Jihad and his Forty Thieves are to blame for every malicious evil that lurks on the opposite side of their one dimensional white picket electric fences. The War Process shall continue undisturbed, and a nation of frightened sheep will thank the Bush Dynasty ever-so-gratefully by showering them with high popularity ratings and excessive amounts of young blood to grease the gears of an important and necessary World Police Force.

At least the War against Communism had a respectable counter-culture committed to ending the senseless violence of their day. At a very critical moment, a whole generation of everyday people woke up from their dazed slumber to realize the jaded hypocrisy of the American Dream. They struck back at the “Masters of War” with an idea of peace and understanding. They conveyed the beauty of their vision to the masses through words and music, through non-violent protests and steadfast patience. A system of skeptical nay-sayers and conformed automatons attempted to slander their ways by insisting their “hippy-dippy bullshit” was a result of “communist and enemy infiltration”. However, the idea that the war could be over was a romantic concept, and while mind expanding experiences in the movement exposed the lies and degeneration proliferated by the elitists on top, a counter-culture gyrating around the ideas of peace and harmony proved to be more rational than the fruits of endless war could impossibly conceive.

What are we left with today? Where is our counter-culture headed? Is there a counter-culture at all? These will prove to be good questions when the War on Terror spreads like a plague to all corners of the globe. Statistics are showing that more and more college students are diving head first into the right wing side of politics. It seems to be no surprise that neoconservative republicans could be hailed as champions and heroes in these grizzly and menacing times. Blood lusting nationalism has taken a front seat to good morals and basic civil rights, and subservient patriotism is the new gauge of a devout and pious Good Citizen. Violence in America has become a way of life to the point where it seems to be the new religion. It dominates our airwaves, households, and social behaviors. In a society blinded to the realities of these perils, its no wonder that our addiction to war is so rampant, or that the maturing mind of a teenager would choose to play a blood-lusting shoot-em-up video game as opposed to indulging in the ideas of a Hemingway or Kurt Vonnegut novel.

So as the rain of ash continues to fall, it becomes quite evident that this storm’s menacing overtones are indeed a prophetic metaphor for our state of being in these dark times. Where the ashes fall are not secluded to this war in Iraq, but any place where the flames of apathy and destruction burn away what we have left of a human existence. When the ravages of war have incinerated all hope for a better tomorrow, the only direction for those smoldering hopes to fall are down to a barren wasteland. War has certainly evolved much from the early days of hand to hand combat into what we are faced with today: An omnipotent beast devouring all life everywhere and at once. Ironically, while technology and its ability to correct our dehibilitating mistakes has also evolved, our desire for compassion and understanding have definitely not. Because of our unwillingness to change the current pattern of mass destruction, this new process of conflict is not waged solely on an urban battlefield. This war on all fronts is fought everyday and in every aspect of your life: In your homes, in your neighborhoods, in your schools, and in your minds. In light of this insidious force, it would appear that the human race is certainly doomed. However, these machinations are simply a result of our own neglect to ourselves. The only way to prevent our doomed future is to understand it for what it is, our future.

During the insane climax of the Vietnam War, a leading spokesperson for the counterculture serenely stabbed at the heart of the vicious conundrum facing the world. John Lennon summed up humanity’s biggest problem, and its solution, with one simple revelation:
“War is over! If you want it.”


posted by E-4 Mafia at 1:45 AM 23 comments  
Thursday, February 10, 2005
dust and litter (one year lost)
litter and dust covered asphalt rolls underneath tires
city surrounding
uninspired sit dreaming awaiting days passage

one year gone since familiar surroundings
uncomfortable nights
thoughts echo
know life is wasted
yet time cannot pass as fast as needed
accept the loss as essential

survive the cold furrowed brows
childrens stares
lost hope
stay blank in expression
play dumb

sworn to protect betrayed

no rush from those outside to move those inside
no ease from the pain

crude for souls

god the same yet opposed
correct and protected by
infadels on both sides of the barrel

cold wind
gun in hand
rooftops hold ambush sought
slow rain
thunderclaps like rocket blast
self found facedown
overworked mind destroyed
like regimes

end never moving
always out of reach

thinner the line between all things

one day freedom
one day war
next day nothing
power is a whore
bought spread elite
disease infected
killing those below
no loss
kissed away
under flag
laid in grave

missed like a memory
soft prayers whispered to deaf ears
no higher power
than sins of man
amazing the animal made of those caged in conflict

soon more will follow cycle to begin again
more taught to hate

new hollow faces disgusted without trust
brown and white
like dust and litter
lost to time

-joe public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 1:36 AM 5 comments  
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Duffle Bags
Duffle Bags

As I leave my metal box, that I have called home for the last year, I carry two duffle bags. The first is full of the gear and clothing that has offered me survival and protection. The other bag is harder to see with the uncompassionate eye. I have filled the second with guilt. The shame for the part I have played in this campaign in Iraq. It is more useless then the first. However, it is a burden I must carry.

The ritual a soldier goes through to fill a duffle with the maximum amount of gear is a wrestling match. It took every trick in the book to fit all my soul debt into the long green bag. First I rolled everything tight and squeezed it down pinching and tucking to wedge it in. As it filled I punched the sides. I held the edges and smashed my foot into the opening. I dropped it again and again like packing cigarettes. After fitting all my bad karma inside I had to sit on it while pulling and straining to clip the top closed. Out of breath I finally collapsed on top of the bulging bundle.

The duffle will be dragged around with me perhaps for the rest of my life. From home to home. Town to town. Until I am to old to lift it. Then I will lay down beside the large duffle and crawl inside to die.

So when you see a soldier returning home with a duffle bag at a bus stop, an airport baggage claim, or being stuffed into a taxi, think about what is inside the bag. It might be rolled clothing of browns and tans. Or, it could be dark secrets that he will never reveal to his family.

The soldier will not put his burden upon you. But if you feel any responsibility for the weight of it you may carry it for a while if it would make you feel more decent. And if you forced him to open it perhaps every one can take a little with them to relieve the strain of those who served. It might be a reminder that we are all at fault for America’s role in the violence in the Middle-East. However, a soldier is trained to sacrifice. He will take the burden to the grave or make a grave out of it if he must.

The heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 4:32 PM 13 comments  
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Iraqi dirt is everywhere

in my boots and in my hair

the dark clay that soldiers keep

where they march and where they sleep

to prevent the ache in a mothers heart

white sand becomes penned pure art

we exaggerate and bring to light

when the gravel grains are colored bright

under wheels and under track

dirty bombs reality lacks

stuck to sweat under trigger finger nails

that itches and stings when a child wails

dirt so heavy that one can't hide

inside sand bags that divide the sides

turning to grime when it begins to rain

American pride turned to pain

Scandalous chit chat in day to day gossip

"those veterans are insane they really lost it"

closed minds, mass destruction of innocence

and truth gets a purple heart amidst all the ignorance

red white and blue covered in dust
the color of money, oil, and lust

soiled uniforms brown with taint

breathe uranium air contaminate

Jesus pimps our children like whores

like Uncle Sam's hate crimes that the family ignores

under patriot makeup is the garbage and filth

body bags filled with love, swept under the rug is guilt

scum put on sale, but they put us on trial

it's in our teeth when we bite and we smile

grease fed to the masses on the daily news

if the war never ends we'll never lose

we dig and dig, but they cover the hole

when we discover the truth we pay the toll

an unknown soldier in a shallow grave

burdened and battered and buried alive


posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:26 PM 2 comments  

The Winter Solstice is the period in a year in which the night is the longest. It was celebrated by pagans in a festival to convince the gods to turn the pendulum back towards light. They believed that without the holiday, nights would grow longer until there was no longer a day. Many of the ancient gods were said to have been born on this day. The holiday is seen a chance to make amends and invoke positive change in their lives. It was a time of hope and prayer.

The Guard Shack that I sit in is an old ammunition warehouse for the old Iraqi Army. Now it is filled wall to wall with cots and sleeping soldiers. It is drafty and has a thick carpet of dusty dirt. A few men are toying with electronic gizmos or listening to music that they received as Christmas gifts. I look at the calender on my watch and it is indeed Christmas Day. I realize now that since the first day of deployment I was celebrating like it were Christmas everyday. For today, was equally as depressing and miserable as the last ten months. There was a few presents I waited to open and a handful of cards and merry wishing e-mails that distinguished the Yule. Other than that, the dinning facility was offering a bit more than the usual scramble muck and mystery meat. However after the attack in Mosul, I decided to avoid the chow hall this holiday. I felt uncomfortable enough being forced to pack myself in with the rest of the soldiers unlucky enough to pull guard duty this holiday.

It wasn’t fate alone that landed me on the guard roster. I was hand picked after the Sergeants in my chain of command discovered that I wrote and posted letters with anti-war content. Despite just earning my Good Conduct Medal for serving three years of service without one negative mark on my record, and despite performing every combat mission in the last year with all the skill and discipline asked of a US Army sniper, I was removed from my section. Now ostracized and isolated, I carry out my new daily rut of protecting the camp perimeter and escorting Iraqi workers that have business inside the wire. I put it out of my mind for now and try to catch a few hours of sleep.

Later sometime in the early hours of morning while it is still dark and insanely cold, I stand in a small raised concrete pill box with sand bags stuffed along the walls. I have on every article of clothing the Army issued me, including my heavy ceramic plated vest and I twitch with the shivers. The arid soil in Iraq lets every once of the suns heat slip after the dark sets in. Just before the before dawn is always the worst penetrating chill.

Not much to look at on the horizon. I am positioned above a low wall. Beyond the sight post of my M4 carbine assault rifle are coils of razor wire, a deep canal ditch and more razor wire. Past that are muddy fields and the stench of the Third World. Packs of dogs can be heard in the distance. Howls of starving pain. Most the down trodden Iraqis howl with the same pain in their sleep. The are to dignified to show their hunger while awake. The locals all stay indoors at night in the winter. It is far to cold for their blood.

I watch my breathe vapor in the yellow perimeter lights. There is a soldier next to me the entire time who is barely noticeable. We are either to cold and miserable to talk, or have little to say. He is a new soldier to Iraq. A guardsman from Idaho just here for a few months to help out with the elections. Their year has just begun and I am sure he is learning how grueling the tour is going to be.

My thoughts are on home and how this last few months are going to be the longest yet. Time seems to slow down the closer you get to a date you have been waiting on for hundreds of days. German pubs and simple luxuries of the real world still keep their distance from reality.

Some how we endure the cold and boredom. Our relief arrives after four hours and the first words are spoken by my National Guard partner. He looks at me with the joy of a child waking up to a mountain of toys and says “Merry Christmas!”. I put my hand on his shoulder and reply “And a Happy New Year.” We both chuckle a bit at the sarcasm.

Peace On Earth And Good Will To Man
By Heretic,
Baquaba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:26 PM 14 comments  
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Interlude...I Hope
Several nights ago, I stood alone watching the waning moon rise wide and orange on the eastern horizon, attempting to find any shred of beauty in this less than attractive situation. Still cold underneath my helmet and body armor, I leaned against the recently erected twelve foot cement barrier that now surrounds the building in which I reside. A thin plume of smoke curled off my stale cigarette. I found no beauty.

Everyday someone asks me why I look so angry. Everyday I shrug and choke back the flow of venom that sits boiling in my throat. How to explain to those who enjoy this type of thing that I see them as the true enemies to what America should be. Of course, they see me the same way.

America is a nation that is infamous for protecting it’s interests, no matter where in the world they fall. Be it silencing the worker in Central or South America or freeing up a little oil here in the Middle East, the powers that be have us busy serving their interests while providing ample distraction from the realities of the situation.

Last word I received from hEkLe was to stay away from the site. Shit’s going down. They’re on to us. When I looked at the site for myself I saw that the last three posts had been pulled. I haven’t heard from him or The Heretic since. This was almost a week ago.

So, they’ve got us. One less problem now that this voice of free thought has been stamped out under the jackboot. Aren’t they so proud, strangling the hope of three soldiers. What the fuck, you know? I guess the voice of the soldier is that great a threat. But now, do they really expect us to stop? As long as we make it out, so do our stories...

I guess we’ll be taking a break for a little while. More soon. I hope.

Stop this war.

-joe public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:21 PM 28 comments  
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Us Versus Them

Us vs. Them

I am a manipulated stooge who sold his soul to exploit the ignorant with the proud lies our own leaders.

I am told on a regular basis “The Army is not like it used to be.” Most of the lifers think that the military lacks discipline and blame the new “Nintendo generation” soldiers for the weakness. However, I think a hard look should be given at the uses of America’s advanced military in the modern era. Do to the operations the military has been tasked in the last forty years the nobility of the professional soldier has been destroyed. From Vietnam to Iraq the Armed Forces has been a chess piece in a game for money and power by elite Americans. Back in the world wars the military represented every citizen’s will. Today the people are duped with lies and phoney values to support imperial progress.

Weapons of mass destruction, links to the two towers tragedy, and the ousting of an oppressive dictatorship are all bait for a revenge hungry over patriotic American. I doubt that the men in power are as incompetent as the world imagines. For that reason I dismiss the apparent failures in Iraq as not the true goals of this war. After these errors are eliminated you are left with the truth behind the media smoke screens. This war is about money. Most people believe that dollars are being handed over to Iraq to rebuild their country on the backs of the American tax payers and under the protection of US troops. However, the money never sees Iraq. It leaves your wallet and goes through the system in DC and ends up in a corporation with the sizeable government contract. Sure the product is a new road, a school house or AK-47s for the Iraqi National Guard, but the money is only making a rich man richer.

Even the soldiers are brain washed into hating the “rag heads”. I have overheard soldiers telling racist jokes like “Why do Iraqis smell so bad? So blind people can hate them too.” It becomes easy to hate the Arab people. We don’t understand their culture, their religion and their language. They are a poor people with a lesser quality of lifestyle and standard of living. The average soldier can not relate to living without electricity, plumbing, and toilet paper. If we see them as inferior it makes it easier to kill them. Just as one might kill a dog that digs through his trash. As a soldier gets into combat situations the prejudice grows as they blame every Middle-Easterner for the conflict. The Joes hate Iraqis because the command hypes about being in Iraqi to stabilize a democracy and fight terrorists on their own ground. The leadership never explains the fact that a majority of Iraqis don’t want a republic that is just a branch of the Western materialistic culture and that they see America as an tyrant equal to the fallen Saddam’s Baath Party. Most soldiers mistake the word insurgent to mean a person that is inserted. As if we are fighting men from other countries than Iraq. When, insurgent means rebel.

The common GI won’t investigate why the insurgent will sacrifice himself, because most soldiers would never do the same. But somewhere in the back of the GI’s mind he has a sense that what he is doing here is wrong. It gives him doubt and discourages his morale. The lifers hold on to the lies of the system because the truth would destroy the core of their beliefs. The fact that the stars and bars is only an illusion for the real power behind the throne could ruin their psyche and crash their egos. They will never let go of their pride and us it as an excuse to cover their fear.

A war backed by our nations cowards. What else would a preemptive strike be good for. Americans get so afraid they will kill in cold blood and thump their chests to claim it for a good cause. History is written by the victors and might makes right. After all is said and done it will go down that way in the books. We will kill communists, drug dealers and terrorists. Next will be homosexuals and atheists. Then full circle back to Jews and Blacks. Fear and prejudice is destructive and we dominate using it. Every country folds to American policies afraid their homes will become the next Baghdad. And, our leaders use media to force the United States people into anxiety using colored threat levels, video of violence, and worse case scenarios presented as emergency updates. We even had Colin Powell lie to the worlds most powerful council, the U.N., about Iraq’s malicious intent with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. America intimidates the world while calling the insurgent freedom fighters terrorists.

So Americans can’t let go of their fear. Like it is a security blanket from a childhood memory. Just as most people can’t relax their guard, in Nam lifers couldn’t relate to the men that was turned on to marijuana. To let your mind and body go and become open to the chaos of the world is impossible for a person who lives in constant fear of the unknown truth. Drug usage isn’t as much of a problem here in Iraq amongst the soldiers, yet. However with a draft, the inactive reserve and more stop-loss it won’t be long before more soldiers discover the potency of Arab hashish and opium based narcotics. There will be a division between lifers and the heads again. It has already started with the stop lossed soldier obviously not wanting to be in service any longer. Many of them get court marshaled or chaptered out with dishonorables saving the military from paying an already deserved Collage GI Bill and other veteran benefits. As war here in the middle-east gets more violent the soldiers will become less afraid of punishment. Prison will become a more sane option than trying to take Fallujah for the fourth time.

Most the soldiers I have talked to have joined for selfish reasons. They wanted money for collage, travel the world, get out of a dead end, avoid going to prison, or had no direction in life. The boys who joined up to defend the red white and blue are few and far between. I met some soldiers that were motivated by September 11th, but not many. It is a need in today’s society to find alternate advantages to enlist, and when kids learn what they really signed themselves up for it is a rude awakening. Many soldiers are counting down to their last day in the military from the first few hours at basic training.

For all these reasons, whether the G.I.s are conscience of it or not, the military personal have a decreased motivation and intensity. We fight for lies, are alienated by our chain of command and are only trying to ride out the clock until we can finish our contracts without losing what we have worked for or seeing the inside of a prison cell. The Armed Forces will never have a loyal troop base until it’s goals change. If there was something worth fighting for, something the common man can gain, rather than just being underpaid mercenaries for some elitist, then the soldiers would have more encouragement to join in work hard.

I myself find it difficult to have discipline in an Army full of ass kissing lying hypocrites who enforce a wicked US policy with a violent war I disagree with.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 10:24 AM 20 comments  
Friday, November 19, 2004
These are ugly times for the US military in Iraq. It seems everywhere you turn, more and more troops are being killed and maimed in vicious encounters with determined rebel fighters. The insurgency is mounting incredibly in such places as Baghdad, Mosul, and Baquba; using more advanced techniques and weaponry associated with a well-organized guerilla campaign. Even in the massively destroyed city of Falluja rebel forces are starting to reappear with a callous determination to win or die trying. Many critics and political pundits are starting to realize that this war is, in many aspects, un-winnable.

And why should anyone think that a complete victory is possible? Conventionally, our US forces win territory here or there, killing a plethora of civilians as well as insurgents with each new boundary conquered. However, such as the recent case in Falluja, the rebel fighters have returned like a swarm of angry hornets attacking with a vicious frenzy.

I was in Falluja during the last two days of the final assault. My mission was much different from that of the brave and weary infantry and marines involved in the major fighting. I was on an escort mission, accompanied by a squad who’s task it was to protect a high brass figure in the combat zone. This particularly arrogant officer went to the last battle in the same spirits of an impartial spectator checking out the fourth quarter of a high school football game. Once we got to the marine occupied Camp Falluja and saw artillery being fired into town, the man suddenly became desperate to play an active role in the battle that would render Falluja to ashes. It was already rumored that all he really wanted was his trigger time, perhaps to prove that he is the toughest cowboy west of the Euphrates. Guys like him are a dime a dozen in the army: a career soldier who spent the first twenty years of his service patrolling the Berlin Wall or guarding the DMZ between North and South Korea. This sort of brass may have been lucky to serve in the first Gulf War, but in all actuality spent very little time shooting rag heads. For these trigger-happy tough guys, the last two decades of cold war hostilities built into a war frenzy of stark emptiness, fizzling out almost completely with the Clinton administration. But this is the New War, a never ending, action packed “Red Scare” in which the communist threat of yesteryear was simply replaced with the white knuckled tension of today’s “War on Terrorism”. The younger soldiers who grew up in relatively peaceful times interpret the mentality of the careerists as one of making up for lost opportunities. To the elder generation of trigger pullers, this is the real deal; the chance to use all the cool toys and high speed training that has been stored away since the ‘70s for something tangibly useful…and its about goddamn time.

However, upon reaching the front lines, a safety standard was in effect stating that the urban combat was extremely intense. The lightest armored vehicles allowed in sector were Bradley tanks. Taking a glance at our armored humvees, this commander insisted that our section would be fine. Even though the armored humvees are very stout and nearly impenetrable against small arm fire, they usually don’t hold up well against rocket attacks and roadside bombs like a heavily armored tank will. The reports from within the war zone indicated heavy rocket attacks, with an armed insurgent waiting on every corner for a soft target such as trucks. In the end, the overzealous officer was urged not to infiltrate into sector with only three trucks, for it would be a death wish during those dangerous twilight hours. It was suggested that in the morning, after the air strikes were complete, he could move in and “inspect the damage”.

