Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas for me. I feel alone and far away. Soon I will be home but not today.

Jacob, you are such a wonderful boy and I miss you. I will be home soon and we can be a complete family again.

Linnea, I miss you so much, you cried for me the other day and I am so sorry I couldn't be there to hold you.

Tara, you have it hard today like I do. You are such a strong mother and a beautiful wife. I love you and you won't have to be alone much longer.

I love you all and wish you well this day. I promise to be home soon.


Your Father and Husband

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Question for YOU

Many of you have been reading my blog for quite some time now. I have never asked anything of you the readers (well, I haven't asked anything that wasn't rhetorical) but this time I am.

In a few months I will be out of the army and with that I will also be out of work. Those of you who have come to know me have read my thoughts and rants here on my blog and with those I ask you only for help with this. I am applying for jobs the regular way as well (as much as I can here from Iraq) but I know that all kinds of people have been reading what I write and perhaps one of you knows of some career that I would have never thought of applying for, but which would be good for me.

My blog tells more about me than any resume (but I have one of those as well) and so if any one of you has a career or job you think I might be suited for please feel free to email me and let me know. My email can be found on the right hand side of this blog.

On a separate note, I am very excited about going home (no I won't be home for Christmas, but soon after...) Take care, all of you.

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Take Care

I will be taking a four week break from my blog as I prepare to return to my home, if I can post before then I will try my best. Thank you all for your comments and for your help through both your comfort and criticism. Take care

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I Ask You

Are you proud of me Mother? I am a soldier. Are you proud of me Father? I have killed. To my country I ask you, are you proud of me?

These hands of mine know how to destroy and leave my mess for others to pick up. At times I feel that the only thing I have left behind me is a path of broken pieces. Perhaps that is my legacy, to shatter what others (including myself) hold dear.

You know the best part? The sorrow and pity I feel afterwards. Isn't it ridiculous? You would think that I would be the last one to cry for the casualties I have helped cause.

I am still alive and like all living things, with each breath I come closer to death. I walk this path alone and fuck if I know where it leads...

Sunday, November 27, 2005


What color?

The day is Red, red for violence, and blue because it was cold.
Another day complete and with it more lives are over as well.

Desire can lead to regret and time marches on as all things end.

Come now child, open your eyes, the world is far from perfect and the edges are raw and ragged. Let it go and come back when you are ready to see.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

This was taken about 3 months ago back at my old base (Danger).

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving will be a lonely one for me, however there are many things I am thankful for. Lists are played out but today I will make an exception as I would like to name a few things:

My beautiful wife Tara who has stood by me through all the deployments and through all my nightmares.

My son Jake who is so smart and who never lets me forget that I am a child at heart.

My daughter Linnea who is so caring and pretty and who's imagination has no bounds.

I am also thankful for all of you who have offered your support during my year here in Iraq and I want to also thank Hurria (who's name means freedom in Arabic) for taking time out of your days to visit my humble blog and offer your opinions as the single Iraqi to do so. I often disagree with you, but I have great respect for you. You come to my blog and discuss an occupation which effects you daily in a way much more personally than it does me.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Victory Parade

Does the US flag still have its meaning or has it become just another symbol to be used for gain, political or otherwise? When will it be enough? Over 2000 have died here in Iraq. What will they pay the war contractors with when the money is gone? Will they pay them with THEIR own sons and daughters?

I think not, for the day the money runs out we shall declare VICTORY, withdrawal our troops and start the victory parades back home. The Amputees won't be marching in the parade, the dead won't be smiling and waiving, and it won't give the children back their mothers and fathers.

What will that victory be? It will be a victory forged on the anvil of bankruptcy and only the deaf will hear it. After that the cameras will stop rolling and we won't show Iraq any more...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lost Time

The time is short now, and getting shorter each day. For me I will be out of here in only about 2 months or so. It will end, but for those soldiers just coming here their year has only just begun, and for the Iraqis there is no end to their time here.

I have mixed feelings about this last year, part of me wishes to just forget it all and pretend like it never happened, but I know that I won't do that (I couldn't forget it even if I really wanted to). It has become a part of me and will shape my future just as every other major event in my life will.

I want you all to listen to me here, don't take it for granted! None of it. Every day you have with your kids, every kiss from your lover's lips, all of it matters. Don't get complacent with your heart and with your friends. I know that I sound like I am preaching to you, and in a way I am. You never know when you won't be able to be with those people. I would give so much to be with Tara, Jacob, and Linnea right now, even to wake up in the middle of the night to take my dog outside to pee, or to get Jake or Naya a drink of water.

To you Tara, my wife and my best friend, I will be home soon and I miss you with all my heart. Give both the kids a kiss from me tonight and let them know that I love them and that daddy will be home soon. The three of you are the most important things in my life and I am sorry for each minute I haven't spent with you. Take care Tara, I love you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Anti Climax as told by me...

Looking back on my and my team's accomplishments it seems like the end of our tour will be anticlimactic. Even after capturing and ridding Iraq of many 'bad men' so many more have only come to take up the fight against us. How could this be? Perhaps it is because we have become "the Red Coats" in the eyes of the Iraqis, and to them this is their own version of our revolutionary war...