Even as the sun was setting over the hazy orange horizon, artillery was pounding away at the remaining twelve percent of the already devastated Falluja. Many units were pulled out for the evening in preparation of a full-scale air strike that was scheduled to last for up to twelve hours. Our squad was sitting on top of our parked humvees, manning the crew served machine guns and scanning the urban landscape for enemy activity. This was supposed to be a secured forward operating area, right on the edge of the combat zone. However, with no barbed wire perimeter set up and only a few scattered tanks serving as protection, one was under the assumption that if someone missed a minor detail while on guard, some serious shit could go down. One soldier informed me that only two nights prior an insurgent was caught sneaking around the bullet-ridden houses to our immediate west. He was armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, and was laying low on his advance towards the perimeter. One of the tanks spotted him through its night vision and hastily shot him into three pieces. Indeed, though it was safe enough to smoke a cigarette and relax, one had to remain diligently aware of his surroundings if he planned on making it through the night.

As the evening wore on and the artillery continued, a new gruesome roar filled the sky. The fighter jets were right on time and made their grand appearance with a series of massive air strikes. Between the pernicious bombs and fierce artillery, the sky seemed as though it were on fire for several minutes at a time. First you would see a blaze of light in the horizon, like lightning hitting a dynamite warehouse, and then hear the massive explosion that would turn your stomach, rattle your eyeballs, and compress itself deep within your lungs. Although these massive bombs were being dropped no further than one kilometer away, it felt like it was happening right in front of your face. At first, it was impossible not to flinch with each unexpected boom, but after scores of intense explosions, your senses became aware and complacent towards them.

At times the jets would scream menacingly low over the city and open fire with smaller missiles meant for extreme accuracy. This is what Top Gun, in all its glory and silver screen acclaim, seemed to be lacking in the movie’s high budget sound effects. These air-deployed missiles make a banshee-like squeal, sort of like a bottle rocket fueled with plutonium, and then suddenly would become inaudible. Seconds later, the colossal explosion would rip the sky open and hammer devastatingly into the ground, sending flames and debris pummeling into the air. And as always, the artillery—some rounds were high explosive, some were illumination rounds, some were reported as being white phosphorus (the modern day napalm). Occasionally, on the outskirts of the isolated impact area, you could hear tanks firing machine guns and blazing their cannons. It was amazing that anything could survive this deadly onslaught. Suddenly a transmition came over the radio approving the request for “bunker-busters”. Apparently, there were a handful of insurgent compounds that were impenetrable by artillery. At the time, I was unaware when these bunker-busters were deployed, but I was told later that the incredibly massive explosions were a direct result of these “final solution” type missiles.

I continued to watch the final assault on Falluja throughout the night from atop my humvee. It was interesting to scan the vast skies above with night vision goggles. Circling continuously overhead throughout the battle was an array of attack helicopters. The most devastating were the Cobras and Apaches with their chain gun missile launchers. Through the night vision I could see them hovering around the carnage, scanning the ground with an infrared spotlight that seemed to reach for miles. Once a target was identified, a rapid series of hollow blasts would echo through the skies, and from the ground came a “rat-a-tatting” of explosions, like a daisy chain of supercharged black cats during a Fourth of July barbeque. More artillery, more tanks, more machine gun fire, ominous death-dealing fighter planes terminating whole city blocks at a time…this wasn’t a war, it was a massacre!

As I look back on the air strikes that lasted well into the next morning, I cannot help but to be both amazed by our modern technology and disgusted by its means. It occurred to me many times during the siege that while the Falluja resistance was boldly fighting us with archaic weapons from the Cold War, we were soaring far above their heads dropping Thor’s fury with a destructive power and precision that may as well been nuclear. It was like the Iraqis were bringing a knife to a tank fight. And yet, the resistance toiled on, many fighting until their deaths. What determination! Some soldiers call them stupid for even thinking they have a chance in hell to defeat the strongest military in the world, but I call them brave. It’s not about fighting to win an immediate victory. And what is a conventional victory in a non-conventional war? It seems overwhelmingly obvious that this is no longer within the United States hands. We reduced Falluja to rubble. We claimed victory and told the world we held Falluja under total and complete control. Our military claimed very little civilian casualties and listed thousands of insurgents dead. CNN and Fox News harped and cheered on the television that the Battle of Falluja would go down in history as a complete success, and a testament to the United States’ supremacy on the modern battlefield. However, after the dust settled and generals sat in cozy offices smoking their victory cigars, the front lines in Falluja exploded again with indomitable mortar, rocket, and small arm attacks on US and coalition forces.

Recent reports indicate that many insurgents have resurfaced in the devastated city of Falluja. We had already claimed the situation under control, and were starting to turn our attention to the other problem city of Mosul. Suddenly we were backtracking our attention to Falluja. Did the Department of Defense and the national press lie to the public and claim another preemptive victory? Not necessarily so. Conventionally we won the battle, how could anyone argue that? We destroyed an entire city and killed thousands of its occupants. But the main issue that both the military and public forget to analyze is that this war, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is completely guerrilla.

Sometimes I wonder if the West Point graduated officers have ever studied the intricate simplicity and effectiveness of guerrilla warfare. During the course of this war, I have occasionally asked a random lieutenant or a captain if he at any time has even browsed through Che Guevara’s Guerrilla Warfare. Almost half of them admit that they have not. This I find to be amazing! Here we have many years of guerrilla warfare ahead of us and our military’s leadership seems dangerously unaware of what it all means!

Anyone can tell you that a guerrilla fighter is one who uses hit and run techniques to attempt a breakdown of a stronger conventional force. However, what is more important to a guerrilla campaign are the political forces that drive it. Throughout history, many guerrilla armies have been successful; our own country and its fight for independence cannot be excluded. We should have learned a lesson in guerrilla fighting with the Vietnam War only thirty years ago, but history has a funny way of repeating itself. The Vietnam War was a perfect example of how quick, deadly assaults on conventional troops over a long period of time can lead to an unpopular public view of the war, thus ending it.

Che Guevara stressed in his book Guerrilla Warfare that the most important factor in a guerrilla campaign is popular support. With that, victory is almost completely assured. The Iraqis already have many of the main ingredients of a successful insurrection. Not only do they have a seemingly endless supply of munitions and weapons, they have the advantage to blend into their environment, whether that environment is a crowded market place or a thickly vegetated palm grove. The Iraqi insurgent has utilized these advantages to the fullest, but his most important and relevant advantage is the popular support from his own countrymen.

What our military and government needs to realize is that every mistake we make is an advantage to the Iraqi insurrection. Every time an innocent man, woman or child is murdered in a military act, deliberate or not, the insurgent grows stronger. Even if an innocent civilian is slain at the hands of his/her own freedom fighter, that fighter is still viewed as a warrior of the people, while the occupying force will ultimately be blamed as the responsible perpetrator. Everything about this war is political…every ambush, every bombing, every death. When a coalition worker or soldier is abducted and executed, this only adds encouragement and justice to the dissident fervor of the Iraq public, while angering and demoralizing the occupier. Our own media will prove to be our downfall as well. Every time an atrocity is revealed through our news outlets, our grasp on this once secular nation slips away. As America grows increasingly disturbed by the images of carnage and violent death of her own sons in arms, its government loses the justification to continue the bloody debacle. Since all these traits are the conventional power’s unavoidable mistakes, the guerrilla campaign will surely succeed. In Iraq’s case, complete destruction of the United States military is impossible, but through perseverance the insurgency will drive us out. This will prove to be the inevitable outcome of the war.

We lost many soldiers in the final battle for Falluja, and many more were seriously wounded. It seems unfair that even after the devastation we wreaked on this city just to contain it, many more troops will die in vain to keep it that way. I saw the look in the eyes of a reconnaissance scout while I talked to him after the battle. His stories of gore and violent death were unnerving. The sacrifices that he and his whole platoon had made were infinite. They fought everyday with little or no sleep, very few breaks, and no hot meals. For obvious reasons, they never could manage to find time to email their mothers to let them know that everything turned out ok. Some of the members of his platoon will never get the chance to reassure their mothers, because now those soldiers are dead. The look in his eyes as he told some of the stories were deep and weary, even perturbed. He described in accurate detail how some enemy combatants were blown to pieces by army issued bazookas, some had their heads shot off by a 50 caliber bullet, others were run over by tanks as they stood defiantly in the narrow streets firing an AK-47. The soldier told me how one of his favorite sergeants died right in front of him. He was taking cover behind an alley wall and as he emerged to fire his M4 rifle, he was shot through the abdomen with a rocket-propelled grenade. The grenade itself exploded and sent shrapnel into the narrator’s leg. He showed me where a chunk of burned flesh was torn from his left thigh. He ended his conversation saying that he was just a dumb kid from California who never thought joining the army would send him straight to hell. He told me he was tired as fuck and wanted a shower. Then he slowly walked away, cradling a rifle under his arm.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 2:14 PM 34 comments  
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Almost to foreshadow the Judgment Day of November 2, 2004, a three-day rainstorm gruesomely interrupted the searing hot Arabian climate of central Iraq. In all actuality, the rains of late were a welcome change to the ever-monotonous arid heat and blinding summer sun that we have endured for over nine months. The dry powdery Iraqi “moon-dust” soon churned into soupy chocolate milk looking liquid. Eventually, whole areas of our camp looked like a swampy mud marsh. The cool wind blew in gusts of sprinkled rainwater, and even the few golden weeds seemed to reach up and soak in the moisture from above. The air had a taste of springtime freshness, but the steaming hot air swirled great winds of humidity against sticky skin. The desert rain was more than welcomed, but its timing was impeccably ironic. Jet black-menacing thunderclouds hung over the southern horizon as convoys of huge diesel trucks, tanks, armored humvees, and diligent soldiers with somber faces prepared to make their way to the battle torn city of Fallujah. Everyone was geared up and ready to go, just waiting for the order to seek and destroy. For many weeks our brigade’s assistance was desperately needed in Fallujah to counter the growing local popularity of the insurgency. The Pentagon told us to wait patiently for the assault, until after the Presidential elections were over. It was widely rumored that the President did not want to commit to a bloody debacle until he knew for sure he would remain our Commander In Chief. So with forty-eight hours remaining until the vote tally could be counted, the rains continued to soak into the already foreboding anxiety of the approaching combat mission to Fallujah.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004; 8:24pm…I will never forget this dark hour in history when I discovered that democratic candidate John Kerry conceded to defeat. Throughout the last remaining days of the election, I was having a very hard time gathering facts and updates on the progression of vote counts. I was too tied up with missions and combat patrols to actually sit down and read the reports via Internet. All my news came from word of mouth. At first, everyone said Bush was way ahead, and then they said that Kerry was only a few points down. Then came the news that Ohio was the next Florida, it would either make or break Kerry. I don’t know why I would let it bother me so much; something that was completely out of my control, but the anticipation of the Final Word was tying my stomach in knots. Bush looked like the sure winner, and after all the votes had been counted, Fox News declared Bush our returning champion.

I was immediately skeptical. Just a few short hours prior I heard that Kerry was sneaking up on Bush, could Ohio really be that irrelevant. I managed to find a computer and determine what had happened. The headlines were bold and clear: John Kerry conceded! I was appalled. I grew dizzy and felt rather sick. Is this true? Would he really give in so easy? Kerry made a statement that he did not want to put our country through a legal fiasco to determine the winner. Very noble, but what if Ohio was as close as we all thought? I was confused, and felt betrayed. So many democrats, left wing liberals, non-partisans, socialists, rationalists, pacifists, rank and file workers, journalists and yes, even pop stars had worked so hard for the last two years to put this man in power, if not for personal preferences but simply to remove a lying fascist crook from office; and now at this great hour in humanity he was throwing in the towel, when there was still a bastion of hope left in Ohio.

Already there were skeptics and critics who were posting headlines. Accusations were screaming about the Secretary of State of Ohio suppressing votes and manipulating voting laws to proliferate George Bush’s great victory. If Ohio were indeed this years Florida, it would seem it was no longer the tiebreaker state; it was also the controversy state. This was madness! Could it be possible that there was more foul play afoot than there was back in 2000? Was the office stolen again? Surely we as Americans have learned our lessons from dealing with the claptrap in Florida only four years prior. Or was it just a bunch of left wing sore losers who could not admit that the people had spoken, and they wanted Bush? I was agitated and perplexed. If Bush won, I would want him to win honestly, but already there seemed to be mounting evidence against this. Then I read another headline, stating that the electronic voting system, in many states, could have perpetuated more problems than we expected. With no actual paper trail, votes could be tallied and lost, or not even counted at all. This is insanity. I can honestly say that today, as I write these words, that I do not know all the facts involved in Bush’s victory, or Kerry’s submission to defeat. I can honestly admit that I do not know all the facts surrounding foul play in this year’s election, if there is any. Of course I aim to investigate into this, but for now, the day after the election of The Losers, I can look anyone in the eyes and tell them it really does not matter either way.

For Kerry to give in like he did, whether or not he had a chance in Ohio, proves to me that there really was no difference between the two candidates all along. They were both the same men from the same backgrounds with the same “New World Order” agendas. Neither man wanted to end the war, nor solve the economic and social problems at hand. The only difference between the two men was the difference in rhetoric. I have come to the conclusion that Kerry mislead at least half a nation into believing that a vote for him was a vote for change. Had he won, nothing would have changed, the war would still rage on as our economy and our freedoms slipped away before our eyes. But Kerry lost, and Bush is still president, so in the end, nothing has changed anyways.

There is nothing we can do to turn back time, or I think a lot of Americans would have prevented this Bush tirade in the first place. But that is irrelevant now. Bush has somehow managed to slide right in to the easy seat, and through a complicated twist of events, has managed to convince half the world that a war on terrorism is necessary. A large majority of Americans obviously seem to think so. Even in a country as far away as Iraq, where the war still continues to ravage innocent lives, the local population supports the Bush regime. They hate him and his ways, but what else can they hope for? Statistics have shown that most Iraqis support Bush, if not for the only reason of security. The people there know that if another president suddenly pulled out of Iraq, it would leave the gates wide open for organized crime, civil strife, or even another oppressive dictator. Indeed, through a completely miscreant and incompetent twist of events, Bush has managed to make himself the icon of necessity.

Now some of you out there are probably wondering what the hell is going on here, have I lost my mind? Was the forced anthrax vaccination I took before I came out here perhaps too much and now my brain has set itself into a systematic meltdown? Am I now condoning the acts of the Bush administration?

Not at all. I still strongly believe that President Bush is a liar and a thief. He is a lowly criminal scumbag that literally inherited the Throne of Washington. G.W.Bush is nothing more than a reincarnated John Wayne/Adolph Hitler hybrid mutant of some sort…a strange and ugly specimen of human creation that will never be forgotten or forgiven. When considering a divided country, a schism in American logic and rationale, the degradation of morals and decency, the death of so many innocent lives, and to the memory of fallen comrades, I place the blame squarely on GW’. I, in no way shape or form, agree with this gun totting madman or his administration who, I am firmly convinced, will someday be judged for what they are…criminals against humanity.

It surprises me that there are so many good-hearted Americans who support this lunatic, but so be it. He should have been ran out of town a long time ago, but the people have chose their leader, and who am I to criticize their free will to do so? After all, FREEDOM is what we are fighting for out here, isn’t it?

Yet I digress. Nothing would have changed either way. Which is why I say it is NOW so important to scrutinize this administration and its goals for our future. We can no longer turn a cheek when our constitutional rights as Americans become susceptible to violation. No longer can we ignore a super-upgraded version of the US Patriot Act being constructed behind our backs. Never shall we allow a conglomerated media or a fascist police state to control our minds and our way of life. When war is declared, it should be the people who determine the justification behind it. If we Americans inherently treasure our free way of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, than it is our responsibility to make it so. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “People get exactly the government in which they deserve.”

Moments after John Kerry’s announcement of defeat, a friend of mine approached me and told me there was no hope anymore. At the time I felt I could agree with him, but as is always the case when the home team loses, tempers flare and desperation sets in. However, there is always hope for the next season.

And I feel that this situation is much of the same. There is always hope for the better, because without it, you have nothing but the acceptance of defeat. Perhaps Kerry felt the same hopelessness in Ohio, whether or not it would have made a difference, which is why he gave up and accepted his defeat. However, We will not.

For any antagonist who is reading this, whether you are a politician or a general or a police officer or a judge or a stockbroker or a lawyer or anyone, understand that there is an underground movement of people in action. You may not be able to see it, but there is a grassroots organization of the independent that will not roll over and die. We want only what everyone wants, and that is the essence of liberty on which this country was founded. Every year we play by your rules, and every year the forces of evil overcome. But we shall never give up as long as there is a will to live, and life is the most precious thing we have. You label us a threat, and you condemn us to a stereotyped life of heresy, but one day “subverts will become politicians, and finally get the upper hand.” We will not prevail through violence or military aggression, but rather through a common understanding of peace, love and understanding. We are all and none of your common labels for us: peace freaks, beatniks, hippies or punks, rather a collection of sensible people who understand that your ways of suppression through an installation of fear are no longer logical or effective. As the truth of your ways becomes more apparent everyday, we become stronger through solidarity. One day a revolution will come. A revolution of the mind. A new renaissance will triumph. It may not come in our lifetime, but eventually a reformed way of life will be necessary, as the pillaging of human spirit and the earth on which we live on becomes intolerable. The stock markets and greed machines and mindless consumerism will come crashing down by the decadent hand of your own megaton corporate bombs. The only option after your demise will be ours, that being freedom.

“The Flower of the Dragon is a Vietnamese legend. During the era of the dragon, the worst time for mankind, a small budding flower shall spring up. And it shall spread its petals throughout the world. The spiritual power in man shall overcome the brutal force in himself. Love shall overcome death, peace shall overcome war. Man shall love and be free.”
-From Flower Of The Dragon by Richard Boyle

In these dark times, we must see that there is hope for a better tomorrow.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 3:09 PM 25 comments  
Election Aftermath
Malcom X’s words “You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace until he has his freedom” from Maclom X Speaks surfaces while I watch the lights of explosions rumble over the Iraqi city. Planes have been roaring overhead all night carrying out air strikes on hard targets that are possible hide outs for insurgent freedom fighters. The artillery from a near by forward operating base joins in with the noise and light display. The purpose is to soften the resistance before the ground troops move in. Hopefully many of the improvised explosive devices and anti-personal booby traps will be destroyed reducing American casualties. Because of the monsoon season close air support from helicopters and the spy drones have been grounded. That is where reconnaissance by snipers and scouts become vital for intelligence.

Usually being the first soldiers into a high risk combat zone is not the most comfortable feeling. As the morning is just beginning and the first haze of light is glowing through the horizons mist I am filled with despair and fear. Not because of the job at hand that will be both challenging and dangerous, but because I have learned of the results of the 2004 United States Presidential Elections. I know that some of the soldiers that enter the urban mazes to hunt for the militants today will not be leaving with their lives. I know that many of the innocent men women and children that have not evacuated the city will also be murdered in the violence. And after this day it will not be over. The policies of the Bush regime will only escalate the war and promote more to come. Dubya’s immature foreign diplomacy drives more countries away from aiding America in our efforts. The world polarizes and the United States is looking more and more alone on the far right edge. The economy will continue to suffer and as we stumble into another recession we will find that our paid off allies will back out once we can no longer pay the mercenaries checks. The draft seems unavoidable if we continue Operation Iraqi Oppression. Every son and daughter from poor American families will be dying along side of me. The environment gags at the run away pollution and whips up one natural disaster after another in it’s defense. When droughts plague more and more of the world’s crops the entire stock of automatic weapons will not be able to stop hungry fathers from trying to feed their children. A global Somalia scenario will be common place. The human civil rights that Americans have been fighting for since the birth of our nation are being strangled under Patriot and Homeland Security Acts. It is 2004 but feels like we have stepped back in time to socially degenerate into a fictional reality of horror stories like 1984 and Animal Farm. The enlightenment of tomorrow’s problem solvers is going dim. We won’t leave a child behind in an education program that doesn’t advance one single boy or girl.