I can not tell you that is true however, for I am not an Iraqi, so in closing I must say that this, like most things on my blog, is but my humble observation and nothing more.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The History Books

Some days begin with regret, some with happiness, others just begin. My uniform top has a hole worn in it where my rifle rubs on it, and my pants have the same. I feel like it is in my bones, the weariness and the purgatory of this deployment. I don't have it as hard as some, and yet I have it harder than others. Compared to last time I was here I have to admit it has been much better (living conditions that is).

I see a shooting star almost every night (remember, I work nights) and every time my wish is the same, you might be surprised what it is, but if I were to tell it wouldn't come true would it? Limbo, that is forward operations base Speicher. Nothing changes here except the beat of the mortar rounds as they hit at different times, often daily.

It is amazing what I have taken from my time in the Army. You might be surprised that when I joined I was a staunch republican. I had the utmost faith in the system that is our government and I was young. I can't say that I am much older now (only 5 and a half years have passed) but I am wiser about many things. I have lost my innocence and I am not so naive. I have met some wonderful people, and I have also met some people that I would rather not know.

It is a lot different when you can communicate with the Iraqis you know. When you can ask them how they feel about things instead of just telling them to get back with arm signals. They are people, and they are like you and I. Time may tell things differently just as the victors write the history books, but it seems that such a great injustice has been done, and we are getting farther and farther from the things we promised the Iraqis when we invaded. I will not attempt to predict the future however I can't help but let it be known that I fear we have gone too far and that our eyes were so much larger than our stomach.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our Walk Through Life

What is the human condition? Here in Iraq we fight terrorists and insurgents. We give them names (haji, towel head, rag head) to peal away their humanity. We focus only on the horrible things that have happened so that we can bring ourselves to kill, but in doing so we too become changed. No longer do we fit in when we get home. We become outsiders and misfits amongst our own families and distance ourselves as others too distance themselves from us.

Alone, it becomes easier with time to be that way. You can't let others know the things you have done because they would never understand and it would only serve to make us even more alone.

We must build as well; we become so proficient at building that we could be engineers. Walls are our specialty, so we build them thick and high around ourselves. Theses walls shut out all the pain and hurt we feel when others can't seem to understand why we are the way we are, or when they judge and condemn us as if they were God Himself. The walls don't just keep those things out, but they serve to keep so much in as well. All of it, the guilt, the pain, and the fears we have can be kept deep inside where nobody will have to see them except ourselves.

That is ok though, because from there we can learn one last and important skill, that of the beast tamer. Like a monster everything we keep inside locked away can take on a mind of its own creating even more pain. Some of us fall apart at this point, hitting the ground so hard that we decide we can not get up and so it ends.

The rest of us learn tricks to keep that beast inside so that nobody will ever have to see how much of a monster we have become. In doing so we can continue our walk through life. That is the soldier's cost of war, and it is ours to bear alone until the end.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just Another Piece

Always, the smell of burning things. Today it is burning trash, tomorrow maybe it is the burning oil fields. To me this is Iraq. Last time I was here it was the same, garbage piled high in the streets until eventually it gets burned just to get rid of it.

Some things don't change. I remember driving through Baghdad and seeing the streets piled high with trash. Slick with grease, grime, and blood. Get enough of it all and you have your foundation all over again.

That is what we are trying to rebuild Iraq with these days, grease, grime, and blood. No wonder we can't seem to finish it all. There just gets to be so much of it that your feet slip and you too are covered in the same blood and filth, until your soul is just another piece of it all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Still Alive

I have arrived safely to FOB (forward operations base) Speicher (pronounced spiker) alive and well (and yes I am back with my unit again, the 3rd ID). One thing I would like to say is that any misgivings I once had of working with the National Guard (sometimes called Nasty Guard by some active duty soldiers) from New York State are gone. I have spent the better part of 9 months with a wonderful group of people. I have made friends that I won't soon forget and I am grateful for the caliber of person I have found in the 42nd ID.

Here at Speicher I live in a giant dust bowl, but the base is HUGE. I can't publish exactly how many days I have left here in Iraq, but it is less than 3 months and for that I am grateful. For all of you who read my blog I want you to take care, and again thank you for your comments and the time you take out of your day to see how I am doing. Regular postings will resume now that I am settled again.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Change for the Better? We Shall

Sometime in the near future I will be going to my new base. They say change is good right? We shall see... Home is closer each day but some how it still seems like a lifetime away. Here is my new address

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley
B Co 1-3 BTB 3ID
APO, AE 09393

All of you out there who read my blog, I want you to take care and I give you my thanks for your time and comments. When I first started writing I never thought that anyone but my friends and family would read. Again, Take Care

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Everyone has choices. I have made mine and must live with them. My choices have me thousands of miles from home for the second time, with weapon in hand. I find myself surprised at times, wondering how it came to be that I am where I am, but then I look behind me and I can see every turn that brought me here.

Responsibility? I take it, all of it. I have to live with my choices and they have not all been simple ones. Bad choices have been made as well as good. I am not some fly caught in the web of fate.

Hindsight is 20/20 right? What should I have done differently? Doesn't matter because I can not go back. It was my hand that signed the contract that enlisted me as a soldier. What I thought would happen doesn't matter, what matters is what did happen.

So here in Iraq I sit for the second time. What matters now is to get back home. To return to my wife and kids.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Me after work
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ghost of a Father

I get so scared sometimes that my kids will think I have left them. That maybe their daddy doesn't care about them or that they will forget me. I know you will tell me that these are hollow fears but to me they aren't. To me they are as real as the fears of heights or flying are to others. It isn't hollow for me, but instead I am filled with self doubt and sadness.