The Fight or flight panic of an beast pursued by a predator floods my nerves. Deep inside my heart I realize that Bush won by convincing America that he was a better choice than Kerry, and perhaps he is, but I seriously doubt it. I want to cry out FRAUD, and CHEATER! It is easier to believe that he stole the election rather than face the facts that America has bought every lie. Despite his low intelligence and macho feigned evangelism, he was the majorities choice. I think about staying in Europe when I redeploy to my home duty station in Germany, or possibly moving north to Canada. But, I can not run either. The right thing to do is stay and put more effort into changing the system to something that is functional in a positive way. I have to organize into larger more influential groups. It should not matter who is in office, the President is still required to represent the people. We have to push with great effort and convince Dubya to make the right decisions. We have to sway outside countries to help us as American people rather than back just our perceived government. The President is only a puppet and the people have to grab hold of the strings. With a true democracy it doesn’t matter if Micky Mouse is the Commander-In-Chief, which many of you voted for, the power should still rest with the citizens. Let’s take that power back and have a government that reflects our country. It has been to long that we have been misrepresented by our leader.

The time Bush has been waiting for has come. He knew despite which direction the election went he would no longer be forced to worry about polls and swing states. He could concentrate on progressing to a new aggressive posture in Iraq. He is now free to launch the largest offensive since the war was declared over. He knows that the ballots are in and that he can not run again in 2008 or will be out of office soon enough. The media is conveniently distracted with possible scandals and lawsuits. They will be chasing the winner about digging up stories on the presidential race. No one will notice the increased level of conflict. So soldiers all over Iraq wait for the green light. The Air Force will stop flying over head and soldiers will begin moving from ruined house to ruined house. Humvees will roll down the debris strewn streets. There will be contact all through out the sector as the insurgents refuse to swallow Capitalism to a outsiders that look more like an occupation force every day. If you are reading this I have lived through another day in Iraq. But this could be the last time you see my writings. I have stopped saying that it won’t happen to me, because so many good people before me have said it. Superstition and prayer will not save us. Close quarters combat training or kevlar armor plates will not save us. The only thing that can help is to bring us home now. And the only way to do it is to force the government to recognize that's America’s choice. If it is the wrong decision then that is our mistake to make, and not the choice of the people we elected.

The responsibility of an American citizen does not end after your ballot is turned in.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 10:57 AM 4 comments  
Monday, October 25, 2004
A Brave New War
Two pillars of mirrored global money burning down to the rubble of rabble view

Revenged bred hate the fear puppet points the finger with a magic eight ball on fox news

Haircuts push ups and army value brainwashing wearing camouflage green

Third world glimpse out a black hawk the last time the soldier is safe rested and clean

Death in the eye taste of blood in the mouth tainted souls lonely hearts

Band of brothers with guilt TIME person of this year’s tragedy with proud cameo parts

The War machine trades taxes for moral lies in tasteful pills to cure regret and blame

Children dying while suburban prime time shopping mall comfort seduce the tame

Freedoms of the people are locked in the pyramid prison through a Slavery Act bureaucratic door

The all seeing eye chuckles and high fives as blue blood is never spilt they lap the poor

Blood for oil blue light special on sacrifices in the name of homeland security can we consider them losses

Patriotism fills uncertain eyes with the left over gasoline from the piles of books on the burning crosses

Kill Muslims, queers, kill blacks and Communists Dust off the nukes give M-16s to all the boys and girls

War versus terror destroy those who are different we will have nothing to fear we will live in a Brave New World.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 9:46 PM 12 comments  


What is left of a man after the war's toll has broken him?
After the blood of enemy and ally mixes on his hands
and the sight of twisted death burn white hot images in his mind,
how does he carry on?
When his nerves are frayed and cut as if exposed to the painful air,
how does he calm his startled heart?
He stares into the darkness as if ghosts of his fallen friends were haunting him.
However, to his own sorrow, there is no one there.
No one to comfort him, no one who understands, and no one to forgive him.
He is left withered, beaten and alone.
Until he becomes a ghost himself.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 11:18 AM 5 comments  
“Get the fuck down!!”

This was the last thing I heard before the ringing in my ears subdued the noises around me. I know this feeling well, it happens every time a rocket propelled grenade explodes a mere ten feet away. First comes the ringing in the ears, then a dull silence lasting only for a few seconds. Suddenly and with much relief, all the noise comes back. You can hear again, and the sound of opposing machine gun fire and cannon blasts from tanks fills the void of the fleeting calm. When your hearing escapes your senses, it only adds to the confusion. They tell you to wear earplugs, but for this reason you don’t. Sometimes you need to hear your buddy yelling at you to duck away from a flying piece of explosive ordinance.

There is something about the sudden loss of hearing that adds to the surrealistic ambiance of combat-ground zero. As you kneel down behind the open armored door of your humvee, it’s interesting to sit back, for just a quick moment, and realize the perplexity of the violent ballet before you. The tank blasting furiously down garbage-ridden alleyways. Infantrymen running with low profiles behind the makeshift cover of brick walls, leading the sights of their rifles to any arbitrary threat that may pop out.

You remember watching a movie in basic training. What was it called? Didn’t they make a video game about it? Oh yeah, Black Hawk Down. For a moment, it reminds you of that action packed war movie. The three story buildings with many windows. The flat roofs made from compressed clay mortar. Soldiers wearing tan uniforms brandishing the American flag on their right arms, running in columns towards a barrage of gun fire. Explosions from Russian-made rockets. Bullets pinging off the pavement. Dust and debris fragmenting off the walls. Complete and utter confusion. It looks like a scene from a Hollywood set. Not real, but not fake either. Good acting, great props. And with the sound off it doesn’t feel like you’re there. Somehow you feel like a member of the audience, watching a movie being played in freeze framed-slow motion.

Within seconds, it all comes back to you. It’s as though the sound makes it real again. Maybe this is all you know, from years of watching television and movies. When I was a child, it’s what I thought made a movie great. The big explosions and massive “Booms” of a good action flick set itself aside from that of a cheesy romance.

But this is serious. Shots are being fired everywhere. You’re right in the middle of the kill sack with nowhere to go. The only means of escape is to fight it out. Throw as much lead as you can at the bastards…overwhelming firepower. With terrifying awareness you know that this is for real; there is no Rambo to save the day. You and your buddies are being shot at, and it isn’t fun…

Or is it? Running for cover and throwing grenades and shooting a machine gun and cursing the enemy is what you’ve been trained to do your whole life. As a child playing GI Joe in the backyard, imaginary combat was the real adventure. It was a cool tough guy act, and you had the wood-carved guns and action figures to prove it. But when you actually hear a bullet wiz by your ears and see an air born rocket close enough to read the serial number, you can feel The Edge. You sense the impending doom of everything you hold dear in life. Death rides on every searing bullet. You know The End was near, you saw The End spiral by, and it was very real. Your heart pumps faster than your brain can fire strategic impulses of survival. With every gunshot and explosion, your stomach sinks to your toes and then immediately soars to the back of your throat. Adrenaline shoots into your veins like a magnificent bolt of lightning and brilliant flashes of white fury fill your bloodshot eyes. For these reasons, I know, combat will get you higher than any drug known to man.

As you fire a barrage of shots at the window from where muzzle flash is coming, you realize that this is something special. For good or ill, for what’s wrong or right, combat is now and forever will be the abyssal black hole of humanity—wherein lie all that is savage and cruel and terrifying and intriguing. In a firefight, there is no guilt or innocence, no purity or sin. The only thing that matters in this world is what side of the bullet you are on. You cannot think about the moral implications of killing while you’re being shot at.

But when the dust settles and the smoke clears and dead bodies line the streets, you begin to ask yourself, “Why?” Wiping the sweat from your brow and taking a long sip of cold fresh water, you contemplate the meaning of it all. Did it have to happen, does it ever? What does it prove? Who can proudly claim victory in the face of so much bloodshed?

You replay the events of the battle that took place no more than an hour ago. You remember the gunmen who were found dead, hiding inside closets of bullet-ridden houses. You remember their cold stares with dark and glossy eyes. Their hands covered in blood as they clutched the clothing around their sucking chest wound. In between the sporadic gunfire, you remembered seeing soldiers carrying away the wounded from other homes, the mothers crying and the children frightened. You recall someone saying that the wounded gunmen were hiding from us, and that no one should help them, they should be left to die. You saw a detainee restrained with his hands tied behind his back. You remember him begging for water, almost in tears. A translator discovered he was running ammunition for the gunmen. It seemed quite brave of him, considering he wasn’t a day older than twelve. While pondering the young age of the detainee you recalled hearing a radio transmission confirming twelve enemy kills and eight enemy wounded. All of who were under the age of eighteen.

Everyday I read the news I grow more and more frustrated by how this war is perceived by the many. I find myself stewing in disgust to read reports of fellow American soldiers dying in malicious explosions and chaotic urban assaults. As I read more, I find myself cursing even more carnage as revealed through the updated Iraqi death tolls. My mind becomes engulfed in fits of rage as I read the comments of blood mongering political war hawks in Washington who claim that the solution to ending this gruesome debacle is the use of more war. I become confused. Why not give peace a chance?

It seems that in these dark times, peaceful resolutions are the new heresy and war is the new popular trend. The more blood we spill the safer we are, the better off everyone is. When I get the chance, I like to watch FOXNEWS for the latest skewed updates and biased garbage. Yesterday I watched Bill O’Reilly’s “Two-Minute Hate” debating on the topic, “The Problems With Islam”. Immediately after the show, some neoconservative pundit completely slandered Senator Kerry, hitting him with audacious claims that “John Kerry is not a true Red Sox fan”. This completely irrelevant babble went on for a full ten minutes before going to footage of President Bush throwing “The Perfect Strike” during opening ceremonies for the Cardinals.

Anyone with any sense should be able to see the fascist nonsense being proliferated through our conglomerated media, yet still myriads of Americans seemed conned and fooled by this cheap effort of massive lobotomy. It would appear that supporting a fictitious war has become the perfect way to display blind loyalty and American pride. Somewhere along the lines, the true ideals of patriotism were molested by the White House hit men. As it stands today, being a patriot only means agreeing with the president and his government.

I for one will disagree with Bush, or Kerry, or anyone who gets elected to the most powerful office in the world with an inclination to bomb random countries of their choosing. I will oppose anyone who thinks that an act of war is the ideal solution to conform helpless third-world countries into corporate/democratic submission. I have been criticized for my anti-war beliefs many times, but I feel solid in my convictions after seeing the devastating effects of war on individual families and communities. Albert Einstein once said, “Killing under the pretense of war is nothing but an act of murder.” If what Einstein said is true, than I can only hope that we someday atone for our bloody actions through peace, love, and understanding.

Baquba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 4:47 AM 11 comments  
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
No Justification
time slips away transient
stealing days without meaning
save for the fact that they belong to me
feeling as I'm held aloft in the system's grasp over
mythological curmudgeon's eternal fire
the light at the end of the tunnel grows smaller by the day
linear distance to be bridged before I returning to
cycle of life
awake I dream of my previous days and those I love
asleep I relive my sun baked days
pages crumpled scattered as emotions escape words
frustration building depression
failure of foresight when I made my escape
now locked down by name on page
key to my cell? another day
impossible to consider freedom
death or life hanging in who loses their grip first
the machine or I
these moments live forever
and are already gone
taking with them peices of myself
memories under sand buried
ashamed of the purpose I serve
and should be
dead courageous ignorant
defenders of home on
both sides
fight for the few in charge who
destroy the innocent
sworn to protect
cursed from the beginning
knights pawned for far less than kings ransom
self indulgent convenience
no subterfuge left to explain when
over eyes pulled is the fresh wool
directors cut lives short
for them I pray no forgiveness
take the lives of those killed in crash
building collapse to
take the lives who block profit's rise
no progress if we are our enemy
no future in living in the past
no justification for this

--joe public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:04 AM  
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Have you ever known someone who just couldn’t get the hint? No matter how many times you tell that individual that you simply loathe him or her, they just never catch on. You try being polite at first, subliminally rejecting any associations with that person. When this doesn’t work, you try being overly evasive, continuously avoiding that person at all costs. Eventually, all measures prove futile and still that person cannot see the blatant disgust you feel for him or her. At this time, brute honesty is the best way to go. Express your discontent with that person, your disgust in his or her ways, and finally top it all off with a firm explanation… “I hate you, please leave me alone!”

I have been propositioned to stay in the United States army so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve told this clusterfuck operation many times my disposition with the army and my dismal chances of staying enlisted. The army never gives up. They never get the hint.

Today was another formal meeting with a high echelon retention officer. These guys are always type-cast for the job. Gung-ho lunatics with crew cuts, pressed uniforms, and an unwavering conviction for the service spread all over their grinning faces. The best way to describe them is overly-enthusiastic car salesmen from Dallas who bleed red, white and blue and wear green fatigues instead of cheap polyester suits.

These are the retention officers, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are the most controlled, manipulated tools in the army. They have to be, the only way that they can be effective is if they truly believe in all the bullshit. They are just like civilian recruiters, but twice as evil. Civilian recruiters will openly lie to a young punk kid, someone who has no idea what the army is about. But these “re-up guys” will lie straight to an experienced soldier, knowing well that both you and him are fully aware of how fucked up the army really is. But there he goes, telling you how great it is to be a soldier in the army nowadays.

On one occasion a year ago, I was ordered to pay a mandatory visit to the retention office. What fun it was going to be! I had been waiting a very long time for this talk with the retention officer, just so I could hear his inane babble and immediately shoot down his flimsy efforts. But this meeting was somewhat different than what I had normally experienced. At that time, our unit was still in Germany, preparing to deploy to Iraq. I was called to his office to talk about plans of me volunteering for a year long deployment. The salesman started by telling me that our whole division was now officially Stop-Lossed, meaning that I would not be getting out of the army on my scheduled date. I would have to serve time in Iraq for up to fifteen months, with no chance for parole. I was expected to wallow in my own misery for an entire year, plus ninety days after the deployment.

I took this rather distasteful, and somehow knew that this was concrete proof that both God and The Government hated me with a passion.

Never the less, I was called into his office to discuss my course of action in dealing with the stop-loss. It was like applying for a loan on bad credit. My options were horrible at best. He told me that I could voluntarily extend to stay with the unit for one year. There would of course be no financial gain or signing bonus for signing that malevolent and depraved piece of paper. The salesman told me that the advantage in signing this extension would be that, no matter what happens with the stop-loss, I would be guaranteed an exodus date.

I of course had my suspicions, so I asked him the ramifications of this “set in stone” deal. If, by chance, the stop-loss were to get nullified (which had been a standing rumor at the time) would the contract then be void of merit? The salesman approached this question very ambiguously and told me that the stop-loss was never going to be canceled. I had better sign that dreaded contract if I were to be guaranteed an exit date a year after the closure of the deal.

As I was shaking my head in disbelief, another commanding officer approached this baleful orgy to tell me, “You better listen to him kid, because the army will fuck you!”

I decided that the time had finally come to appraise my grim situation. I would never in hell sign any contract for this army again! Somehow I knew that signing that dotted line would end up fucking me harder than the original contract I signed three years earlier. I tossed the pen back on the desk and respectfully told the salesman to go fuck himself. I decided that there was no way another fictitous contract would solve this problem.

Many steps are taken to ensure that a healthy number of soldiers stay in the army. Good old fashioned bribery usually works the best. More money with bigger signing bonuses, more college tuition, or simply that soldier’s choice of duty station. More money means a new car, a better stereo, or surround sound television! More tuition pay for a college education that either (1) the soldier will end up dying for in Iraq, or (2) for an education that the soldier will never see, as his life drifts closer and closer to a life time career in the service. Any duty station that the soldier wants, well…everyone wants Hawaii, but no one ever gets it…how ironic!

To convince soldiers to stay in, other mind trickery has been effective. The used car “Con-Man” will instill doubt into the soldier’s self-esteem. Such examples of this bile is, “All you know is the army, its all you’ve done since you graduated high school. You’ll never make it in the civilian world. Why don’t you stay with us, receive health care benefits and a steady pay? Why not stay with the winning team?”

…or, “Well, have you talked this over with your wife? Maybe she’s happy being a soldier’s wife. Maybe she takes pride in the fact that her husband is protecting her and her family and her children’s freedoms. Maybe she wants to rely on a husband who can always put food on the table and clothes on the kids’ backs.”

(But does she want to see her husband disappear for a year at a time while he fights in some random war in the middle east? Does she want to see her husband return in a body bag, and then explain to little Jimmy why there is no dad to play catch with him anymore?)

…one of their best lines, “Why in God’s name do you want to get out now when you’re country needs you the most!”

Yea, okay. The American public loves the US soldier. When he is fighting and dying for our country’s “freedoms”, the masses see him as a hero. However, the neocon infringement on liberties back at home leaves the soldier disillusioned with his purpose in the war. He feels forsaken by his leadership, and most importantly, his government.

In our current situation, there are not as many volunteers for an “all volunteer” army as there once was. War mongering politicians in Washington are demanding more boots on the ground, yet they are hesitant to make any drastic changes in replacing units serving in the middle east theater. Who could blame a civilian for his/her hesitance in signing up, or for that matter, a seasoned veteran for wanting out? No good can come from an immoral war, and many soldiers are opting never to return to the front lines. Some returning soldiers have had to deal with severe emotional problems from trauma they received from combat. Suicide rates for wounded or disfigured veterans are on a steady rise. Deployment time tables have now been capped at two years in a combat zone, twice what it was for soldiers who served in Vietnam. The stop-loss program has also added to low morale within the ranks. Many troops now feel that they will never see the civilian life they once saw at the end of a long, gruesome road.

So the question remains, “Why the hell should I re-enlist?!”

Today, while I was four days away from my original exit date, I was summoned to the retention officer’s presence to discuss a possible re-enlistment. Once again, I would have to hear the mendacious talk about a “one big happy army family”. Once again, I would patiently sit through my options that the army seems to think are predestined for me. After hearing many of the possibilities for re-enlisting, the captain asked me if I had any questions or concerns. Or more specifically, if I needed to borrow his slick government pen. This is always my favorite part…

I informed him that, in just four short days, I was supposed to leave the army forever. I reminded him about a stop-loss that had prevented me from doing such. I respectfully informed him of my complete and raging hatred I have for the army, and that no sum of money nor status of rank could convince me to stay in.

He looked at me as if I were completely insane. How could I hate the army? How could I turn my back on an organization that has royally fucked not only me, but countless friends in the same situation? How could I not think that the army was the greatest thing in the universe; an unstoppable war machine with a killing efficiency far superior to any weapon of mass destruction? Why would I not sign that dotted line? Why would I not forfeit even more of my young life to mindlessly serve a fascist’s empirical quest for world domination?

The expression on the captain’s face when he heard such blasphemy was priceless. As I look back on today, my only regret is that I failed to bring a camera.

After setting back in his chair, carefully analyzing the seditious rhetoric he had just heard, he finally asked, “Well then, what else could you possibly do with your life?”
I replied very nonchalantly, “I don’t know, maybe live under a bridge.”

At that point I stood up from his desk, shook his hand, thanked him for a great conversation, and made my way to the door.

As I walked outside and lit a cigarette, a staff sergeant cursed me for smoking within fifty feet of a building. Of course, how could I forget? What a strange society we live in. Somewhere on this camp, a soldier was most likely doing push-ups for forgetting to screw in a light bulb, or some other menial infraction. The dust from the ground puffed into my nose with each step I took. The blazing hot sun continued to bake the entire landscape at a consistent 102 degrees. As I continued to walk down the hazy road, I couldn’t help but to notice the 10x20 foot aluminum boxes that soldiers live in; their homes completely surrounded by a thick layer of sandbags to protect them from incoming mortar shells. To the south, a billowing black cloud of smoke was hanging ominously over downtown Baquba. In the distance, an AK-47 was chattering away at some arbitrary target. Without a doubt, someone was now dead. Almost to compliment the heavy gunfire, two Kiowa assault helicopters screamed over my head and into the horizon, looking for whatever trouble they might find. I took a long drag from my cigarette and thought to myself, “Goddamn, I sure do miss the good life.”