Over the phone I always talk to them and tell them how much I love them, but of course it isn't the same as playing with them and giving them hugs or holding them after they have been hurt. Those things are real to a child.

I feel like I am the ghost of a father right now. Two of the last three years I have spent away from my wife and children. There are times I am amazed that Tara my wife is still around waiting for me. To her it must feel like so much of our marriage has been spent just waiting for me to come home. Praying that I live through the times I am not there.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


It rained the other night. The dusty smell of the rain as it hit the ground reminded me of my Grandfather's farm. I remember the cold mornings after a rain when everything was quiet and it felt like the world was mine to explore.

I miss those days, seems like they were lifetimes ago. Someday I would like to have land, just to have it. My own place where I can be alone and still find adventure. I think that the kid in me would like that very much.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Promise

There are battles which need to be fought and there are battles which serve no good purpose. Afghanistan and Bin Laden lay forgotten as if they were discarded toys left by a spoiled child.

Iraq is the new frontier of poor foreign policy and poor planning. Even the soldiers can see it. Why do you think nobody is re-enlisting? They don't want to keep leaving their families to go fight a loosing battle and to die for an empty promise. The promise that somehow staying in Iraq makes America safer.

We have created a martyr factory here, and we are beginning to wade through the next Vietnam. How wrong do you want to be before you close down shop and send the troops home? 2,000 dead? Is that wrong enough? How about 10,000?

There is a field back home at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. There a tree has been planted for each soldier who has been killed in Iraq. After we returned in 2003 there were only a few trees, now an entire side of the field is full of them. My sister asked where they would plant more now that the row was complete and sadly I replied, "we still have three more sides to fill." Maybe then when we have enough names for a beautiful war memorial we can leave Iraq.

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Dog

Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Here is my Dog Benny.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The land of Oil

Here is the land of oil
Where death can be a sunset away.
The days have no length here,
They end only when they end.

The sweat slick brow of a soldier,
Who bears armor, weapon, and Flag.
From his eyes he sees Iraq,
Even Dante could not say more.

Looking at them scurry in the sand,
The boy's mind begins to wander.
Like ants he thinks, as he remembers
The Americans at their base.

Here is the land of oil,
Where life is measured in blood.
The soldier only sees his hell,
The boy calls this land home.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

On the Tigris in Tikrit, Iraq.


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Inside the second oldest Christian Church in the world.

Tikrit, Iraq

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On Killing

I remember back in Baghdad in 2003 when the 1st Armored Division had just arrived. I was in line at the PX (post exchange, it is the army's version of Walmart) and I overheard two soldiers from the 1st Armored Division talking about how they couldn't wait until they had killed someone. What kind of desire is that? I felt sick.

I had already killed and I remembered a quick rapid fire succession of feelings upon learning just how many my platoon and I had killed. First I felt glory, then sickness, and now I have only empty sorrow...

That day so long ago I didn't say anything to them, those two soldiers. I did pray that they never got their wish because they did not know what it was they were asking for.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Patriot

I remember when it used to mean something to have a flag. When it wasn't just the popular thing to do. Now you wear a flag lapel pin and it really doesn't mean much. Just go to your local supermarket for proof. There you can find things like Patriot's Choice bottled water and red white and blue chips.

A patriot is not just someone waving a flag or some sharply dressed business man with a flag tacked on his suit jacket. The patriot is known for their actions. The patriot doesn't have to shout it out from the tops of buildings or through the bullhorn of the media.

Take a look at the Patriot Act. Where once US citizens had privacy they now have a catchy term, an oxymoron... What kind of person must reiterate how patriotic they are by using such lovely names. Names like Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. I thought you were supposed to endure hardships, not freedom. Perhaps you can tell me what kind of person that would be.

The true patriots are people who exercise their rights. They are the voters (yes all of them, not just the liberals). They are the people who make America work. People like the fireman and policeman, the people who bring you your mail, doctors, and teachers. They are all those things you wanted to be when you were little. They are the scientists, the farmers, and yes, even the soldiers.

I say only this in closing, they can call it any number of patriotic names, but let them pry your rights from your All American hands only when you are dead. To trample and walk so blatantly on American rights is not the action of a patriot, and let no one tell you otherwise.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Lucky Man
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Yes, she is beautiful and I am lucky.


Five years ago today was the day I was married to the most amazing woman. There were many things that I didn't know about her then that I do know now.

I didn't know that I would love her more now than I could ever love her then. I didn't know she would be even more beautiful than the day we met, and I didn't know she would be the one to help me through some of my hardest times in life.

She is beautiful, sexy and a wonderful woman.

My wife and best friend


Friday, September 09, 2005

Another Day In Iraq

And so it begins, another sunrise, another day in Iraq. The land of 1,000 lies. Where we tell each other things are getting better when really we have only gotten used to the smell of our own shit mixed with theirs. You can gift wrap it all you like, but it doesn't change what's inside.

Another day in Iraq, more suffering. Some things will always remain constant, the heat, the sand, the stars, and the sky. Yet, some things have been made worse. Another day in Iraq. For me, another day in a foreign land, for others it is another day at home.

I see cars stopped on the banks of the Tigris River. Are they setting up mortars? Perhaps they are only swimming. Here you lose your innocence, where they teach you to trust no one because anyone might be your enemy.

So you take their advice... You're still alive aren't you?