Baquba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:35 PM 27 comments  
Monday, October 04, 2004
An excerpt from KINGDOM OF FEAR by Hunter S. Thompson

"We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world-a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us....No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you.
"Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn't vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today--and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever.
"Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?
"They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and the hate mongers among us--they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis.
"And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them."

HST ,2002

posted by E-4 Mafia at 4:46 PM 4 comments  
Saturday, October 02, 2004

STOP-LOSS "the back door draft"

I am now approaching my original ETS date that I was contracted for when I joined the Army three years ago. Despite serving in two deployments in my enlistment as well as living over seas, I have been involuntarily extended to stay in the military until 90 days after my unit redeploys back to Germany. This could be eight or more additional months of service that I will not receive compensation pay for. A year ago I could have at least re-enlisted and picked up a bonus for the additional year on my contract. With the cuts to soldiers' standard pay and combat pay (compliments of President Bush), it is already not as profitable for a deployed soldier as it once was.

I have missed my daughter as she has grown from the age of one to four, and I long to start a relationship with her. I thought three years ago that, by this time, I could finally start my life over. I have planned on enrolling in college this coming Spring. I am in my late twenties and can finally afford to go to school with my well earned GI Bill. But this dream will not come true for quite some time. I will be thirty before I see the civilian life I was told I would have by the end of this October.

I do understand that if my country needs me for an honorable purpose, that I would be there to pick up arms against our enemies. But this occupation displays none of the ARMY VALUES that I was once taught to live by.

I can no longer take pride in my job as a soldier when it has become a humiliating form of slavery. Enough is enought! If I am to be punished in the near future for my overly-extreme views, than the college money and benefits I have suffered for will slip away in a dishonorable discharge. Normally I would not be at risk, because I would have received an honorable discharge already.

My sympathies go out to all the families of soldiers who were lost in this war. My deepest sympathies are for those soldiers who have died after they were supposed to be discharged from the army. That is the real crime, killing soldiers who should have been civilians.

Please help in speaking out against this form of selective service. It is wrong and degrading to our country.

If we act collectively we can restore the dignity of the Armed Services that has been stripped away.

until then...I have now been DRAFTED!

If you disagree with the STOP-LOSS please sign your name at nostoploss@yahoo.com. If you are a soldier in the US Army and have been affected by and disagree with the STOP-LOSS, write your original ETS date by your name. Thank you.

This next part is taken from www.bringthemhomenow.org , which is an amazing site maintained by good people.

Stop-Loss, an Army about-face
By Arnold Abrams, Staff Writer
August 17, 2004

Luis Prosper has spent 24 years in the Army, reached the highest rank given to a non-commissioned officer — sergeant major — and was awarded a Bronze Star for heroism in Iraq.

Now he wants to leave.

"I think I've earned my retirement," said Prosper, 41, a member of Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division, which returned from more than a year's combat in Iraq last August and recently was told it will be sent back. "But I can't get out."

That's because of "Stop-Loss," a Pentagon policy announced in June. The program, which applies only to the Army, prohibits soldiers from retiring or leaving the military three months before their unit is deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. It also keeps them in place for three months after their unit's return.

Shortly after Stop-Loss was announced, Sen. John Kerry called the policy a "back-door draft," a charge the Democratic presidential nominee repeated last month in his acceptance speech at the party's national convention. Kerry's criticism was echoed by Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.), who described the policy as "just another way of drafting people."

Stop-Loss could force thousands of soldiers to remain in uniform for a year or more after their contracts expire. As a result, many frustrated and angry people would have to put lives on hold. "This is a time bomb," said a Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And, like so much else the administration has done in connection with Iraq, it could produce some very bad results."

Like the predicament facing one Long Islander, who insisted on anonymity for fear of retribution from Army officials. After completing three years' active duty and returning to civilian life, this man, in his mid-20s, signed a one-year contract with the 69th Infantry Regiment — the "Fighting 69th" — a recently activated reserve unit in the New York National Guard.

Because his contract ended on June 4, two days after Stop-Loss was announced, the Long Islander had to remain with the unit, now training in Texas for deployment to Iraq in the fall. "It's unfair," said the soldier, a New York City policeman, who probably will not be allowed to leave the unit until late next year. "I did my job and fulfilled my duty. But the government has reneged on its contract."

Lt. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel, rejected that accusation. "I don't regard it as a breach of trust," he recently told reporters, referring to the assertion. "I regard that as being a soldier in the United States Army. This is what we do."

Though troop numbers currently affected by Stop-Loss are not known because soldiers' personal military contracts are private, the actual number probably is low, as is public awareness of it. But both elements are likely to grow as more contracts expire daily and the new rules remain unchanged.

Stop-Loss rules previously applied only to troops already in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the newly expanded program, along with the recent recall of 5,600 soldiers who had completed active duty and returned to civilian life, has been defended by Pentagon and Bush administration officials as a distasteful but necessary means of maintaining unit cohesion and bolstering a temporarily overextended Army.

A major underlying reason for the overextension, Pentagon authorities point out, involves post-Cold War reductions that have trimmed the Army, which now has approximately 500,000 troops on active duty — about half its size 15 years ago. The problem stems, analysts note, from fierce pressures of fighting two wars simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan — where a total of about 158,000 troops have been deployed — while maintaining force commitments in South Korea and Germany (with about 40,000 and 70,000 troops respectively). Adding to the problem, critics claim, have been Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's plans to make U.S. forces leaner and more mobile.

To ease manpower strain, Bush yesterday announced plans to redeploy 60,000 to 70,000 troops from Europe and Asia — most of whom will be based in the United States.

Nevertheless, Congress believes the force overextension problem must be resolved with a major personnel increase.

The Senate, for example, has voted for bolstering Army ranks with an additional 20,000 troops next year; the House calls for a 30,000 increase over the next three years. A compromise measure will probably be reached at a joint conference in the fall. Kerry, for his part, has pledged to recruit an additional 40,000 troops if he is elected.

But military officials have staunchly resisted mandated force increases. Such increases, they insist, would drain millions of dollars needed for technological development. They note, moreover, it will take at least a year to recruit, train and field additional troops — while the need for more soldiers is immediate.

So a practical answer, according to the Pentagon, lies in its present policy of stopgap measures to meet present needs that, hopefully, are limited in term.

Military authorities — who claim current recruitment and retention rates are satisfactory — also reject the idea of reinstating the draft, insisting all-volunteer forces are fine. Administration officials acknowledge a draft would be politically unpopular and insist there are no plans to reinstate it.

The 5,600 recalled soldiers affected by the other new Army measure belong to the 111,000-member Individual Ready Reserve. Although honorably discharged, they served less than the eight years' active duty stipulated in their volunteer contracts. They were automatically enrolled in the IRR and, despite their new civilian status, they were left with still-unfulfilled military obligations. Their recall, the first large-scale activation of Ready Reserve since the 1991 Gulf War, "is nothing new or unusual," said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, a Pentagon spokeswoman, who described the measure as "a management tool we've always had available to augment our forces."

All recalls, Pentagon officials stress, are based on the soldiers' skills — such as medical, mechanical, technological or administrative specialties.

Despite officials' explanations, the new programs have been criticized by servicemen, military analysts and leading politicians. Some critics also cite them as evidence of the Bush administration's lack of foresight and competence.

Criticisms and politics aside, the primary burden is borne by the soldiers.

Sgt. Maj. Prosper, for example, noted that he first thought of leaving the Army early in 2001. In fact, he purchased a Florida home at that point for his wife and two children, then sought and was promised a job in a county sheriff's office.

However, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks changed his thinking.

"As much as I loved my family and was ready for a new life," he explained, "I was a soldier first and foremost. I felt I couldn't leave the Army when my country needed me." But now, after going to Iraq, seeing 13 men in his company killed and dozens of others wounded, earning a Bronze Star and being made top sergeant, Prosper really wants to leave. "Yet I can't," said the veteran, who doesn't fear retribution because his superiors have long known about his wishes. "I'm in limbo because of the Stop-Loss program."

Other politicians, in addition to Kerry and McCain, have seized on his complaint.

For example, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the recall of IRR members is a "de facto draft."

"These people did everything the military asked of them and were free to go," Israel said in a recent interview about the reactivated soldiers. "Now they have to be literally hunted down and yanked from their civilian careers to go back to Iraq. I think that's disgraceful."

He added: "While the recall may be legally legitimate, it's entirely another matter in moral terms."

Also critical of the new Stop-Loss program is Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who in late June sought unsuccessfully to introduce a legislative amendment providing soldiers with a $2,000 bonus for every additional month they are forced to serve beyond their contract.

"I am outraged by the Pentagon's action," the veteran New Jersey senator said recently about his proposal, which he tried to attach to the Senate's Defense Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2005.

"Even the program's title is misleading," Lautenberg asserted. "'Stop-Loss' is a stock market term. It provides no clue to the many serious personal problems it creates for soldiers. It also reflects the administration's miscalculations and misunderstanding of the situation in Iraq — and its attempts to hide the painful truth."

Criticism of the Army policy, moreover, has not been confined to Democrats.

"Insufficient force structure and manpower are leading the services to make decisions that I liken to eating the seed corn," said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. "That is, in order to make it through today, we do things that mortgage the future."

Andrew Exum agrees. A former captain who fought with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan and with the Rangers in Iraq, Exum, 26, left the Army in late May — less than two weeks before the new program was implemented. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Exum wrote the recently published "This Man's Army," which describes Afghanistan operations in noble tones. He called Stop-Loss "a gross breach of contract" and labeled the recall of IRR personnel an "involuntary mobilization." Both programs, he said, "place an unfair burden of sacrifice upon volunteer soldiers — many of them veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan — who already have made their share of sacrifice."

Most Americans, he asserted, haven't been asked to make any sacrifice. "You'd be hard-pressed to find examples of how people's lifestyles have been changed by these wars," he said. Exum's views are shared by David Chasten, another combat veteran who also left the Army shortly before the new program was initiated.

"The administration had three choices to compensate for its mistakes," said Chasten, 26, a former captain who served in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division. "It could recruit more people, which would cost more money; it could draft them, which would also cost more money as well as a lot of political points; or it could simply screw the guys who volunteered in the first place."

He added: "It obviously chose the third course, which is the cheapest way, and also is under the radar."

But the Pentagon wouldn't need its Stop-Loss policy, Israel pointed out, if the Bush administration had paid more attention to warnings that winning the war in Iraq would be easier than occupying it.

"The Shinseki incident symbolized this," the congressman said. "The administration's horrifically poor planning led it to believe that this could be done on the cheap. Shinseki told them otherwise, but they wouldn't listen." He was referring to testimony at a Senate hearing in February 2003 — several weeks before the Iraq war began — by Gen. Eric Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff.

Responding to a question, Shinseki, 61, a West Point graduate with 38 years' military experience — including a year commanding peace-keeping forces in Bosnia — said "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed in post-war Iraq to maintain internal stability.

Two days later, testifying before a House committee, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who never served in the military, disparaged Shinseki's assessment as "quite outlandish" and "wildly off the mark."

Insisting that Iraq was not plagued by the ethnic strife that has characterized regional conflicts in the Balkans, Wolfowitz added: "It's hard to conceive it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would to conduct the war itself."

Wolfowitz's views subsequently were echoed at a news conference by his boss.

Despite critics' assertions that many more troops are needed there, Rumsfeld has limited American forces in Iraq to approximately 140,000. Total coalition forces, including 9,000 British troops, number about 165,000.

Rumsfeld believes those numbers are sufficient. "If commanders in the field want more troops," he repeatedly has told reporters, "We will sign deployment orders so that they'll have the troops they need."

Iraqi troops are being trained to replace Americans fighting insurgents but administration officials are not certain how many will be needed, how many fielded and how well they will do. In the meantime, officials indicate Stop-Loss will remain as long as the problem does.

And families affected by the policy's restrictions will continue to be frustrated. "Whatever happens in terms of the larger picture, I would be very upset, to say the least, if my son is hurt in Iraq," said the mother of the Long Islander forced to remain in the 69th Infantry Regiment. "It's a crapshoot for anyone in the military, of course, but his odds have been skewed by government manipulation. He's been put in double jeopardy."

posted by E-4 Mafia at 1:24 AM 47 comments  
Monday, September 27, 2004
What If...?
I got this off of www.juancole.com

If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totaling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?

What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?

What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every year?

What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?

What if, from time to time, the US Army besieged Virginia Beach, killing hundreds of armed members of the Christian Soldiers?

What if entire platoons of the Christian Soldiers militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery, and were bombarded by US Air Force warplanes daily, destroying thousands of graves and even pulverizing the Vietnam Memorial over on the Wall?

What if the National Council of Churches had to call for a popular march of thousands of believers to converge on the National Cathedral to stop the US Army from demolishing it to get at a rogue band of the Timothy McVeigh Memorial Brigades?

What if there were virtually no commercial air traffic in the country? What if many roads were highly dangerous, especially Interstate 95 from Richmond to Washington, DC, and I-95 and I-91 up to Boston? If you got on I-95 anywhere along that over 500-mile stretch, you would risk being carjacked, kidnapped, or having your car sprayed with machine gun fire.

What if no one had electricity for much more than 10 hours a day, and often less? What if it went off at unpredictable times, causing factories to grind to a halt and air conditioning to fail in the middle of the summer in Houston and Miami?

What if the Alaska pipeline were bombed and disabled at least monthly? What if unemployment hovered around 40%?

What if veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing were brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy in these times of crisis?

What if municipal elections were cancelled and cliques close to the new "president" quietly installed in the statehouses as "governors?"

What if several of these governors (especially of Montana and Wyoming) were assassinated soon after taking office or resigned when their children were taken hostage by guerrillas? What if the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the United States are, under these conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner?


posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:00 AM 28 comments  
Friday, September 24, 2004
The "Have"s Versus The "Have Not"s
Today’s blind patriotism is bred into American children to teach them they belong to the best country in the world based on its military might and capitalistic freedoms. However the bulk of American wealth is held by the smallest percentage and the democratic vote is held by the electoral college. The public has very little control and lacks the true advantages of a free world. Supporting such a system is a lot like rooting for a local sports team. You identify with that team because it represents the area in which you live and provides you with certain bragging rights. A patriot is an American, thus he band wagons to back the military and the laws of his nation. If you follow a football team, buy season tickets and a Starter brand jersey, and that team ends up going to the Super Bowl. The quarterback of that team receives his millions of dollars and the franchise gets rich off the success. But after the lime lights fade and the players go home to their mansions all you are left with is an empty beer cup and a t-shirt. You never truly belonged to the team or you would have also profited from a championship. You were just a spectator and even contributed to the wealth of the winning team. Football is a poor comparison to the Iraq war, because football is entertaining. Unless you have a deranged mind, war is not. Not if you understand it and live within it. Not when you see it up close every day. As the elitists grows fat off the blind patriots tax money the players in the game suffer. The media scramble to get the “play of the week” without letting on to the true wickedness of the occupation. It all looks fun in Black Hawk Down The Video Game, however, when the camera turns off some one has to clean up the bodies in the street, calm the fatherless children and knock on the door of a proud mother to inform her of the honorable fate of her fallen son. All while the men in the sky box look down with greedy smirks. I don’t claim to be a member of the most powerful nation, because my neighbors, friends and family have no power to speak of. They are not rich and the political clout they carry is the same illusionary vote that we all have. The Us against Them attitude with country borders, skin color or religious preference should evaporate as we move forward into a global society. Humanity shares too much to quarrel over petty prejudice when the puppet masters pit us against each other. We are all manipulated and stand by our deceivers with ignorance. When we are asked to kill a fellow man, take a long look at the snaked mouth that orders us to arms. Then we will learn which sideline we are on.. Are we all too proud to blame ourselves for what has been done? Are we all too blind to see a tyrant? Fight the peer pressure to join the bigoted minds of the stubborn masses. It is about time to admit to our wrongs, correct the problem we have caused and put civilization on the right track with a combined world effort.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 12:43 PM 3 comments  
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Free Speech For Soldiers
“They paint the walls to cover my pen, but the Shit House Bandit has struck again!”
--Shit House Bandit

The US Army loves a good robot. A soldier who takes orders obediently without thought or question is considered a good soldier. Each automaton is expected to take to gospel any ideas or beliefs held by the authority over him. Any thinking that would contradict the absolute omnipotence of the army as a whole is considered heresy. The intense mind control starts very early in a soldier’s career. Once a person enters into the ranks of the war machine, that person will be subjected to inane mind games and deprived of human spirit and character. An installation of fear will break down his free will, clear it of all pride and self-respect, and replace it with fiber-optic bloodlust. The average soldier soon discovers to always be the yes-man, always stay motivated, and always know that the army is steadfast in its supremacy. Never again would that soldier think for himself or question authority.

Those few of the enlisted who would dare display any traits of individuality or independent thought are immediately singled out and dealt with. These such “black sheep” are subjected to ridicule, ostracism, and idle threats in order to conform that soldier back to the standardized way of thinking. Trepidation plays a huge role in keeping the lower ranking in line, thus smiting any desires for an individual to speak out for himself. Valid complaints of ill treatment are expected to pass upwards through a long, bureaucratic chain of command, usually brushed off repeatedly and almost never reaching the authority needed to deal with the problem at hand.

Robots are expected to receive orders and process them without thought or feeling. Killing is the robot’s task. Emotion is not tolerated. Fear is processed into hatred and hatred is turned into motivation. The drone is expected to eat, sleep, and to mindlessly serve the High Command.

The army loves a good robot, but the army consistently neglects the fact that its soldiers are human, displaying every feeling and emotion that a person normally would.

Deployments are a long and hard trial of negativity, doubts, and horror. Soldiers in Iraq are incessantly faced with the extreme conditions of a searing desert, a constant paranoia of their volatile environment, undue stress caused by the despot authority over them, and imminent death around every corner. The soldier will make every attempt to keep these problems to himself, to deal with them on his own terms. Talking to friends about these problems can only help so much, and an attempt to express these issues to his superiors prove to be futile…one can be accused of cowardice only so much. Angst and frustration fill the bottle more and more everyday, until the time comes to ignite the greasy rag. With no one around, and the all seeing eye of Big Brother out of range, the soldier makes his stand within the confines of a restroom stall. Marker in hand, freshly painted white walls his canvas, he explodes and sums it all up with one rebellious thought…


It goes without saying, an American soldier is not privileged to the same constitutional rights he defends with his life. The soldier cannot come and go as he sees fit; there is no such thing as a “two-week notice” in his line of work. Limitations are placed on what he says, and free speech is certainly not free. Incorrect thoughts are to be kept silent, and dire consequences await for those who act on their convictions. Due to the absolute privacy found in bathrooms, what was once suppressed frustrations suddenly become an open forum of ideas and acquisitions. The latrine walls become what The Combine dreads the most, a podium of free speech for soldiers.

You will not find too many of these such restrooms or portable toilets on smaller camps. The fear of authority in such places cuts too deep. However, on larger forward operating bases, usually consisting of many different units, the shit will hit the fan. You can join in on the open-ended debates, if you remembered your marker. I for one have made a black permanent marker an everyday part of my uniform.

Most of the time, you will see unit rivalries going back and forth, sort of like a dog marking his territory:

“1/8 Cavalry was here…too damned long!”
“HHC 854th ENG all the way”
“B 1-7 FA don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground!”

Or you may see valid complaints from the front, such as National Guard units who were extended past a year, or soldiers who were stop-lossed from leaving the army:

“One weekend a month?! BULLSHIT!!”
“Thank God I got out of the army…SEVEN MONTHS AGO!!”

The most interesting toilets I have found in the past have been the ones containing politically heated debates, going back and forth from one scribbled statement to the next:


…and then there’s always something from the incorrigibles:


…or one of my personal favorites:

(insert [1] well drawn anti-swastika circle)

Bathroom graffiti is never a pretty sight. The language is always horrible, certainly not spoken through the mouths that kiss mothers. One thing should be made very clear right now: soldiers talk like a bunch of sailors, bottom line.

One interesting aspect is that of the FTA. This is an almost underground cult within the ranks. The members of this secret organization refer to each other as Joe‘s. Soldiers will know who is FTA just by looking at him. He will immediately understand that “Joe” hates being oppressed by his superiors, disagrees with the army’s stupid rules, and resents the army for taking him to crazy 3rd world countries, only to try to kill him. The actual graffiti “FTA” can be found in almost every portable toilet or restroom where others have left their opinions. Its almost never written fancy or artistic, just three bold, simple letters…
One can surely assume what it means.
It’s a safe guess that “lifer’s” or high ranking officers see this kind of subversive swill and become rather angry about it. The whole façade of “one big happy army” disappears right in front of their eyes, and their petty little fantasy world of structure and order come crashing down around their ankles. The only way to counter the bathroom graffiti is, of course, painting over the walls. Or take a can of spray paint and omit the slander quicker than G.W.Bush can black-out his sham military record. The fallacy of treating soldiers like tools is that the soldier will eventually speak out in one way or another. No matter how many times a bathroom wall gets painted over, Joe and his pen will strike again…
“I will never run out of ink as long as there’s bathroom walls to write on!”
I strongly believe in and support bathroom graffiti. Whether it helps to vent frustrations or simply express opinions and ideas, the free speech of the shithouse will always live on. Quick little shout-outs against the system are always good, and sometimes you feel entertained by what someone said. Other times the graffiti isn’t too intelligent, but it helps to gauge the soldier’s overall feelings for the army and the war. Obviously, the dissension is rampant as the message is literally on the wall. A good tag will remind you that you are not the only one that feels the war is wrong or your “president” is a complete joke. However, it is the graffiti in which speaks The Truth that always leaves the lasting impression:
“The loss of diversity is the degradation of effectiveness.
Submission to conformity is the deprivation of creative expression.
The inability to form a personal opinion leads to the lack of self worth.
--The Heretic

Baquba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 3:58 PM 14 comments  
Saturday, September 18, 2004

Part II (The Numbers Game)
Words by Greg Graffin
Performed by Bad Religion, from the album Suffer
It's superficial progress,
they call it liberation.
With opiates of silicon
Big Brother schemes to rule the nation.
We're one nation under god,
we stand above the rest.
With mighty high technology
we're never second best.
Our specialty is infiltration!
Prepare yourselves for subjugation
victory through domination!
The trepidatious throngs all fear the big eye in the sky.
The government observes them with their own electric eye.
Automatons, illiterates and indigents of every shape and size,
don't stop but aid this cruel crusade
participate in their own demise.
We're one nation under god,
we stand above the rest.
With mighty high technology
we're never second best.
Our specialty is infiltration!
So pack your bags you third world nation,
victory through domination!

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:11 PM 1 comments  
My Struggle For Reason

Souls, Friends, and Conspirators,

The temperature dropped to sixty degrees last night while I huddled in a ditch near Diyala Bridge. The breeze off the river crawled into my heart and the sudden chill reflects my current mood. I found out earlier that night that I had been extended an additional two months on top of my previous stretch. It now appears that I will be in the service until July, while my original date of release is supposed to be next month. All this, and my recent two week taste of the civilian world on leave, is leaving me empty and detached. It is so much easier to live in slavery if you had willingly accepted your fate. I am not sure if my mental fortitude is prepared for a whole extra year in oppression. And, I still don’t have a certain time when I will be finished with this war.

Three soldiers in our unit have been hurt in the last four days and the true amount of army-wide casualties leaving Iraq are unknown. The figures are much higher than what is reported. We get awards and metals that are supposed to make us feel proud about our wicked assignment. We feel privileged when we are given the smallest perk. Like a dog that is beaten everyday and then thankfully adores it’s owner when he skips a day of punishment. I have more trust with some of the Iraqi locals than my own command sometimes. I know that my higher chain of command hates me for my political opinions and my moral views.

I am called a “faggot pink-o” or a “bleeding heart traitor”. It doesn’t take a liberal to realize the moral wrongs involved with this or any war. Why should I feel ashamed of caring about all of humanity, even the people that ignorantly hate me? Is wanting a better standard of living for all the world so negative? In a way, deeper than sexuality, I love my friends and brothers and for that I am labeled a deviant of some kind. Does everyone buy into this Arnold ideal of fear that they are not strong enough, so they have to over-compensate and become an asshole? I believe that all weapons should be laid down buy choice of the individual. It is the same fear I have of my biggot neighbor that causes Americans to support a war against a possible US threat. If we are all responsible enough to handle firearms, is it not sensible to allow countries like Iran and N. Korea nuclear weapons? If we think these countries are less responsible than the drunk driving redneck or the crack dealing gangster, I think we need to take a longer look at American society. Sure a nuke can destroy the world, but an automatic weapon can kill my daughter and she is the world to me. I don’t believe that taking away peoples rights is the proper step to world peace. However, we overspend on national defense and cut education when we need to be more concerned about raising a generation of problem solvers, instead of mindless warriors.

So I finally find the drive to get out and try to make a difference in the world, and I am stuck freezing in a middle eastern desert. What state will the earth be in if I ever escape this combat zone? What little changes I can make, I do through the networks I have built up with my close friends. The Bouncing Souls have given us soldiers a voice and forum to express the hardships and our feelings on the Iraq occupation. All my friends, some new and some old, listen and support our efforts and they have my deepest respect and thanks. I could not survive this in any sane manner without the backing of all of you. I can not promise that I will have a positive effect on current issues that plague our planet, but I can promise I will never give up, if you never give up on me.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 1:25 AM 12 comments  
Friday, September 17, 2004
Fort Carson Soldiers Blackmailed
Threatened With Iraq Duty If They Don't Re-Up:
"Whole Platoon" Refuses To Sign

8/16/2004 COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP)

"I don't want to go back to Iraq," the sergeant told the News. "I went through a lot of things for the Army that weren't necessary and were risky. Iraq has changed a lot of people."

Soldiers from a combat unit at Fort Carson say they have been told to re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last week, two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man, echoed that view: "They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not."

The sergeant told the News the threat has outraged soldiers who are close to fulfilling their service obligation.

"We have a whole platoon who refuses to sign," he said.

One of the soldiers provided the form to the News. If signed, it would bind the soldier to the 3rd Brigade until Dec. 31, 2007.

Extending a soldier's active duty is within Army authority, since the enlistment contract carries an eight-year obligation, even if a soldier signs up for shorter terms. Members of Iraq-bound units can be retained for an entire year in Iraq, even if their active-duty enlistment expires.

"I don't want to go back to Iraq," the sergeant told the News. "I went through a lot of things for the Army that weren't necessary and were risky. Iraq has changed a lot of people."

The enlisted soldier said the recruiters' message left him "filled with dread."

"For me, it wasn't about going back to Iraq. It's just the fact that I'm ready to get out of the Army," he said

--And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the fascist tendencies of the US Army. But this is not entirely the army's fault. the army is just a tool of autonomous power utilized by warhawk neocons in Washington, D.C. The army is nothing more than a war machine that processes the orders of our Commander in Chief. Since this is an unjust war, based of lies and thievery, it makes complete sense that the army would also steal a person's life from them, whether or not that person is even dead or alive. The Statistics here at FightToSurvive are like so many other soldiers right now, stuck in Iraq completely against our will. We are stop-lossed, and cannot even dream of getting out of the army until 90 days after we return to our home station. The stop-loss is the easy solution to the lack of troops on the ground in Iraq, and for Bush it makes for a perfect backdoor draft. Well, fuck you Uncle Sam! If you even think we are going back to this quagmire of illegitimate killing, your wrong! We oppose this war, we oppose a civilian draft (if Bush gets elected, thats the next step) and nobody should have to die to cover Bush's ass on bad business deals with the Taliban!

...and one more thing Mr. President, guess what other army would not allow soldiers to return back to a normal civilian life? Oh, yea, that was Saddam Hussein's army, the same army you said was so goddamned evil in the first place.

hasta la victoria siempre!

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:30 AM 1 comments  
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
"...the new terror, tonight at ten!"
some may ask, "what happened? how did this all get so bad? it wasn't always like this."

with the recent tornado of tumulus events of the last two years, this may be a logical question for some, but for me it was always too obvious.

as a concerned american soldier in the US army, it was frustrating to watch the events unfold before my very eyes. it was nerve-racking to know the Bush Administration's intentions for war a year before it all happened. it was agonizing to witness a deceived american population cower at the new terror and hide behind their lazy-boy recliners and american flags. it was gut-wrenching to see the world slowly hate us more and more, while american troops continued to die in iraq, for a middle eastern corporate economy, knowing fully well that eventually i would be there too.

this whole charade has been foul. sometimes i question what we're fighting for. sometimes i wonder can americans really be this blind, naive, apathetic, or completely narrow-minded? did all the alcohol, pesticides, carcinogen diets, cell phones, TV sitcoms, star-bucks, wal-marts and american pie finally choke the sleeping giant? how could we ever allow a child-president to take siege of the white house, slip a war right under our noses, and move the department of Offense to a secluded location in texas?

a year ago i was on r&r leave from kosovo, in denver, during the april 2003 invasion of iraq. a friend and i walked into a bar, ordered ourselves a pint of guinness, and pulled up a front row seat of the action packed iraqi war being celebrated on a big-screen TV. it was then that i removed my jacket to reveal a t-shirt that had Bush's face plastered across the front, and along the side in bold lettering it read, "not my president". it stirred up a ruffle, to say the least, and we were denied service in the bar. my friend and i raised hell, but to no avail, the final word was spoken. the people loved "president" bush. this whole situation displayed only one thing to me: our government has done such a fantastic job of infiltrating a de facto fascism in america.

no longer are we allowed to think for ourselves, question authority, or challenge the ignorance of a crooked president. in an exaggerated sense, what makes this country any different than the third-world countries we invade?

you don't think so? do the research on the history of american interests overseas, see how it correlates to the amount of freedoms we lose with every new term, and you will see that our country is headed for this ominous fate!

"god bless the Patriot Act for silencing all those neo-pinkos and left-wing faggot hippies. If your not with us, than you must be a damned dirty terrorist!"

i wonder if, when children play soldier in their backyards, do they kill the evil A-rab terrorists that wear the rags on their heads and bombs on their chests? does mom deliver them cool lemonade wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair?

"god bless those boys in a far away land, fighting for my right to drive my husband's brand new ford excursion."

"...oh, will this blood ne'er come clean?"
baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:57 PM 0 comments  
i honestly cannot remember the tangible reasons for enlisting in the US army, but i can assure you they were wrong. three years ago, before 9-11, i joined the army, seeking refuge from a mundane existance, for escape from an atavistic town, to earn college money the only way i knew how, and for the oppertunity to travel across europe for enlightenment and self discovery. i joined for the wrong reasons. i had no idea i could go to war,to kill without thought and serve the purposes of self rightous neocons. but here i am, and this whole world crisis is mere evidence of what can go wrong when a whole nation in apathy allows ignorance and greed to turn the gears in the combine.

as i look back, i realize that joining a war machine has always gone against my morals as a human being, but once you commit to something like this, there is no turning back...the system can be vindictive and unforgiving. now i am at war with freedom fighters who want their simple way of life back from gun toting rednex and war mongers, regardless of who is in charge, because although they will always be oppressed and poor, at least they will be alive. i want to help right the wrong, but for now can only fight for my life.

i have killed, but where is the remorse? better his mom crying than mine. if you think any different about pulling the trigger your as good as dead. live to fight for another day. i will atone for these crimes on a day when i am not shackled to the rules that bind my mouth from a subversive tounge and force my free will to hide amongst the shadows. effectiveness comes in anonymity, and communication and conviction will fuel the flames of change.

i seek no sympathy nor do i expect it. i did this to myself, and have learned a valuable lesson about life that you cannot buy in any university. this war isnt about saving a soldier, its about saving yourself and your nation. if we can allow one pretentious man to slip a war under our nose, then what is next. do not be decieved by the greed mongers and warhawks who run our great country. seek the truth and strive for reform. do not be conned into donning the stars and stripes over our heads to hide us from the terror that our government creates. the best way to counter terrorism is to not participate in it. war is not the solution, and until we realize this, no one is safe. in this war for national security, everytime a mother is bombed, a terrorist is born.
baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:49 PM 11 comments  
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
From Babylon to Eden
I am in the comfort of my Mother's mountain fortress deep in the rocky mountains with a beer in hand. I have been granted a two weeks leave and am taking full advantage. The prison social life and concentration camp conditions of a forward Iraqi deployment is a dark contrast to the light of civilian paradise. After leaving the original Babylon I have found true Eden in the companionship of my friends and family. All the little things that I took for granted before the war flood my senses with appreciation. How I missed so many things and will have to be torn from them once again. It is all one giant tease of a wet dream and soon I will have to wake up to a familiar nightmare. My thoughts do stress on how my brothers in arms are doing in my absence. Not that I feel that I can single handedly save every one of my little brothers, but the sympathy pain is too much. I can't seem to be able to rest without sharing the burden with those men. Like I snuck out of something and they have to hull my slack. I might never be able to rest until every soldier is home from war.
I was in the bar the other night with friends and the news was on TV. Most people ignored the images of soldiers in tans cleaning up the latest car bombed street. As the reporter gave the latest score of the growing death rate a few sieghs whispered across the room and then the story changed to a baby rhino being born and it seemed to draw more attention. In a second the thoughts of war evaporated from their lazy beer soaked minds. I guess i have no choice but to think of it all the time. I felt recentment to all the free people that get the privaliges of freedom and have the right to ignore the issues. In the end I look at my reflection in the glass of stout and understand that I am the retard that signed the contract. If there is anyone out there foolish enough to consider joining the Armed Forces, please don't. I had all sorts of good advice when I was going in. But I am not wise enough to learn from others. I was stubborn and had to punish myself to learn the lessons that were haded to me by countless people. If you want to have a miserable time in the most degrading job you'll ever have than by all means. If you don't like sleep, good food, clean enviroments, money, and your life than maybe you would be making the right choice. But, think hard at what you value and come to terms with the fact that if you become a soldier you will represent every decision our government makes. Not only that but you will be no better than the fat bastard cop that enforces our leaderships policies. Just think real hard about it. If you are in a dead end and service looks like an easy out you will be very disappointed. There are other ways to get out of your rut, your ghetto, or your debts. There is a million ways to get collage cash. And a lot better ways to support a family than being deployed for a year every six months. I would rather live poor and see my kids. Just consider this and say no to that recruiter that keeps calling you. Please.
Oh and dodge the draft, because it is around the corner is Bush gets another four.

--the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:20 PM 1 comments  
Only A Dream
An excerpt from The Gunner's Dream, by Roger Waters.
(Taken from Pink Floyd's The Final Cut--a requiem for the post war dream)
A place to stay
Enough to eat
Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
Where you can speak out loud
About your doubts and fears
And what's more no one ever disappears
And you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door
You can relax on both sides of the tracks
And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote
And everyone has recourse to the law
And no one kills the children anymore
And no one kills the children anymore.
--Roger Waters

A sunset fading away in the horizon over all the tall tenements and businesses and parks and streets and cafes down below, over the mountains in the west, and oblivion evermore. The faint tint of orange, no longer blinding white, is visible with the naked eye. It soothes the mind to think, today was another day, tomorrow the sun will rise again. Day after day goes by in the city, this one like any other, full with happiness and fruitful events that the day has revealed. It is here, right now, looking out the eleventh story window of my girlfriend's apartment, where everything is perfect and serene. The sun fades away for the night, on this day forever, and the lights of the streets below twinkle their happy faces. When you can watch the sun set, it drops so suddenly that you can actually watch it go by every second of the way. The cool evening breeze blows the curtain gently against my face, and soon the sun is just a sliver over the mountain peaks. In an instant, the sun is gone.
Today was a good day. There were no reports of roadside bombs killing three and injuring two. There were no fierce bullets piercing the air from an insurgent's angry rifle. There were no rockets aimed at passing convoys, no arbitrary mortar rounds dropped on my home. Sad looks from children sitting on wagons filled with grains never cast their glance at my loaded rifle. No angry stares from young men forced out of the way of a raging humvee, speeding hellishly down a crowded street. Indeed, today was a good day, tomorrow will be better, for I am no longer in that place so full of hate.
Since I was granted a two week leave from combat, I have considered many things in a different light. Its always the small things. Children playing on the monkey bars, people sipping coffee on street-side cafes. Elderly women sitting on park benches feeding bread to the pigeons. The setting sun over the horizon has never looked so beautiful in all my life.
I am miles away from that war-torn country, and these new surroundings appear only too surreal. My girl enters the room and kisses me softly on the cheek, asking me what I’m staring at so intensely. Oh, nothing, really. I do not think she'd ever understand. How could I ever explain this awesome sight to anyone. This cannot be the real world, a society living everyday without the fear of a missile strike or eminent death. The real world is where people die, where people cry, and where people hide behind frightened eyes. Yet as I look across a sea of urban lime-light I realize that, to so many people here, it is I who am the fictional character. If this is the real world, away from all the carnage and desolation, than this cannot be for real. I must have somehow slipped away from reality. I must be in a dream.

(Sofia, Bulgaria)
Baquba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 10:57 AM 1 comments  
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
"You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows."
There was a movement in the sixties that was spurred from the Democratic Student Movement against the VietNam war. These kids had decided that peaceful protest wasn't working and that they had to go to extremist measures to spark the attention they desired. Their motto was bring the war home and they did just that. The group was responsible for more terrorist attacks on american soil than any other know organization. They bombed government offices and kidnapped officials. They final fell apart the year the war ended. The named them selves from the line in the Bob Dylan son "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". You can learn more by watching the documentary "The Weather Underground"
--the heretic

Bob Dylan -- Subterranean Homesick Blues
Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid It's something' you did
God knows when
But you're doin' it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin' for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
In the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten
Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early
May Orders from the D. A.
Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows
Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail
Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
But users, cheaters
Six-time losers
Hang around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin' for a new fool
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters
Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don't steal, don't lift Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
'Cause the vandals took the handles