Another Day in Iraq, another day away from home, another day...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I have been informed today that my address will soon be changing. For everyone that has sent me a package I want to say thank you so much, and for those who have just sent one, fear not, it will find me. Now for those of you who might have been thinking of sending one I recommend that you wait until I can post my updated address for you. Again thank you all so much, for the mail, and ESPECIALLY for all the support that you have given me.

I remember when my platoon was deploying this time around everyone was talking of making their own blog and to myself I thought, "there is NO way that I will be making a blog..." And here you have me 8 months later with such a wonderful group of people posting comments and offering me both support, and insight into many different ways of thinking.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Not Enough Sandbags

Since the day I joined the Army, I have been doing one of really only two things. I came to realize this through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. You see, we have had the opportunity to do so much, yet we keep falling so very short.

I Remember When I was at DLI (the Defense Language Institute) in Monterey California. It was beautiful there and I spent my days learning. I was learning such an interesting subject, and from such wonderful people. Arabic, that is how I spent my days. There was one Syrian, one Palestinian, and two Iraqi teachers. These people were wonderful and taught me so much, both about the Arab culture and about the language. It was during the end of my language training that I was called very early in the morning by a friend of mine who said turn on the TV. Numb is how I felt all that day as I watched the horror of September 11 unfold minute by minute. Every one of us soldiers wished we were there helping our fellow Americans.

I missed Afghanistan as well. I was busy training in Texas, where I learned the other aspects of my job (the non language aspects) and by the time I was at my final destination I already knew where I was going... You see for the whole first half of my enlistment I was training. I realize that we train for War so bear with me here. Training was all I had done, and I missed the War against those responsible for the atrocity that was 9/11. I was bound for a different place. A place that had little to do with 9/11.

At this place, you know of as Iraq and so many know of only as hell, I did the second thing. I was there the day of the invasion. In fact I was a part of it. I crossed the border only a few hours after the attack started and did so in my chemical gear. We fought and destroyed many, many people. I partook in War. It didn't end when we reached Baghdad. For 2 months I was there amongst the Iraqis every day, and when we were told we were going home all of us were ecstatic. We started our re-deployment briefings consisting of how to control yourself and not kill your spouse (in reality that was what the class was about but it was worded with much more political correctness), medical briefings about possible malaria cases, and many others.

You might wonder how I found myself in Fallujah a week after all those briefings that we took in what was then our base in Baghdad inside the Ministry of the Interior. Well, we had to take over this place from another unit who was too small and who hadn't just fought during the invasion. We took over operations from them because we were good at aggression. I spent my days in Fallujah and the surrounding places, like Abu Graybe (not the prison but the city), Al Khandaria, and the Jordanian hospital. There we all honed our skills of War.

Those were the two things that occupied my entire time in the Army (over 5 years, modest for some, yet quite a while for others who have never been to war). I was either training or at War.

Now I want to clarify two points before I go on. First I want to explain that I have met some really great Iraqis here in Iraq, and that I have done many good things for those that I could (I have never just gone out killing). The second point I want to clarify brings us full circle. You are probably cursing me right now, wishing you could yell into my face how soldiers are SUPPOSED to train then fight in Wars, and of course I can't and won't disagree with you (I am not a conscientious objector). However, I do want to interject something into your rant at me. We are more than just some trained War machines, we are citizens who have sworn to protect America. We are the ones (both active duty soldiers like myself and national guard and reserve) who could have been there helping those in the Gulf Region. We are the ones who should have already found and captured Bin Ladden in Afghanistan.

So many want to know why I came back to Iraq, even though I have been involuntarily extended (stop-lossed) and I don't believe in the War here. I came because I do honor my country and the contract I have signed (even if my enlistment time is not honored by the Department of Defense). When I enlisted back in 2000 it was to serve the American people in their time of need. Like so many others here in Iraq who feel so bogged down, I wish I could be there in Louisiana helping those who so desperately need us right now. Perhaps if we were home we could have saved more lives, filled more sandbags, and brought peace to the city. I am sorry that I can not be there. From the bottom of my heart I pray for all of you who have been affected by this storm.

From a soldier in Iraq to the American people,

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley

Friday, September 02, 2005

A Call For Help

If you can find it in you, please help out the victims of hurricane Katrina by donating to the Red Cross.

Hurria, if there is a way to donate money to help the over 900 killed and hundreds wounded from the pilgrimage in Baghdad please let me know and I will post that as well.

For those who pray, both Iraq and New Orleans have need of all the prayers you have.

I read on the help page of THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES that to help out in Iraq you must contact the Iraqi chapter directly. HERE is how you do that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Daddy's little girl

Daddy's little girl
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

I love you Linnea

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Four years ago today in Monterey California a girl was born who would change my life forever. That girl is my daughter.

When I saw her for the first time I couldn't help it, I cried. She was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

Linnea, I promise to always be there for you through love, guidance, and care. You are my dear one, my daughter. To watch you and your brother Jacob grow has been so very wonderful.

There is no way for you to fully understand right now why I have been gone so many times and for so long, but when you get older I will tell you all about it.

I love you my beautiful daughter Linnea, Happy Birthday

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Year to Remember

Well, this is it. This is what the war has come to. I have heard that at other bases (Baghdad to be specific) they were doing this as well, but I guess I hoped for the best and was sadly disappointed. The unit I am attached to has decided to make a yearbook for this deployment.