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:04 PM 3 comments  
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Callous Determination
Mothers claim that when their child hurts, even from a great distance away, they know about it. They can feel it throughout their whole body. Their mind races in a torment that only a mother can describe. A sixth sense, a gut feeling. Comic heroes have it too. Some of these fictional characters have instincts that surpass that of normal human beings. With action packed suspense, the hero of the story will know when impending doom lurks around that unsuspecting corner. Spider-Man calls it his Spider Senses. Mothers call it their maternal instincts. Soldiers have it, too. We call it our “soldier’s intuition”, a strange instinct of survival that warns you before all hell breaks loose. Some of us know when chaos will explode unexpectedly, sometimes hours before it happens, sometimes seconds. We can literally feel it, the static in the air, the suffocating sensation, the butterflies in the stomach. We’ll tell each other before a mission, “Be careful, some shit’s definitely going down today.”
This feeling, much like a mother’s or a comic hero’s, seems impossible to explain. You have to be there, in a combat zone, to know it. You have to pull twenty missions a week, roll down the same dilapidated streets, see the same menacing faces, and ward off countless ambushes before you develop this psychic awareness. Soldier’s intuition: a sick and disgusting feeling that at any minute, something will go horribly wrong…
Our three truck convoy was returning to our forward operating base after a rather normal day of combat patrols. In the course of six hours, we didn’t encounter anything that looked out of place, nothing suspicious, nor did we have to blast away with our truck-mounted machine guns. This really is how a normal day goes. You drive down a highway, you pass timid motorists, you get ugly looks from pedestrians, children throw rocks at your truck or curse you with incoherent tongues. You’ll be out all day, sweating away in the blistering 131 degree afternoon temperatures. Putrid smells of raw sewage and burning garbage become acceptable after being exposed to these foul scents for a long enough time. This is all part of a good day if, when you are done, you never once had to fire your weapon.
However, our day wasn’t quite finished. We were still about six miles away from the gate, still on a bad stretch of road that was once named RPG Alley. As we approached an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint, I noticed that teenagers were running away from the general area. This sort of behavior happens regularly, but you never get used to it. There is just something that feels wrong about people running as we approach. I always have to remind myself that, no matter how friendly I am to these people, they will never trust me while I hold a 50caliber machine gun at the ready. Never the less, it was at this point that I felt that “panic” creep over me. That gut feeling. Its never once lied to me when it kicked this hard. “goddamn…”, I said to myself, “here we go again.”
But nothing! The teenagers continued to run down the street to chase a buddy on a moped. I checked behind me to reassure myself that our convoy was ok, that it was just a false alarm. How funny. How embarrassing! If anyone knew about my white-knuckled fear they’d mock me for days…
As I was focusing on our following two vehicles, a hellish boom rocked the whole truck I was sitting in. Enormous clouds of jet black smoke and hellish fires erupted a hundred feet in all directions. A flaming piece of hood and other random vehicle parts hurled themselves through the air. An entire engine block rolled and tumbled at least 50 yards before it came to a complete stop. The thunderous percussions of the mighty explosion snatched the breath from my lungs and replaced it with dry, stale fear. I could see the shockwaves of terror in microsecond intervals as it hit my eyes and rattled my brain.
I found myself, under great strain, screaming, “Oh fuck! We’ve been hit! The bastards blew up our rear truck!”
The driver and front passenger inside my truck were equally shook, cursing and screaming. Our front passenger was already on the radio, calling for a situation report. The driver was turning the truck around. I tried aiming my machine gun at any obvious signs of threat, but could not keep my eyes off the raging ball of fire.
To all of our relief, we saw our rear truck emerge from the explosion, much like you would see in a Hollywood blockbuster. As our last vehicle sped through the madness, he sent a transmission through the radio that he and his entire crew were fine. Apparently, a mysterious white pick-up truck had managed to pull off a tributary road and onto the main highway. The unknown driver pulled right behind our rear vehicle and, before the gunner could back him off, detonated his own pick-up. A suicide bomber, driving an unstoppable killing machine, must have decided to kill two birds with one stone by triggering the explosives at the exact time our last truck passed the Iraqi check point.
After a hasty assessment of the situation, we turned back to see if any of the several Iraqi guardsmen were still alive. The explosion took everyone by complete surprise. As we approached the crater where the driver detonated, we could plainly see the carnage left by the rigged pick-up truck. The first thing that attracted our attention was the burning guard tower. It was engulfed in flames caused by the burning gasoline from the pick-up. There was no longer a guard in the tower, but his machine gun was still mounted inside. The searing flames were cooking the rounds inside the gun. Shots were being fired from the tower in every direction as we approached the grisly scene.
Upon reaching this dangerous area, we placed our vehicles in a triangle pattern, to establish a secured location. We left one soldier with each truck, manning the crew-served machine guns to provide security. The rest of us advanced on the guard tower where the cooked rounds were being expelled from their smoldering casings. Keeping your cool in a situation like this is difficult, but after a few times of dealing with life and death situations you learn to turn off emotion and deal with the problem at hand. Sometimes during these gruesome ordeals, one has the tendency to let his thoughts drift into sorrow and pity. However, reality quickly sinks in as you realize that seconds wasted cost lives.
Three of us knelt down, adjacent to the concrete guard tower, to pull two of the wounded Iraqi soldiers to safety. However, at this particular time, no one was safe from the burning bullets blasting away over our heads. A sergeant on our team reached up into the gunner’s nest and quickly yanked a long stream of bullets away from the gun. Seconds later, the runaway gun halted, as the fire burned away the remaining rounds. Everything felt much safer after the arbitrary shooting had stopped, and we were then able to perform immediate first aide on the wounded guardsmen.
The Iraqi soldiers were severely injured by the blast. Each of them were missing arms and legs. One was slowly dying as his intestines were falling out of his abdomen. The man seemed to be losing consciousness as he went from pleading for help to slowly muttering a prayer to “Allah”. The other was barely hanging on to life as his brain matter was seeping from the back of his skull. He was silent and motionless, except for his quivering eyes and a painful facial expression of defeat.
As I ran back to our truck to get excess medical supplies, I ran through what looked like a ram sacked mannequin warehouse. Pieces of burning flesh, body parts, and articles of clothing were strewn everywhere. An arm here, a leg there. A torso, a boot, a piece of head. Fingers, toes, a jaw, a busted watermelon. In the heat of the moment, you don’t think about body parts as being real. They seem artificial. Completely lifeless. Plastic mannequin pieces. However, it’s the smell that reminds you of the reality at hand. The burning hair, the melted skin and charred bone. The stench of death. Mortality at its most obvious.
Within minutes, coalition forces arrived with local authorities and paramedics. US coalition provided investigation teams and more troops for added security. Local police officers and detectives searched the surrounding neighborhood. One officer found the license plate of the vaporized pick-up truck. Another was scraping resin off the engine block, to find some sort of identifying numbers. The fire department showed up and extinguished the flaming guard tower, while a paramedic team gathered the cluttered body parts. The two wounded Iraqi guardsmen were loaded into an ambulance and rushed to a hospital. They would later be confirmed dead on arrival.
As I look back at this horrible experience of carnage and bloodshed, I remain more confused than ever. Even as I type this harrowing tale of another day in a combat zone, I am still unable to find the ends that justify the means. I can replay the events over and over in my head, and all I’m left with is jumbled images of the explosion and maimed human beings. What if that car-bomb would have hit my comrades in the rear truck? Would my feelings be any different? Five Iraqi soldiers were blown to bits, but does that make any difference?
I think about all the action movies and violent video games that people subject themselves to; for entertainment, for viewing pleasure. Nothing you see on a television screen could ever come close to displaying the humanity involved in killing, or the lack of. Violent death still does not register clearly in my conscious, yet I deal with it every day. After the events that took place on that “typical” afternoon, after seeing an extremist suicide bomber kill his own countrymen in an act of warfare, I realize that this mission, Operation Iraqi Freedom, will bring forth no easy solutions, and has no answers for a peaceful conclusion. The war was supposed to be justified. We were supposed to find the weapons of mass destruction that were never here. We were supposed to be the harbingers of freedom and democracy for the oppressed people of Iraq. All we’ve done is instill fear into the entire populace. US occupation has opened up a can of worms for the political juggernauts from afar, while everyone here is at grave risk of losing it all. The future looks more ominous with every new casualty, and holds nothing more than a foreboding promise of lasting violence to come. Knowing that a US military presence is only part of the problem, I wonder everyday if peace will be achieved, with or without our nuisance.

Baquba, Iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:12 PM 5 comments  
Iraq Now
The following are very good points from the heretic. The problems in Iraq are only so obvious. support for anti-coalition forces are strengthening in the holy cities of Najaf, almost to the point where the common man has taken arms. this is no longer a fight between the commonly labeled "insurgents" and US forces. some war supporters may elude to the fact that we cannot allow our boys to die in vain, however, what exactly does that mean? can we place a price on our soldiers for a stablized corporate economy that looks further from established everyday? iraq is nothing more than a power struggle, and the whole facade of protecting "our" freedoms and democracies seems to grow more putrid with every american casualty. where do the means justify the ends?


It is now half way through my year deployment in Iraq. The transfer of power to the Iraqi Administration is complete, however changes on the front lines haven't changed much. Improved Explosive Devices are still going off, RPGs are still flying by and mortars keep falling on our side of the wire. The insurgents have switched to attacking more civilian and Iraqi government targets and casualties are down from last few months. However, we have seen clams before the storm. The handful of Iraqis that I call friends assure me that the peace won't last. Iyad Allawi, the interim prime minister for Iraq is not trusted by any of the Iraqis I speak to. they see him as a pawn of American capitalists and has a history of being a political bully. He has even been labeled by our own CIA as a "thug". Allawi's history's a Bath Party operative doesn't seem to help matters and Iraqi nationals see another Saddam Hussein in the making. Another problem that brews at the bottom of Iraqi politics is as more independence that filters into separate tribes and sects there becomes less unity. Tribal leaders are worried about equal representation and unbalanced rights as we see more favoritism in benefiting neighbors. The Sunnis have never gotten along well with Shias and Kurds and Arabs have their disagreements. As Israel supports and trains Kurdish commandos, the Kurds become more likely to secede from Iraq. The division will threaten Turkey, Syria and Iran. If the Kurds are allowed their own nation there will be a scramble for other groups to control separate states. As middle-eastern countries place funding with one sect or another the wide spread violence will be impossible to quell. I imagine Ethnic genocide if the Sunni triangle became a private nation. A Turkish official compared it to the breakup of Yugoslavia, saying "Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq." and mentioned that "Turkey would burn the blanket to get kill a flea." when speaking on how to deal with Kurdish militants. The feeling I get is that everybody is waiting for an excuse to resume hostilities and the US soldier is stuck in the middle. The Iraqis are not prepared to handle any sort of conflict. The Civil Defense Corp is still poorly trained and equipped. ICDC soldiers in my sector wear miss matched uniforms with some civilian clothes. Some don't even have shoes. At an Iraqi police station the officers are running around with only five bullets a piece and often beg me for food, money or ammunition. The Iraqi National Guard suffer from a high absentee rating and abandon their posts in the first threat of attack. Many police, ICDC and ING also work on the insurgents side. Corruption is very apparent in all three organizations. The infrastructure is still in shambles. Markets stay closed and resources are blocked. Transportation is horrible as roads are still destroyed or in bad repair. Iraqis are afraid of being held up by rebels or shot by US check points. There are many villages that are with out power which is needed to pump water from the rivers to provide irrigation to arid farmland. Waste is piling up without sanitation services. Schools and hospitals are needed in every community. Foreign contractors are taking up jobs that Iraqis could perform and corporations are moving in that only remove money to a struggling nation. Everyone in Iraq is asking where is all the money from America going?" Without any signs of opportunities or improved standard of living, Iraqis will not look kindly on American occupiers. What is our every changing goal for an occupation in Iraq?


posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:04 AM 2 comments  
Monday, August 09, 2004
I had no choice in coming to Iraq. This is the Army, and when you go to war, there is no room for argument. However, the war was not my concern. My concern was if my mind would have peace with what I was doing. At first I was like many soldiers and said this is my job, and I am going to do it whether I like it or not. My life took a change, however, when I went home on leave and saw my new born child. He became the center of my life and I would do anything to make his life better or protect him. The night after he was born, I had a nightmare that I was in Iraq again. The nightmare wasn't that I was a soldier in Iraq. This time I was the civilian, running away from bullets while carrying my son in my hands. The nightmare ended when a bullet shot through my arms and into my child's head.
I woke up in a cold sweat when I realized it was only a dream, but in a sick kind of way it wasn't. In my case it was a nightmare, but for the Iraqi citizens, this was an every day occurrence. My perspective on Iraqi citizens had changed as well as my mission. I promised myself that I would only pull that god forbidden trigger to protect me and my buddies. Fuck the mission. These people are not terrorists, at least not for the most part. These people are pissed off citizens that lost a loved one or lost a house to a 500 pound bomb. Put it into perspective: what if the tables where turned on you? I would dedicate my life to killing every soldier in the world. Regardless of the technicalities of this horrible debacle, if some stray round killed my child, this struggle would become very personal.
Will I ever have peace with myself? Probably not, but I will dedicate my life after this war to atone for my actions in Iraq. I will teach my son the value of life and what hatred and greed can lead to. All I want in this life is to raise my child in a world free of fear and hatred. I just hope I can make it home to my son to before another father compensates for the loss of his. XXXX


posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:15 PM 2 comments  
Thursday, July 29, 2004

Boys, oblivious to their own mortality
Marching in rank and file
To meet their demise.
While ravenous swine pull the strings
To proliferate posh social standings.
On the front
Cheers of victory,
For 1000 dead
Places carved in history.
The patriotic blind,
Their faces clad in Red White
And Blue,
To hide their pain,
To mask their pride.
Rest assured 1000 died
To save Amerika.
The ultimate sacrifice,
The perfect disguise.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:51 PM 19 comments  
Friday, July 23, 2004
My Daze
My days go like this:
I want to write something like "as always it seems that now that I've the time to write I've got nothing to say" and blame it on the distraction of survival and tie it all up with "which is the same way the system keeps us all ignorant and in step."
I'm sick of bitching about that. All is a waste in this Hell and there's little I can do save for survive to fight on my own terms when I'm released in the future. Philosophy is for the observer, not the participant.
All I read and all I write just drives me deeper into fits of rage that bottle themselves away, stuffed with rags in the necks.
Someone dies. "Better him than me" raises the chorus. Amen.
Eat another meal from another brown plastic bag. Shit in a drum full of diesel. Smoke stale cigarettes. Bitch about the heat. Slap insects as they eat through your skin. Sigh.
People say I joined for the wrong reasons. Maybe wanting to educate myself and see Europe are terrible evils that I don't understand. Maybe they're right. Maybe the only reason to join the Army is to "kill them towel-heads."
Communication with the outside world is a beautiful curse. Now all my friends know I'm losing my mind. Not that I could expect a shred of understanding from the other end of this internet connection, but I can only take so many blind assurances that "it'll be alright."
Not to say I don't appreciate the effort, but damn. It seems like so much hollow lip service and crossed fingers sometimes. Maybe my brain's just been wired into a state of constant distrust and denial. How could anyone care? Don't they know what I'm doing over here?
I've been involuntarily extended by nearly a year to play my role in the movie. I am not the main character. This does not bode well.
Often I'm convinced that those around me have no idea what life is. They seem content to pay bills and wait for their promotion to come through, so they can retire in twenty years and get a job working the door at Wal*Mart.
It's been said experience is a strange teacher, giving the test first and the lesson second, but no one ever mentions what a prick experience can be.
My capacity for original thought has dwindled into nothing. I had a shred of talent once, but I've no idea what happened to it. This goes back to my preoccupation with survival. It all comes back to that. What else is there to concern yourself with when it's your life they're playing pawn with? I know that the world is spiraling around the bowl and it's up to those like myself to stop it, but what can I do from here? Survive?
Fuck me.

--joe public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:30 PM 3 comments  
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Accidental Terrorist

Enlisted in the ranks under king George II
Trained as a peace keeper but terror is my weapon
Superior tech-threat the enemy cowers
In mud huts and holy towers
Watching CNN with xenophobic fear
Mecca's bought on Wall Street as proud imperialists cheer
Who want's to marry a millionaire on real world Baghdad
There will be no Ramadan this year
I'm a mercenary that kills for college tuition
A time honored family tradition
The floatation device for the working class man
Trade a picket fence for blood soaked sand
I'll learn to hate the Arab face
Like a taint among the human race
Prejudice claims another soul
At the end of a bullets trace
Hitler reborn in a bigot's cause
The SS rally under Patriot laws
Media scandal, vote Nazi for four more
Write a check to the Federal Reserve and celebrate the spread of war
Ignore education, the environment and the national debt
It's Super bowl time, plug in to the TV set
While I waste my time, my tears, my life
As my words never leave the internet.

--the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:38 PM 0 comments  
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Close encounter with death

Today, being the third day of august, was the closest I had ever been to death. It all begins this afternoon with a routine trip to the government building. We aimlessly wait around while our boss accomplishes his tasks around the building. We had picked up about fifty mirrors that are going to be installed in our new gym, then a few of us got hair cuts. After all that was finished, we went to our vehicles and were homeward bound. As we were leaving the boss decided to change routes and take the dreaded "RPG Alley".

Our journey is coming to an end as we prepare to enter the next to last checkpoint. A ways down the road a white pick up truck enters into our convoy. My vehicle passes like normal, as does our trail vehicle. As our final vehicle passes the white pick-up truck, we entered into the checkpoint. The final stretch was upon us, so we thought. Not even twenty feet from the checkpoint, the pick-up truck that was behind our convoy explodes. The truck following us happened to be a random car-bomb, or as the military calls it, a vehicle born improvised explosive device. Pieces of the truck go flying all over the place, Iraqi National Guardsmen run for their lives. Our radios then had constant traffic. We followed our platoon SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and exited the kill zone. We then, assessed our situation making sure we had no US casualties. The boss then had to make a decision, go back to the blast site or go home. He decided to turn around and go back. Upon our arrival at the impact area, there was pieces of burning pick-up truck scattered all over the road. We were quick to set up our over watch position and started to scan our sectors of fire for security purposes. Myself, two sergeants and the boss exited our vehicles and safely walked to the impact area. As we entered the area I started to pull out my camera and take pictures for our report. Walking around the area I encountered many things that a normal person would never be able to handle. However, I maintained myself and accomplished my mission. The impact area was filled with blood and charred remains of lifeless Iraqis . One of the Iraqis was so badly burned that his clothing was no longer on him, he had a hole in his chest the size of a basketball and one of his arms were missing. Another Iraqi was flung across the road so fast that his face ended up inside of a half of a watermelon sitting nearby. His body was also lifeless and mangled from head to toe. As we put him in the body bag, I noticed his face was completely blown off. The third Iraqi National Guardsmen that was killed had holes all throughout his body, and crimson red blood dripping from his mouth, his eyes rolled to the back of his head, which was charred like a burnt steak sitting on a barbecue for hours. The person that was in the vehicle that blew up was tossed from the vehicle and ended up, well I can't really tell, there were bits and pieces of him all over the place. There was still hope after all. Three Iraqis were still alive, however they were in critical condition. I put my camera away, grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and began to help aid one of the doctors. We had one Iraqi that had a hole in his head with blood just squirting everywhere. We grabbed medical equipment and quickly went to work. There were two others that were wounded, however I did not know the status of injuries, my time was spent with the one Iraqi I was with. After the victims were rushed to the hospital and the deceased put in body bags, we were bombarded with questions from the Military Police. The questions were simple, your basic "what happened, how many wounded, how many killed?" When questioning was finished we each grabbed a bottle of water , returned to vehicles and drove home.

This concludes my personal account of a close brush with death. I hope this story has enlightened you of what really goes on here in Iraq, details of carnage that you would not hear on CNN.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:57 PM 2 comments  
Monday, July 12, 2004
Variance (The Cause vs. The Protocols)
"we are the chosen. We are the only true men. Does it not follow that nature herself has predestined us to dominate the whole world?"- The Protocols

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a "text book for world domination" said the anti-Nazi author Konrad Heiden. It is a document that may have caused more violence then any other piece of literature since the Bible. The earliest version known was written anonymously by a French lawyer named Maurice Joly as a political satire against Napoleon III's machiavelli method of rule. In 1864 Joly was discovered and sentenced fifteen months in prison and for a short time the Protocols were forgotten. In 1890 The Protocols were rewritten by orders of the Russian Ochrana, the czar's secret police, with anti-Semitic material. Sergei Nilus added these writings to his own religious beliefs in a book partial titled "The Anti-Christ is Near at Hand" to coincide with the First Zionist Movement (to return to Palestine) in 1897. This book was designed to discredit Russian revolutionaries as pawns of a Jewish conspiracy to create a one world government. The Protocols have been taken seriously by the likes of Wilheim II, Czar Nicholas II, and even the industrialist Henry Ford, who used them to convince President Woodrow Wilson to not join the League of Nations. Hitler used the Protocols to support his anti-Jewish concerns in "Mein Kampf", which suggested that when every house hold owned a copy of the Protocols the Jewish threat would be broken. Even today "the Protocols still chill readers with its prophetic description of methodology for tyranny by a few." says Jim Marrs. It's formula for domination follows close to the beliefs of today's elitists. The document states the controlling the thoughts of the masses by manipulating the media, creating conflicts, spreading hunger, destruction,and plague, and by seducing and distracting the youth, a person can accomplish global domination.

Ever since I first learned of such corruption through the teachings of artists, authors, and musicians, I've taken an interest in becoming more aware of the oppressive powers in the world. i've even gone as far as putting myself into situations where I could prove to myself the legitimacy of my theories. However, until after discovering the Protocols, I have decided for the first time to organize the ideas of my "cause" into a written format.I used the Protocols as a guide that I inverted to come up with some main points of The Cause. ways to promote a lifestyle free of tyranny. I will no doubt need to alter these points, but this is what I have put down for the time being. As I would like to continue to revise this document, I would enjoy hearing your feedback. With much effort, someday we might thrive in a society where we can all live as we would love without fear. A place just without law and abundant in necessities so nobody goes without. A world we can share responsibly and reason. Just because it might be difficult, doesn't mean it is right to not try. If we try and fail or do not try at all we stand to gain the same, nothing.
--the heretic

1) Expose the oppressors by becoming educated and developing many open forms of communication to share truths. Publicize the government. Teach our youth the truth and promote creativity and free-thinking allowing them to choose fairly with an open mind. Open media to free channels, bringing more knowledge to the masses. Oppose laws that prevent the opinions of the public from being heard. End censorship. We can not repair social problems if they are swept under the carpet.
2) End violence. War is a last resort option for protection of the innocent.
3)Alter the values of success from greed driven materialistic gain to the creation of assets to civilization, such as art and invention. Avoid the apathetic distraction evoked by the entertainment culture. Teach society that respect is not won through fear and money. Greatness can only be achieved with reason and integrity.
4)Diversify the government sharing more power to the state. Communities should become independent. Elect educated civil minded leaders intent on governing truthfully and responsibly. 5)Revise the justice system replacing detention with reform. Protect civil right with more lenient law. End Capital Punishment.
6)Continue unprejudiced exploration of answers to the unexplained through free religious and scientific practice and cooperation.
7)Bravely challenge tyranny peacefully everywhere. Make preparations to exist without support of the system. Urge nonviolent rational sedition. Discourage sellouts and servants of the machine, while increasing prestige of heroism for The Cause.
8)Protect the environment. End pollution and recycle. Leave our children a healthy habitat.