I spoke with the soldier who had been put in charge of getting a picture of everyone for the yearbook and the soldier said that they (the person who assigned that soldier the task, just think of someone who may have too much time on their hands and who is in charge of soldiers) wanted to have a color yearbook, but that nobody wanted to pay $10 for it (nobody really wants a free one either to be honest) so they are doing a black and white one.

I thought my ears had heard wrong as I stared in amazement to the words coming out of that soldier's mouth. So this is it? This is how we are spending your tax dollars? I suppose there is something I just don't understand here... Like maybe this will help us in the 'War on Terror' somehow. Who really knows.

Days here seem to read right out of Joseph Heller's book Catch-22. I wish I could laugh at it all but I just don't have it in me.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Second Oldest Christian Church in the World

Originally uploaded by nevadog.

I was told that this is the second oldest Christian Church in the world. It is located on Saddam's palace complex here in Tikrit, Iraq.


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

This picture was taken by my wife while I was home on leave.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Take it for what it's worth

Eternal Damnation you swear on me.
Your eyes show the hate you harbor.

Here is my neck, I say to you,
Your hands are cold as they begin to squeeze.

It is a diamond you hold, you know?
As imperfect as it is it is still a soul.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Birdie Birdie in the Sky....

Birdie in the sky
Hey! Wait! That's not a birdie
Good thing they missed me

A haiku about mortars

We got hit with mortars 2 days ago and I almost lost a few buddies. The mortars hit on the walking path from the chow hall to my house and my friends were on their way when one asked the others to wait up for him he ran back into the house to get something then they started walking again. Well, when the mortars hit they would have been in the kill zone if they hadn't waited, instead they just felt the blast of air and the thunderous boom from the impact of 3 or 4 mortars...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Special Forces

A couple of days ago I was talking to 2 U.S. Special Forces Soldiers and I was very surprised to find that they thought that we were loosing over here in Iraq and that it would take, "10, 20, 30 years until we are done here."

One of the SF soldiers told me that he is so sick of coming over here that he will do anything when he gets home just so he doesn't have to come back over here.

Even our most elite troops are seeing the grim reality that we have here in Iraq. Why can't you see it too America?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Black Hawk Ride

Black Hawk Ride
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

A Black Hawk ride between Foward Operation Bases (FOBs)

Lessons Learned

What a place Iraq is. You go to bed to the sound of .50 caliber machine gun fire and wake up to 120 degree F (or hotter) temperatures. You get bombed and shot at and you carry a gun and body armor. You get to shoot and kill people too.

In Iraq I found out many things. I learned what pieces of glistening bone look like when they are still fresh. I found out what the inside of a brain looks like, and how much blood leaks out of dead human beings. There are other things too that I have learned over here, like what Depleted Uranium rounds look like and what a person smells like when they have burned to death. I learned a lot about death here, like all the different ways bullets can rip through a person and turn them into so much meat.

One lesson that I still remember like it was yesterday was what a dead child looks like when they have been shot in the head.

I learned that you can cry until tears won't come anymore and I learned what poverty really is. I also found out here in Iraq that I know how to make people die, and I learned what true desperation is.

You won't find these lessons in the school house. Most people won't even learn these things through life experiences. I wonder if they count for anything? I wish that I learned these lessons so that my son and daughter would never have to, but my father hoped for that same thing back in Vietnam and my grandfather had similar wishes while serving in World War II.

These lessons and more I learned in Iraq. A fellow soldier told me the other day, "show me a terrorist nowadays that we didn't help create here in Iraq." Perhaps you think we are making lives better here? Maybe you haven't seen the same things I have.

Welcome to the Iraq School of Hard Knocks where you can learn a lesson in futility. All these lessons I have learned... I just haven't learned how to stop the nightmares.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bombed out palace

Bombed out palace
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

One of Saddam's Bombed out Palaces'

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Depleted Uranium

Thanks to a friend of this site named Max I have been told about a report made by an expert in DU (depleted uranium), Leuren Moret. Moret is described as:

an international radiation specialist, with a B.S. degree in geology from University of California at Davis, a M.A. degree in Near Eastern studies from University of California at Berkeley and has done post-graduate work in the geosciences at UC-Davis. She is environmental commissioner for the City of Berkeley, Calif.

The report goes on to tell of the many nasty characterizations of DU and of how:

DU weaponry violates all international treaties and agreements, Hague and Geneva war conventions, the 1925 Geneva gas protocol, U.S. laws and U.S. military law.

I wish I could say that I knew nothing of DU but alas that would be a lie. I rode up during the invasion with both infantry units and artillery units and it is no secret that DU was used during the invasion. To some it may prove our awesome might as a world power but to others it is an endless nightmare. DU is described as:

the Trojan Horse of nuclear war - it keeps giving and keeps killing. There is no way to clean it up, and no way to turn it off because it continues to decay into other radioactive isotopes in over 20 steps.

Just another present we have given the world I guess... It has been stated as well that:

Since 1991, the U.S. has released the radioactive atomicity equivalent of at least 400,000 Nagasaki bombs into the global atmosphere. That is 10 times the amount released during atmospheric testing which was the equivalent of 40,000 Hiroshima bombs. The U.S. has permanently contaminated the global atmosphere with radioactive pollution having a half-life of 2.5 billion years.

To those of you back home these are just numbers and amounts but to many this is the grim reality. Just as Moret tells of how:

In southern Iraq, scientists are reporting five times higher levels of gamma radiation in the air, which increases the radioactive body burden daily of inhabitants. In fact, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are uninhabitable.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

U.S. State Department Declares a Worldwide Caution for Americans

Deadalus told me about this.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Americans are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur with little or no warning.

What is the our country coming to when we have to tell our citizens that the whole world is so dangerous that a travel warning was needed. The warning goes on to state:

Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics to include assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings. Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. The latter may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas.

I am sure that some would say that this couldn't be the fault of America, they might even go as far as saying that it must be the world's fault. I am glad right now that my family is inside the U.S. and not abroad

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Manifest Destiny

With our "War on Terror" we have our Manifest Destiny. It must be our God given right to bring war to all those who oppose democracy and liberty, Right? If you don't have democracy we will bring it to you by force, and by God you will like it! That must be how the world sees us, not as liberators but as crusaders with our shining swords and white horses. We who are prepared to kill in order to bring not Christianity this time but Democracy.

The terrorists should be quaking in their boots right? WRONG! One CIA report leaked to the Washington Post describes Iraq as the "New Terror Breeding Ground". There are Many who think that we will force the Axis of Evil to bend to our will. The fact that we can force other countries to bend to our will therefore makes us right to do so. Hell, we are ridding them of their tyrannical oppressors, but what many are beginning to see is that we in turn now look like, and to many, ARE the oppressors. Where is the honor in the act of oppression?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tara and Zach

Tara and Zach
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

I love this pic. It was taken while I was home on my 2 weeks leave from Iraq.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Another Explosion

The night was quiet
Silence was broken by a
Suicide Bomber

A haiku about my night.

Friday, July 29, 2005

War in the eyes of Man

Someone recently asked me what I feel are the masculine aspects involved in WAR. I emailed them back and thought that I would share with you all my thoughts on this subject as well.

I think that war is about power and what is more manly than to kill with your own hands another being? History tells of bloody wars full of glory where we slaughter each other for some reason or other which seemed important at the time.

Men can't get enough of war (especially those controlling the war who never have to fight), the politicians and generals especially because they give the commands. Nobody questions them and they become gods even if only for a moment or for a single battle. War is about being right and ask any man if he would rather be right or understood and most of your answers from them will be that they would rather be right (myself included), what is more right to men that the old saying that might MAKES right?

The only men who seem to hate war are those doing the actual slaughter and whose hands run red from the blood of others, for they are really the only ones who know the true cost, not in dollars or equipment, but the price you pay with each piece of your soul, just look at how many homeless war vets you have out there whose souls are so shattered by the wars they fought that they can no longer function, now look and tell me if you can find a single homeless soul shattered politician or general who started that war? Nope? I figured.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I would vote for him

Here you have Paul Hackett was a major in the Marine reserves and who served in Iraq in places like Ramadi and Falloujah. He is running as the first Iraqi war veteran for a seat in Congress.

In the article it states that:

Hackett has criticized Bush's decision to invade Iraq and backs intensified training for Iraqi security forces by pairing them with U.S. troops. He condemns Bush's failure to ask Americans at home to share the burdens of war, complaining about politicians who "use the war to wrap themselves in the American flag."

Which is how many of us over here feel. You would be deceiving yourselves if you think that the majority of troops support this war as the right thing to do and even more surprised as to how many moderate democrats you will find in the military. Believe me, we would be having much less trouble over here if the 52 million or so who voted for Bush would decide to serve over here in Iraq.

Hackett shares another view of many of us over here actually IN Iraq:

"Anybody who served in Iraq has a better view of what's going on over there than a politician in Washington," said Hackett, a lawyer whose only previous political office was a stint on a city council.

I commend him and wish him the best. As for me? I have 6 more months over here, almost a lifetime...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Back in Iraq

Some of you are now relieved that I am back on the net blogging, others are perhaps angered, others still are excited and would like to know what will come next, and the rest are probably just sad that I am still around. To all of you, those who love me (my family and friends) to those who disagree with me, to even those that hate me, I would like to say that I am back in Iraq (I went home for 2 weeks to visit my family). The short time I was home was surrounded by the hell that is military travel. A week to get down there to Kuwait and another week to get back up here at the end of my leave. I will perhaps tell you about it some other time. To all of you who read my blog I want to thank you and let you know that I am back at it again. I have so much I want to share but seeing as how I just arrived back in Iraq today I will save it all for future posts. Take care and thank you for everything. Take care

Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


For the next couple of weeks the posting to my blog will be sporadic if at all. Thank you for all the opinions that have been brought here. I will be back. In the meanwhile feel free to check out the ARCHIVES section on the right hand side.

Take care,

Zachary Scott-Singley

Monday, June 27, 2005

To Run

I ask not that you walk a mile in my shoes
for they are worn beyond repair
What I ask for is not forgiveness
for you have already judged me.
I ask not for pity,
as you suffer as well.

Lets go hand in hand and run until
the world around us blurs away,
All we shall see are the colors.
Past the places we have already gone.
Let the thorns tear and rip our skin.
The pain will help us heal.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Can you sleep at night?

The question I ask of you.
Where where they?
Those weapons of horrible death and destruction?

Are they smiling at you?
Do they still love you?
Can you sleep at night?
Do you even know a single one of their faces?

I hope your nightmares are as bad as mine.
The food is nicer,
but the blood is just as red.
I wonder if you know how to remove that stain?