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:14 PM 17 comments  
Friday, July 02, 2004
7.62 Millimeter
I never knew the man I killed
on that Arabian summer day.
I never knew the pain he felt
as his life had slipped away.
I never knew his children lost
by bullets aimed astray.
I never saw his crying wife
when she heard the news that day.
I never knew the vows he swore
or the god to whom he prayed.
His promise to avenge beloved victims
of foreign evils who wished to stay.
I will never forget the eternal tragedy
of that man's final day.
When he ran across the alley shooting
what decisions could I make?
He shot at me, he chose to die.
No glory for the brave.
I chose to live, I pulled the trigger.
The filthy gutter was his grave.
In every war people die.
War is hell they say.
But they didn't know the man I killed
like I knew him that day.
If I could have met the man I killed
before I took his life away,
I would have told him I wish we could have met
another time, another place.

baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:08 PM 2 comments  
Friday, June 25, 2004
Burning Eagles and Lying Elephants
Something From Nothing

How do I redeem myself for the crimes commited in Iraq? The violation of morals by the nation are easy to shuffle off to figure heads in politics, but the personal transgressions are more difficult to avoid. The war might be a get-rich-scheme by the powerful elitists. However, I refuse to allow my fallen friends and the men who have died by my hand become only dollars in the bank for some blue blooded dictator. I turn these self inflicted tragedies into fuel that fills the rifts in my hollowed soul and my resistance to oppresion spark a cumbustion of outrage against the true enemies of freedom, which are the tyrants that strive to dominate all people under one order. It is by this cause that one positive pheonix will fly from this wretched fire to cleanse my guilted heart with pure flame. So that I may be forgiven by the men who fought beside me and the victims across the field of battle, and after constant effort and abstinence to apathy, I might learn to forgive myself.

American Accountability

Does the Democracy of our government end at the ballot? It seems like only once in every four years I effect the fate in which I am governed and then only fell cheated after the outcome. The outcry of sympathy the president recieves when I make claims of his faults are surprisingly overwhelming. The defense that he is just a fall guy scape goat to libral finger pointers is weak. After election day the president is free to rule as he whims, with out consideration of the people's views. A true Democracy allows the citizens to guide the direction of the country. We will all become responsible for our natation's actions and representation by our politicians and our military. Give me an America that is united and I will stand by it. Give me isolation and a gag and I will give you sedition!

--the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 4:34 PM 5 comments  
Thursday, June 24, 2004
The primary mission of the military since the end of "major combat operations" has become to provide stability and support, "to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government".A big part of this is training and supporting the three facets of Iraqi order: The Iraqi Police, ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corps), and the New Iraqi Army. However in our current area of operations, we have not been effective in accomplishing this mission.
All the missions that are conducted from our camp are geared towards insuring the safety of our convoys and protection of our camp. Missions such as: Force Protection- The guarding of the camp it self. Counter Mortar- Where we set up observation points looking for people that are shooting mortar rounds at our base. Counter IED (Improvised Explosive Device)- which only targets our passing military convoys. These missions take up all of our combat force, and shows that we are not actually accomplishing the mission but just protecting ourselves, just trying to survive.
Of the 700 people on my camp there is about 12 people actually participating in the mission of training these new Iraqi protection services. The rest are involved in the missions I previously mentioned, and in supporting the camp so that we successfully run those missions. So in other words, all 700 of us are in Iraq for those 12 people trying to complete the real mission of why we're in Iraq. We are a huge protection service for 12 guys. But in all actuality those 12 people have been assigned these positions as a side job, and they only spend a limited amount of time actually training and helping the Iraqis.
The new Iraqi Army has received the most training and funding of the three organizations. They go through a 3 week basic training, in southern Iraq, which is ran by American Drill Sergeants. I asked one of the Drill Sergeants what he thought of the New Iraqi Army and he said,"These guys are pat hectic. They have no motivation, or discipline. To get them to do anything I had to threaten to take away their cigarettes." Though they train regularly and probably do many missions, there is none in our area of operations which includes the city of Baquba, sometimes called "Little Beirut".
The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps or "ICDC", which I have had the most direct contact with of the three, is probably second in line for quality of training and funding. They go through some preliminary training and then go to a Professional Leadership and Development Course. Though I don't think this training is helping them.
The ICDC's primary mission is setting up check points where we tell them to, and search vehicles for illegal items. At these check points however they do a poor job. Many times we have witnessed the ICDC sleeping, not checking vehicles, or not even being at their assigned place of duty. We have also heard many stories of corruption, such as letting vehicles with illegal weapons through their check point for money.
There have been many accounts of the ICDC abandoning their posts in fear of losing their lives. We were once called to check on an ICDC check point that was reported to be mortared. When we arrived their was no ICDC to be found. A month ago an ICDC checkpoint took small arms fire and two RPG's were fired at them. Instead of firing back with the AK-47's their provided and trained with, they fled to us so that we could clear the area.
Lastly there's the Iraqi Police, their very under funded and under trained. This leads to a lack of motivation on their behalf. With a weak infrastructure it makes their jobs very difficult. There's no means to respond to civil problems. So what's the point? A few weeks ago a couple of I.P.'s came to the front gate and reported seeing a group of people that they suspected were planting IED's. Instead of approaching the suspects to investigate what was going on, they ran to us. Because of their poor training they were afraid, and felt they were not paid enough to risk their lives.
Many of the Iraq Police were the same cops from the Saddam Regime times. Some still proudly show us pictures of their torture and murder tactics. The unit that was here before us told of a captured Iranian insurgent that they were holding over night. They got the information they wanted out of him after hours of torture, and raping him numerous times.
So how do we make the current situation better? If we pack up and get out of here it would force them to start handling their own problems. We definitely don't need as many troops that are over here risking their lives for the very few who are making any kind of difference. The government says we're here to fight the war on terrorism, but when we destroyed the Saddam Regime we actually opened the flood gates for terrorists to come in.
We have now become the targets for terrorism so that these acts of terror are not happening in the US. Is that right? Especially with all the precautions and "homeland" defenses we have established since 9/11. Wasn't that enough? How things are being handled here have been ineffective. If we're going to stay here, we need to put more effort into training the Iraqi's so that they can run their own country, instead of running to us every time something happens. If we don't things will never get better, we will be here for a very long time, and many many lives will be lost.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:52 PM 1 comments  
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Welcome To Enlightenment
So, this is draft three. I wrote some cheese dick verbose shit about how good it is to see we've found the same light in this and although we've all got blood on our hands, our fights yet to begin, etc. and to be honest, dude... I'm scared sick. I'm tired of getting shot at and killing another man's freedom fighter. No, I've no problem offing a relegious zealot (one's as good as another) but he is only defending his homeland against the invader. The white infadel and his occupational army. Why? I can't vent this shit. I try to start and it gets on top of me. The anxiety, then the depressed homesick government hate stop lost year stolen blind rage while I'm chained here invisible by a name on a page. I hit five months here next week... I don't know how much more I can take. I'm shell shocked. A door slams and I'm curled up inside my kevlar. I hear gunshots and run at them. I don't understand myself anymore. The malaria pill has stolen my sleep and my dreams are hallucinations, not escape. I'm in Hell, deaf from gunfire and mortar round impacts, sweating blood and tears killing for the machine while I die inside, and God damn it! There is no God, so where does that leave an existentialist punk who only wanted a free ride to Europe and a dollar for college? Mired in rage at what he can't change? In denial of the facts? I've shed no tears over my time here, nor will I, but I cannot accept that this is really happening around me. People say when you die, you can see yourself from outside your body. When you kill, it's the same way. So here I am watching myself from afar while bodies fall limp and I slouch relieved. Tommorrow, I'll wake up and ignore the politics and ignorance and scrape a day off the calender, bathe in brown water to move the sand around on my sunburnt skin, and hope that a round doesn't come thundering out of the sky and bring me peace.

--Joe Public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 5:41 PM 0 comments  
Friday, June 11, 2004
War is an ugly business. The true nature of a person can be revealed when confronted with this ugliness. Whether its cowardice, deception, caring, brutality, or any other way a person can be, their true colors will come out, and a person is always changed after going through a war.
The darkness and ugliness I've seen in some of my fellow soldiers often disturbs me. I hear too often, "we should just kill all these people," or "when ever an IED goes off we should just spray down everyone in sight." They don't care about who's innocent or who's not. Or to hear things like, "I can't wait to kill one of these haji's," which I hear things of the sort all the time, it just makes me sick.
Most IED's (Improvised Explosive Devises) are hand detonated, meaning there's a wire leading to a control switch, or there's a person with a remote. About a month and a half ago my section came across a rather intricate IED. There where two wires enclosed within a piece of bamboo, and when ran over the two wires touched closing the circuit, blowing the IED.
The IED blew on our lead vehicle, knocking the vehicle off the road and injuring all within. Thankfully nobody was killed. The second vehicle started opening fire into a nearby field, later saying he saw movement, and thought it was an ambush. The only thing that was moving over there was a cow, which didn't move anymore.
There was one cluster of about three houses very near by, so once our reinforcements arrived we decided to raid the houses. As us and one of our sister units, which is known for their hair trigger antics, entered I could see the malice in some of their eyes. We found three AK 47's, which one is allowed per household in Iraq for protection, and some old military equipment. Nothing was found that proved that these people had set the IED. We took two of the men in for questioning anyways, and discovered nothing. Not yet have we found someone dumb enough to plant an IED in front of their own home.
So no one was brought in for justice on this most unfortunate incident, but the next week I found out what our sister unit's idea of justice would have been. While escorting one of their NCO's (non-commissioned officers) to another camp he had told us,"Yeah, if that were us, we would have immediately went over to those houses, and shot'em all!" It made my stomach turn, and I wondered how many times they had done such things. How many innocent women and children had they slaughtered. Or how many houses had they blown up with their MK19's (automatic grenade launchers) when a few shots came from a near by field.
Everyday we make more enemies, here and across the world. All this war is doing is breeding remorseless killers, out of them and us. For every attack they make on us, we make one on them and vice versa. This back and forth fight will never end, until we pull out of here. And the sad part of it all is the innocent people dieing in between or fighting, which is what is making most of these enemies.
I will kill in the defense of myself or of my fellow soldiers, but only if I can positively identify the threat. Otherwise it's unjust murder. Our rules of engagement even state that you must positively identify the target before using force, however this is not happening here in Iraq. I don't want to go through life with a guilty conscience of innocent blood on my hands. Who am I to play God with these peoples lives. Some of these soldiers don't care though, and have no remorse about the bad things that are happening here. Look at what happened at the prison in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib. What those soldiers did was sick and wrong. Then in retaliation the Iraqi's cut off an American contractors head.
Can't we see it will not stop, and that it will only get worse. Most the people who hate us here and are causing most of the attacks, all they want is for us to leave. So please use your voice, help get us out of here, and end all this senselessness.


posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:18 PM 1 comments  
It has been a while since I wrote, so here is the latest. It is getting hotter every day out here in the "Q" (Iraq). Today was one-ten and every day it goes up a degree. Wearing the body armor makes it worse. We stuck a temperature gauge underneath mine, it read one-hundred and twentyfive. Soldiers are passing out and getting heat stroke and the medics are running around sticking IVs in there buts to get them hydrated and back in action. I drink water non stop and eat a lot of salt to retain liquids. If you get a good case of the shits, which is easy to get with all the bugs, dust and bad water, you could die.
I found out some serious negative side effects of the Malaria pill they got us on. It seems to cause sleeples nights, anxiety, and brian damage. But that might just be the fact that we are in a stressful combat zone. If anyone can find out info on the Malaria pill, Aralen Chloroquine Phosphate let me know what it is doing to me. I got so many vacinations in me I am a walking science project. Anthrax in the righht arm and small pox in the left. When I go in for shots they tell me a list of drugs in a one shot cocktail. I am good to go after one stab. They make me sign a paper with a bunch of ABCs one it and expect me to me a happy soldier. I think it is a mind control syrum to make super fighters.
You may have caught a glimpse of my little metel box I call home on CNN. A car bomb killed a bunch of Iraqis and one of our beloved Captains near Baqubah. I'm sure this was televised. Anyways, we live in 18 by 8 foot metel containers called carmexs. They have a widow that you can't see out because sand bags are stacked to high and an air conditioner that is never running because we have no electricity. You can imagine how hot it get inside during the day. Since I work at night as a sniper it creates a sleeping problem. I have three room mates which gives me about as much space as I need to sit in a fetal position and wait for a mortar round to crash through the sheet metal roof.
One good thing about the weather is at least now we have hot food. The meals are cooked over at a different camp and brought to us. They sit around for hours until chow time. By then they are nice and hot. No flavor, but hot. It beats an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). Modern day rations in a little plastic bag. Food made by scientists instead of farmers. I eat my Malaria pill as a dessert. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
The scouts have four new guys. They are all tankers striaght out of Basic. They are young 18, 19 most of them and they don't have a clue what is going on. The scouts don't seem to talk to them much. How do you make conversation with a guy who is there to replace you after an Improvised Explosive blows your arms and legs off. It is like saying hello to a ghost you aren't sure is there. And the last thing you want is another friend that will no doubt die once you've grown attached. It is better if they don't have names. Just Fuck'n New Guy. They make the mistakes we used to and we call them stupid and green. We allready risked are lives so much, so the FNGs are made to do the dirty jobs. We are going to be here for eight more months, so I am sure that each batch of privates will be more isolated then the last. After a few fire fights they will start to gain some recognition. One day is a year out here.

-the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:02 PM 2 comments  
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Commemorate your first confirmed kill with a combat patch!
yesterday i was walking to the dinning facility at our lovely FOB when some unruly e-6 asshole stopped me and said, " hey specialist, arent you going to sew on a combat patch!?" there was angst and authority in his voice, it made me sick. i replied,"uh, hell no sergeant." aggrivated, he replied, "well why the hell not?!!" cool, calmly, and collected, i answered,"because, sergeant, some things just aren't worth fighting for."
he walked away huffing like bitch in heat. i smiled. insignificant though it was, it was still a victory.

*hey soldier, wanna really piss off your nco's?? then dont wear the combat patch. killing fellow man or watching you buddy die should never be glorified.

fuck the army.
baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:42 PM 3 comments  
Friday, June 04, 2004
...being in the army is tough these days.
Everyday, soldiers all over iraq roll outside of their barbed wire perimeters and go out to look for trouble. the problem is that the soldiers usually find it. it is to go unsaid that not only do we face stressful situations from within our own organization, but from outside our camps as well. on a day to day basis we concern ourselves with death by IED (improvised Explosive Devise). every soldier dreads these phantom killers found on the side of the road. unfortunately, 9 out of 10 times they are not found until they explode into someones windshield. of course we also worry about ambushes, another one of the insurgents' favorite pastimes. at the time of attack, the sound of bullets passing by your ears and rocket propelled grenades exploding in front of you hypes you up on adrenaline. however, after the initial attack, when given the chance to think it over, you dwell on how close you came to being sent home in twenty pieces, and how it looked to cut an iraqi militant in half with a 50 caliber machine gun.
the concerns for personal safety and that of your comrades are too many to ponder, but not enough that they can't subconsciously float through your head during a patrol. you find yourself wondering, "what hand could i live without?", or, "would it be worth living as a burned up vegetable for the rest of my life?" i myself have determined that i could live happily the rest of my life as long as i had my eyes and ears, so i could see and hear the beauty. its a lot to lay on an 18 year old kid who is fresh out of high school, like some of my friends are, but to others in our mid twenties like myself, the whole thing is just weird and disgusting. its hard to fight in a war that you cannot in good faith support, to fight for an army that involuntarily extended your departure from the war machine, and to fight for the cheap and greedy values that started this bloody debacle. more importantly, i simply could not imagine the pain i would be inflicting on my family for not coming home alive.
its tough to describe the stress level of being involved in this war in iraq. eventually one gets used to having his/her life endangered 14 times a day, and the sounds of mortar rounds hitting the camp only makes for a humorous situation. it has been said that war is hell, who could not agree with that. However, of all the hopelessly stressful aspects of our lives here, at least we DON'T have to worry about those pesky threats of instant and painful death that weapons of mass destruction can afford. there's something we can be thankful for, one less atrocity to worry about.

stop this madness. stop this war.

baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:34 PM 0 comments  
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
The Battle of Baquba
It was a hot and windy summer day when again chaos errupted in the city of baquba. on this day of june 25,2004 the iraqi insurgency sought out to cause as much havoc as possible before the june 30th deadline for an independent government. the vacant streets of the downtown area were covered in an ominous haze of dust and smoke as our convoy sped through in an attempt to reach a coalition occupied police station. once there, we were to assist as back-up in retaliation to rocket attacks earlier that morning. one mile from our destination we were ambushed by black-clad insurgents from roof tops and windows of surrounding buildings. we stopped
only long enough to fight through the attack, taking small arm fire and dodging rocket propelled grenades that were exploding around our gun trucks. we hastily countered the attack by responding with overwhelming fire power from 50 caliber machine guns and MK19 automatic grenade launchers. with no apparent life creeping in the hostile buildings, we reported the ambush to command and continued to traverse to the police station.
as we approached the fortified station, we could clearly see one block ahead of us an intense fire fight in progress. once secured inside the wire, myself and a small squad positioned ourselves on top of the building, to provide security and take sniper positions aimed at the conflict below.
what i saw was truly inspiring...

A large group of ordinary iraqi men and wide-eyed teenaged boys with ak-47 rifles were staging a fierce assault on what appeared to be the same militia men who had been attacking US forces all day. at first glance they had the darkly dressed insurgents on the run, killing any who chose to stand in the open to resist the attack. finally, the outnumbered group of militants dug into a defensive position provided by an abandoned building. small arm fire poured out of the windows at the advancing party of attackers. several of the advancing men dropped dead in their tracks. finally, the group positioned themselves behind the walls of the occupied building, completely surrounding their adversaries inside.
for several long minutes, no fire was exchanged. suddenly another large group of iraqis stormed up the street and advanced directly up to the building. the other armed iraqis followed suit and rushed into the battered structure. large amounts of gunfire were heard from within, accompanied by loud shouts and screaming. finally the attackers emerged into the street, cheering and thrusting their rifles above their heads. some men were dragging out their deceased friends while others were congratulating each other with broad smiles and firm handshakes. after a hasty celebration, a majority of the group assembled and trotted down the streets. more gunfire could be heard in the distance.
a captain approached our squad and asked us what we saw. we described the event that took place, but were unsure of why it had happened. the captain informed us that, apparently, the local population had decided earlier that enough was enough. growing tired of consistant violence in their once peaceful neighborhoods, a large group of ordinary buisnessmen, shop keeps, and farmers took up arms, put their frustrations of american occupation aside, and commenced to weed out the insurgency that had taken over baquba the previous night. what we witnessed was the citizens of baquba taking back their proud city.

from the very start, the war in iraq has been nothing more than a power grab. the Bush Administration expresses the US's intentions of establishing democracy with the hidden agenda to build a corporate economy in the middle east. on the other hand, sects of Islamic extremists fight to drive out the occupying american forces, led by men such as Muqtada al-Sadr, who only wish to set up his own autonomous power. members of the Ba'ath party fight to take back what was once saddam hussein's regime, while Shi'ite holy warriors fight to perpetuate their own conformed ideologies, often seeking help from al qaeda terrorists. as in any war, innocent civilians are murdered and maimed by the ensuing violence. nobody thus far has represented the voice of the people, not until the battle of baquba.
on june 25th, it was the citizens of baquba who were the true freedom fighters. although the battle that took place was of a small scale confined within its own city limits, the people's intentions to fight back were sound. it took great courage for ordinary men to take arms and defend their neighborhoods. these brave people set a good example of what needs to be done in the rest of iraq if a true democracy is to take hold. the founding of a democratic iraq should not be secured through outside intervention, nor should the iraqis succumb to extremism within its borders. Henry David Thoreau once said that the people get exactly the government in which they deserve. if this is true, than iraq's future for an independent government rests solely in the hands of the iraqi people, the same people who fought whole-heartedly for their livelihoods in the city of baquba.

baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 6:45 PM 4 comments  
Sunday, May 23, 2004
SPC Spoon's Bad Day
The name of Specialist Spoon has been changed to protect him from ill treatment from his superiors.