You can tell me.
When you find a way.
We can both wash our hands.
Too bad the scars will still remain.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Grizzly that is America

I believe more and more each day that things like freedom can't be given. They must be fought for and earned to have value. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that the Iraqi people don't rise up against the insurgency themselves.

That isn't the only way that things could have been better. We could have come here initially with ENOUGH troops. Troops to close the borders (which are still mostly left open) from foreign fighters, and enough troops to have brought security and stability to the cities.

At the same time right now we have a Grizzly bear we call America. Unfortunately it is a Grizzly which is asleep and is kept that way by being fed its daily dose of FOX "Fair and Balanced" medicine. This medicine is fortified with essentials which keep most Americans happily oblivious to what is happening in Iraq and to news stories like the Downing Street Memo... It won't be long however, until this Grizzly wakes up and when it does it is going to be pissed that it has been lied to and so many have been killed because of those lies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

To Walk Away....

I will not be what you make of me. I won't fit into your box, and I am not a conscientious objector. I have killed and I never hesitated when it came time to pull the trigger.

There are things that I will not forget. At the top of that list is my family. When they are lawful I follow my orders, and I accept responsibility for my actions.

I will remember the things I have done. Make no mistake about that point. I will remember. Sorrow is not something I ask for. Please don't spare it on me, there are many others more deserving, the Iraqis come to mind.

To quit, to walk away is to not see my family. That is a choice I am not willing to make.

Sunday, June 19, 2005



I am so damn proud of you son. You are so smart and humble. I remember teaching you how to ride a bike. Trusting me not to let you fall you overcame your fear and in a week you were riding all by yourself.

For so long I haven't been there with you. You've had so much to think about, because while your sister Linnea doesn't understand what I do and what happens to me, you know and you worry about me. That is a lot for a young boy to have to bear. I love you more than you will ever know and I am proud to be your daddy. I love you son.


The day you were born I was there. You were so very beautiful. So much black hair and you had beautiful baby blue eyes. When I first saw you I was standing over you, a tear rolled down my cheek and fell onto your chest I will always remember that moment.

You are my daughter and I will always love you my baby girl.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sticks and Stones...But Words Can Never Hurt

I can't stop thinking about what a Major said to me the other day. "The whole country of Iraq, every man, woman, and child... Kill every one of them and it still won't be worth one American's life."

Perhaps this is why we won't win here, because so many feel that the life of an Iraqi doesn't even register when compared to that of an American. This kind of mindset permeate the thoughts of many of the soldiers here in Iraq.

So often I hear, "I gotta go fuc*** guard Hajji!" By the soldiers assigned the duty of watching over the Iraqi workers who are working on our base. Another thing I hear so very often is, "I'm gonna go shoot me some Hajji." The soldiers who say these things speak as if the Iraqi people were some kind of animal to be hunted. You might tell me that terrorists are nothing more than animals to be hunted but if you look at the statistics most of those killed are civilians not foreign fighters.

It is time to wake up and realize that there are more important things than the Michael Jackson trial. There are things like the value of a human life or the value of an entire nation that has been kicked so many times by tyrants that it may look downtrodden and useless but under it all there is the beauty of LIFE

Sunrise in Tikrit

Originally uploaded by nevadog.

What do you think about this?

I am not allowed to tell you exactly how I feel about this But perhaps you can read it for yourselves and make your own opinions known here in the comments section.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Soldier's Thoughts

Cry for me, for my eyes have gone dry.
My tears tread no path through the dust on my cheeks
Life means so little to many back home
But let your son go, just let your son go

Tell him you promise to come back with Godspeed
Kiss your daughter in the dead of the night
Tell them goodbye with no tears in your eye
You must be a better man than me

Pick up your bag and walk out that door
It's the hardest walk you will ever make
To leave all you love for your honor and pride
Praying that you won't be lied to this time

Get on that plane and try not to look back
Now try to do it all over again
This time knowing what you have seen
With blood on your hands that will never come clean.

A poem I wrote about my thoughts on going to war, my family, and the back door draft...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Just Keep Walking

Was walking outside
Another suicide bomb
I just kept walking

It is hard not to get complacent with all the death dealing going on here in Tikrit Iraq.


Someone who visits my blog has been posting my blog entries in a message bored called:

Here is an email I received from her

Hi Again,

Thanks for responding. I just hate to see these guys tear you down and your not even here to defend yourself, I appreciate what you are doing sooo much, it is this honesty that keeps us human, and stops the savagery.

I wanted to give you a chance in your own words to respond to this guy, he is a brit, and very insulting to America and our Troops I might add, but you will see that yourself. I hesitated to send this to you as I don't want to add to your stress levels but figured you probably get a lot of critical mail and at least this way you are free to respond, I will happily post what ever reply you want to make or nothing if you don't wish to reply, either way, yo took an oath to fight for my rights, and I will never tire of fighting for yours.

The Brits post, he goes by The Duke of Wellington

I see you guys have been having fun while I was sleeping, Lol.

Bugs, leona really believes what this guy writes is genuine because ... 1) he writes stuff straight out of her anti-Bush manual that she likes to see in print, and 2) there almost certainly is a guy called Snott-Sickley serving in Iraq, who is attached to FOB Danger. Combine the two, and belief is irresistible for her.

leona, Bugs is not a liar and, as far as I know (and neither you nor I have reason to disbelieve him) he has served in the US armed forces, so has a legitimate right to doubt anything connected to the US military, and probably is a better judge than either of us as to what is and isn't genuine in this context.