The concussion of the mortar fire shook the forward operating base. Not a single soldier all over camp was standing. They lie face down pulling their helmets tight with both hands unsure if it's enemy fire. A voice from a mega phone calls out "OUTGOING FIRE!" As the soldiers stand they knock the dust from their fatigues and continue business as usual. It is Saturday the fifteenth of May 2004. Weekends don't exist while on deployment. It's work twenty-four hours a day seven days a week for the entire year. Saturday is the Islamic day for prayer, which means the sector is pretty quiet. It is also a great day to send 155mm shells over the wall. It is just a show of force. Kinda like a big dick contest. A reminder that while you are safe in your mosque praying we can still blow the shit out of you.
An hour later SPC Spoon is sitting on top of an M1 Abraham tank ,at the South Gate pulling his four hours of guard duty, when a beat up rusty sedan stops at a barricade two hundred meters away. Through the binos he observes an Arab man exit the drivers seat and move to the passenger side. He reaches into the vehicle and carefully lifts out a child. It was a girl maybe fours years old. "The same age as my daughter" thought the Specialist. The girls black swirling hair was matted down with blood and her skin was peppered with sores and cuts. One side of her face was red and bruised with her eye swollen shut. The way she hung limply in her fathers arms made him believe she was already dead. The crew on the tank gave each other pale looks as they hopped of the tank to met the Iraqi. The tank commander radioed the first aid station and an interpreter came out of the guard shack. SPC Spoon took the girl from her reluctant father while another soldier searched him. "What happened?" asked Spoon through the translator. from a short conversation with the shaken man Spoon found out that while his daughter was sleeping, bombs from the sky hit his house. Apparently the mortars made some errors in calculating their target points. Many of the rounds landed as much as four hundred meters of the mark. One of which smashed through this little girls bedroom.
The medics showed up and after an examination and some sour looks the medics decided they needed to bring the girl to the aid station. Spoon climbed into the field ambulance with te little girl who's father was forced to wait at the gate for security reasons. In the red glow of the ambulance Spoon held the child as she tried to cry in spite the pain it caused. The Specialist laid the girl down on a bed at the station and was pushed away by the working medics. A curtain was pulled blocking his view and he backed up until he fell into a chair. Spoon watched as medical personnel went in and out for a desperate fifteen minutes. They finally left one by one until the last left the curtain open to reveal the little girl laying on the bed still, lifeless. After the medic spoke with the commander, Spoon was ordered to carry the child back to the gate with the Colonel. As the Specialist handed the child back the father almost collapsed with sorrow. Spoon thought he was going to be sick, but what happened next left him paralyzed. Five dollars isn't much in America, but it is a good chunk of change in Iraq. This is the price the officer offered as compensation for the accidental murder of his daughter. He seemed furious at first and then a heated haggle occurredd. After the commander made the point that if it was a boy he would pay more, the man finally settled with twenty dollars. The father left with his dead daughter and his new twenty bucks. As Spoon stood there in frozen awe the officer gave him a long cold stare and walked off straightening his uniform.
SPC Spoon was ambushed on a patrol two days later. No US soldiers were hurt and two Iraqis were killed. One of the dead was the childs father. He must have joined the guerrillas after the unfair events two days ago. He was twice the age of the other insurgents and in the eyes of the US he is just another terrorist that got what was coming to him. Chalk up another success for our team.
Who are we fighting? The political enemy is not as common as the relative or friend of a previous victim. Some captives speak of Jihad. So what is Jihad? The 1st Infantry Division Soldiers handbook to Iraq says " Jihad is thought of as the sixth pillar of Islam. It hoes not exactly mean "holy war", but is used to describe the personal battle one undertakes against sin and temptation. Each Muslim is encouraged to wage both an inner struggle against sin as well as physically guard and defeat secular influences that might corrupt their communities." Sounds like a noble cause to me. Some insurgents are more global minded and wish to defeat a greedy evil that threatens all mankind. We invest a lot of money to kill people that are trying to help humanity, even help us as we try to destroy them. Now with their backs to the wall they fight us the only way they can to even the odds, with terrorism.

the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:29 PM 1 comments  
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Collective Thinking, Wrong Mentality!
with the june 30th deadline for an independent iraqi government getting closer everyday, the bush administration seems more and more confident in the progression of a stabilized democratic iraq. however, in light of recent events in this "war on terrorism" a successful transfer of authority looks ominously like another shot in the dark. problems within the war machine continue to disrupt any real progress, while malicious acts of terror prove that the insurgents' guerrilla campaign is running quite smoothly.
unfortunately, our armed forces has made crucial mistakes on the front lines that has only helped the iraqi insurgency. the recent development of Iraqi prisoner abuse at the hands of our military police has led to public outcry and an embarrassing nation-wide scandal. despite secretary of defense donald rumsfeld's public apology and detailed military investigations, the seed of doubt has been planted in the US's "benevolent" attempt to establish democracy in iraq. with the whole world now suspicious of our military's treatment of iraqi-nationals, the guerrillas can make solid claims that they are victims of an empirial conquest.
publicly released photographic proof of iraqi prisoner mistreatment has seemed to contradict our normal standard of military professionalism. how could it happen? while there is no excuse for those soldiers' miscreant behavior, a logical explanation can be reached. a mass hysteria of hatred and prejudice has apparently infiltrated our military ranks. these particular soldiers' behavior obviously reflects their own personal fears of being involved in a war and surrounded by violence and bloodshed. a natural reaction to this fear is active hostility and hatred for a common enemy. this, however, is not an excuse, and only displays weakness on the military's part. chalk up another victory for the guerrillas.
one week ago, the world witnessed the beheading of civilian contractor nick berg. an al qaeda element publicly announced their contempt for american occupation and claimed the execution was in retaliation for the abuse of iraqi prisoners. the american public was horrified and infuriated with this atrocious murder. many questions were asked. why did it have to happen? why was it not prevented by our government? how dare these evil men kill an innocent american?!
savage as these al qaeda members were, they got exactly the reaction they needed for their cause. from their point of view, one simple execution created a widespread frenzy of hatred and trepidation throughout the american populace. their message was clear: the al qaeda means business and they will never give up. conventional warfare has been proved ineffective against powerful coalition forces, but arbitrary acts of malice have been salt in the wound of an already unpopular war in iraq.
as a soldier in the army, i have seen more than enough hostility to go around. i have had fellow comrades return home in pieces, or in body bags. i have watched helplessly as a roadside bomb perniciously maimed a close friend of mine. is it easy to hate the iraqis? yes. does that make it right? certainly not. to maintain a clear conscious and a better understanding of the problems at hand, i have found it beneficial to skip out on this "two minute hate" altogether.
while it is true that ambition and greed started this war in iraq, it is important to remember that fear and hatred are only perpetuating it further.

-- hEkLe
baquba, iraq

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:24 PM 0 comments  
Monday, May 17, 2004
Stop This War
It is my belief that the government means to bankroupt the country. The "Stupid White Men" that have infilltrated Capital Hill are members of the Council of Foriegn Relations, a group made up of powerful corprate heads and industry owners. This organization created the Fedral Reserve System on November 22, 1910on Jekyll Island, Georgia. Despite the word Fedral it is a privately owned bank and so, becomes immune to the checks and balances. When America wants to spend another six million to send more troops to Iraq it is this bank we get are loan and our debt with the FRS grows. If you get a home loan from a bank you end up paying more on intrest then the house is worth and if you can't pay, the bank reposses your house.Since the FRS makes our paper money, they control inflation, which means they can create ressesion and depressions. With World Trade Organizations protecting corperations with international free trade laws. We could come out of another great deppresion without our homes and without our country. So here I am in Iraq fighting a war we can't win. We won't beat terrorism with violance, because terrorism is insubstatail. At least Reagans War on Drugs was against a physical object. The more innocent people we kill in Iraq the instagates more hatred for Americians. Since the US uses half of you pay check through income fedral state and sales tax, it is you who is represented in this war. It is the bigoted machoism inbreed in the common Americian that makes us believe we can change a persons mind with our fist. We can make someone obey us through fear. But, isn't that terrorism. Our enemy has united, will we realize before it's to late.

Stop this War,
the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:22 PM 14 comments  
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Our Recruiter
The Daily Sentinel
A former U.S. Army recruiter who worked out of Grand Junction for three years was killed May 3 in Salman Al Habb, Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Eric Petty, 28, was guarding a weapons cache with his unit when the soldiers came under small-arms fire.
Petty was shot and killed in the incident, which is under investigation, according to a U.S. Department of Defense casualty report.
Petty, of Fort Gibson, Okla., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany.
From 2000 to 2003, however, Petty worked in the Army recruiting office on North Avenue and called Grand Junction home, said Staff Sgt. Mark Juliano, who shared that office with Petty for two years.
“He was a great guy, very family-oriented, heavily involved with his church,” said Juliano, who plans to travel to Fort Gibson for Petty’s funeral May 11.
Petty’s service in Iraq was scheduled to end in March, but his unit’s time there was extended, said Juliano, who now works out of the Army’s Glenwood Springs recruiting office.
While in Grand Junction, Petty’s wife, Kimberly, was employed by a property-management company. His son, Colton, 9, was involved in soccer, and the family attended Landmark Baptist Church.
Juliano said he and Petty and their families would get together often for various outings.
One of those was a trip to Arizona for a Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys football game shortly before the Pettys left Colorado for Baumholder, Germany.
“(Petty) was a big Dallas Cowboys fan,” said Juliano, a fan of the Texas Longhorns. “We watched a lot of sports.”
The two men had an ongoing office rivalry over who was better in an armored division, the 19th Delta Cavalry Scouts in the Humvees (Petty) or the 19th Kilo Crew Members who are up on the tanks (Juliano).
Once in a while Juliano would open a book or a drawer to find a sticky note that read, “Scouts rule.”
Juliano would turn around and there would be Petty, looking at him with a sly grin that said, “I got you again.”
“Eric and I were very good friends,” he said.
When it came to serving in Iraq, “He was doing what he loved,” Juliano said. “That was one thing that he talked a lot about, that he was able to go and do his part.
“He loved the Army and his country, and he was very honored to go.”
Petty, who served in the Army for nearly 10 years, was a decorated soldier, but Juliano was unsure what awards he had.
“I do know his unit was in the process of getting him the Bronze Star for valor,” Juliano said.
Work aside, Petty most liked to spend his time with his son, Colton.
The last time Petty saw his wife and son was in February when he took some time off in Germany.
Colton was playing basketball at that time, and Petty was able to show his son some moves on the court.
The family was also able to go on a ski trip together.
“He was an awesome dad. If we weren’t in school, he was with his son. I think that was his center,” said Staff Sgt. John Wylie, a Cañon City Army recruiter who went to Special Forces school with Petty at Fort Bragg, N.C.
While in school, though, Petty helped Wylie with scouting and land navigation.
“I was a medic when I was in school, so I didn’t know anything about patrolling,” Wylie said.
“He was an outstanding guy,” Wylie said. “He could have stayed on recruiting ... but he still volunteered to go to his old job because he wanted to help the country.”
Petty came from a military family, Juliano said.
His father was a warrant officer in the Army and “when Eric enlisted in the Army it was his dad who took him to be enlisted,” he said.
His older brother, Kyle, either is or was in the Army also, he said.

posted by E-4 Mafia at 8:20 PM 0 comments  
Friday, February 06, 2004
No Sacrifice Too Great
Hello friends,

I had to write about another horrifying event that occurred here in sector. As always you have permission to spread it to any listener that is interested in hearing the truths of this war on terrorism.

Read, but you might not enjoy.

Five soldiers died the other day. They weren't Killed In Action, these brave men did not go out fighting. The First Infantry Division has a motto "No Sacrifice Too Great".

I disagree.

Insurgents have been ambushing our patrols since the start of this occupation. Our patrolling humvees are easy targets, as we stick to well traveled roads, hiding in our armored vehicles. They watch us sleep and see when we roll out the gate. The enemy knows where we are going before we do.

Often they will fire a mortar or rocket so the command scrambles the scouts and we spin out to check the area. It turns out to be a trap and the typical scenario can pan out like this.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's) are planted roadside. Gutted mortar shells daisy chained together and detonated by a cellular phone call as we drive by. A humvee is blown over on it's side and any soldiers left alive fall out stunned.

The rest of the patrol is forced to a stop that is when the two men with RPGs pop out. The sound of giant bottlerockets fizz and an Armor piercing rocket propelled grenade goes through the metal plated doors like a hot knife though butter. and the cab of the humvee bulges as the explosion billows from the broken wreckage.

Soldiers scramble about trying to help their wounded friends as AK-47 bullets trace from the near by palm groves. Nothing remains but scattered bodies of American boys and burning wrecks of humvees.

The 1st ID has taken precautions to avoid this scene. We don't bunch up, keeping a distance from the vehicle in front of us. We drive fast so the terrorists can't target us with RPGs and miss time the IEDs. And at night, we drive with the lights off (Black Out Drive).

Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) are a good piece of kit however, the dull green sights makes the eyes tire quickly and depth perception evaporates. At high speeds the world drifts by in a toxic emerald blur. The desert dust kicked up swirls into an impenetrable smoke screen.

At a safe distance apart, the rest of the scouts didn't notice when the rear truck missed a ninety degree turn and flipped upside down into a canal.

Iraq is an arid place and the farmers depend on an extensive system of criss crossing canals to irrigate there land. Some of these canals are dirt trenches and others are fifteen foot wide concrete walled rivers. A muck of built up sewage and slime sits at the bottom of the deep slow moving polluted water ways.

With the steep canal walls and dark mosquito infested water, it took the scouts a half an hour to locate the missing vehicle.

By then it was too late.

There are six openings to a humvee.

There are four heavy steel doors that take two men to lift when removed from the vehicle. Each door is seated on a pin hinge that points upward. To put a door on you raise the door up on these posts and it slide into place. Gravity keeps the door on the hinge. When the humvee is up side down the door shifts , but the frame holds the door is wedged in place and impossible to open.

Another exit is the gunners hatch, which is a wide opening on the roof of the humvee. No doubt the hole was flush with the cement canal floor and buried in the sludge.

The last opening is the back hatch. The entire rear slope of the vehicle lifts up to reveal a large cargo space. Unfortunately the access from the front compartment is to small for most men to fit through.

The humvee is not as air tight as a lexus right off the lot. It is riddled with bullet holes and battle damage. We even punch holes in the bottoms to drain out water and mud when we wash the trucks at the motor pool. It wouldn't take long for a humvee to fill up with water.

My only hope was that the men trapped in the submerged vehicle were knocked unconscious or were killed right away in the accident, but that was not the case.

There are some very horrible ways to go. Burning alive and biological/chemical weapon attacks are two on my list. Nerve agents cause the victim to convulse and twitch to death. Most soldiers call this the "kick'n chicken" or the "dying cockroach". However, drowning is my absolute worst nightmare.

I can only imagine the anxiety and panic that sets in as you desperately try to escape as your last seconds of breath run short. The driver and youngest crew member's finger nails were ripped off trying to scratch through the bullet proof windshield. One man had his head and arm stuck in the rear access door and the truck commanders rifle was broken after he attempted to beat his door open.

The idea will forever haunt me and the lives of the dead men I will always remember.

Whether by accident or enemy contact we are losing American lives here in Iraq. These are people you might know, friends of friends, the neighbors son, or an ex-co-worker. They are boys from a hood with no tomorrow and men trying support their families. They are kids with dreams and parents of children.

It is time we stop this war.

Make a stand and bring us home.

Save our lives, we risk ours fighting for yours.

--the heretic

posted by E-4 Mafia at 7:38 PM 1 comments  
Monday, September 10, 2001
The Manifesto
Can it all be so simple, wrong, evil, corrupt, consume and waste, affiliate, hate, ostracize and merge? The world was balanced once and it will balance again but the ends of the extremes seem poised to clap like cymbals after this fuck all creschendo.

"Why me?" the conglomerates scream at the machine, with green greased palms and I'll fuck you last smiles. False idols, every one. Angry fathers. Man the son who created Him. And He begot the government and government begot business and business bought the government and He was replaced with the angry white Jesus and outer space exploration.

A nation deprived dives deeper in debt and waits for one third world misstep to cue the waking of the wartime economy. Killing the poor and boosting the DOW. They sleep so well under the blanket of technology, on the pillow of progress.

We'll regress, dumb and lame. Grins and yellow ribbons. Sons in boxes priority mail home for Big Brother's burden of deception and deceit.

So: Stand on the sidelines or step in line to die. When the brainwashing's done no souls will survive. My dirty mind fears the brand name bleach clean that serves to set lead in brass shell casings.

Chain yorself to the trees and they'll nuke you up too. With TV dinner convenience. Two birds, one stone. Endangered species taste so great with mustard gas clouds. The man standing on your neck says "swallow it, and pay sixty percent off through six PM friday!" And you do it. It wasn't you who blew it. Through it all you knew if you did what they asked things would go back to normal. You folded to the bully.

He gets your lunch money on thirty-nine cent Wednsdays that pay for slash and burn third world dreams of vaccines for the diseases we introduced, vomiting induced, we produced more waste than anyone. First again! Don't forget those vehicle emissions! Look at you with your Valdeez SUVs. The Jones' are jealous, I'm sure.

Missionaries praise television evangalists. "Eternal salvation for nineteen ninety-five or your money back!" And you're submerged in this shit, but your Lord will keep you sterile. He'll wash your sins away. One quick pass of the collection plate and then we'll start to pray. Not for peace in Israel, no. That's not a priority. Daddy's team needs to win the big game and Jenny needs a pony.

I hope you die the way you're killing the earth. A slow suffocation. Oil coated seas like the bloody afterbirth of industry. Choking black clouds of soot consume the sky. The phoenix was stillborn. From the ashes nothing rise. So get on your knees and pay. Redemption comes at a price. And they'll tell you what it is. It's your sacrifice; this world that was intended for your children...

When mushrooms of radiation and light fill the sky, I've got a fallout shelter in my mind. When you die, you deal with God. But I will go in(to) Peace.


--joe public

posted by E-4 Mafia at 8:20 AM 18 comments  
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    Name: E-4 Mafia
    Location: Sunni Triangle, IQ

This website is privately operated and is designed to provide personal information, views and commentary about the authors experiences in Iraq and elsewhere. The images depicted and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author and contributors and not those of any agency of the United States Government, expressly including, but not limited to, the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Army Reserve. The site is not designed, authorized, sanctioned, or affiliated, by or with, any agency of the United States Government, expressly including, but not limited to, the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Army Reserve. Users accept and agree to this disclaimer in the use of any information accessed in this website.

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What is E-4 Mafia

Actually, it's more like they mess with people above their rank. An E-4 has been in long enough to know the limits of an NCO or Officer's power. They know enough tact and decorum to get along pretty comfortably and still get what they want. They don't yet have the administrative responsibilities of an NCO. It's a pretty sweet spot to be in.

Combine that with the fact that E-4s run a lot of the Army. They are the ones fixing your vehicle (or not fixing it), dealing with your pay issue when it finally makes it to finance, securing and handing out your supplies (or not - or supplies that aren't precisely yours), filing your leave forms, cooking your food, etc. These are not the sort of people you want to piss off, they could throw a wrench in your workings if you do. They also tend to stick together and help each other out/trade favors.

So Officers and NCOs are usually the ones who refer to the E-4 mafia. Jokingly, for the most part. But there's some truth to it!

© E-4 Mafia 2006. The information under this section is the work of E-4 Mafia and I look forward to speaking with them.