As far as whether the guy exists ...

He claims to be a sergeant - a role for which he would be very young at 24, although his claimed occupation of linguist may bring an automatic higher rank, I don't know.

His address seems genuine enough. Any anomalies in the address can be put down to people recording it incorrectly in articles, blogs etc which, in turn, then appear incorrectly in Google links to this guy or his blog.

However. What he writes would take even a professional writer far longer than a serving soldier could possibly have at his disposal. Not only that, his articles include links to endless other sources, including Nevadadog, a nick name he has in Yahoo, under which you will find further endless links to more stuff. If genuine this guy would have to be online 24/7, probably more!

No, the only logical conclusion is that he puts his name to stuff posted under his name - probably because, like leona, he believes in it and is more than willing to lend his name to it.

My question remains ... what sort of amateur army allows this to happen??


I don't know what else to say to convince him that I am a real soldier... One thing I DO have to say is that I feel honored that he thinks I am some professional writer. I really am stunned and don't know what else to say... Take care.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Joseph L. Galloway from Knight Ridder Newspapers

I couldn't find a link to this article but Joseph Galloway was kind enough to grant me permission to post the whole thing here on my blog.

Posted on Wed, Jun. 08, 2005

Tell U.S. troops the truth


In a Memorial Day interview, Vice President Dick Cheney told Larry King that the Iraqi insurgency is in its death throes, Osama bin Laden ''is on the run,'' we've dealt a major blow to al Qaeda and the terror suspects detained at Guantánamo have been ``treated humanely and decently.''

Wait a minute. What did he say? That sounded suspiciously like a ''light at the end of the tunnel'' speech.

President Bush echoed his No. 2's conclusions the next day, declaring that the upsurge in violence in Iraq is evidence that the insurgency is on its last legs.

We haven't heard the like since July 3, 2003, when the president told those misguided souls who thought they saw an opportunity to kill Americans in Iraq: ``Bring `em on!''

Since the last good news in Iraq, the Jan. 30 elections, and a resulting but brief pause in the pace of attacks on Americans and Iraqis, more than 700 Iraqis have been slaughtered in a wave of terrorist bombings and attacks that are increasing in sophistication and viciousness. The death toll among American troops in Iraq is 1,665 and rising.

Packed with explosives

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld marches stubbornly on with his crackpot ideas about how to transform the military so that it's lighter, faster and more agile. So far, he's succeeding only in breaking the Army and the Marine Corps.

As Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter reported last week, U.S. field commanders say that we have so few troops along the Syrian border that the area has remained wide open for the free transit of Holy War folks from all over the Muslim world. They come to drive cars packed with explosives to kill themselves and fellow Muslims in the name of God.

We arrived in Iraq more than two years ago knowing that more than a million tons of bombs, artillery shells, land mines, grenades, bullets, portable anti-aircraft missiles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and AK-47 rifles were sitting in more than 600 ammunition dumps all over the country.

But because there aren't enough U.S. troops on the ground, we've secured only about 25 percent of those ammo dumps. Some others have a frightened Iraqi security guard, armed with a rusty pistol, on the gate. When a dump truck driven by heavily armed terrorists pulls up and they offer him a choice of a $100 bill or death, he waves them through. They load the dump truck with 500-pound bombs and 155 mm artillery shells to make the ubiquitous IEDs -- improvised explosive devices -- that kill American soldiers and Iraqis the next day or the next week.

In pursuit of Rumsfeld's holy grail of fast and light, Army divisions have been ordered to leave home half or more of their tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. Tank and artillery crews have been dismounted, turned into light infantry and sent out in light transport vehicles, Humvees, to patrol the deadliest roads and streets in the world.

They've paid the price, and they continue to pay it.

These fine young soldiers, many of them National Guard members and Reservists, get only six or nine or 12 months between combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most are on their second or third time around.

There's an answer to this, if our intention is to stay in Iraq as long as it takes: Increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps so the burden can be shared and lightened.

This Rumsfeld refuses to do, even as he watches the force begin to crack and recruitment fall 25 percent and more below target. This would be a good time to conduct a thoughtful review of where we are in this war, where we're going, what our exit strategy should be and what can be done to prevent a Vietnam-style disaster in the Middle East.

The answer isn't staying the course, if the course we're on points us in the wrong direction.

The answer isn't the false optimism of those who argue that more insurgent attacks are proof that the insurgency is dying, or that Iraqi boys will soon be doing what until now American men and women have had to do for them.

Their military and civilian superiors owe our soldiers -- and all of

us -- more than political spin.

They, and we, deserve realism and the truth.

Joseph L. Galloway is the senior

military correspondent for Knight

Ridder Newspapers.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Iraqi Army Base

Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Here you have the Iraqi Army training base just across the river from my FOB (forward operations base)

After the Fall of Baghdad

Originally uploaded by nevadog.

This photo was taken of me during my first time here in Iraq. I don't remember the journalist taking the pic, but when I got home there it was...

Things Look Grim

I sit here thinking of the soldiers who died here at my base 2 days ago. I think of them and of the things going on back home. Every day you hear stories. News, politics, war, everything. Things look grim. The latest news Poll states that over half of all Americans disapprove of how Bush is handling his job, the highest of his presidency.

On a comparable note you have officials in the army saying:

that with only four months left in the budget year, the Army is at barely 50 percent of its goal. Recruiters would have to land more than 9,760 young men and women a month, on average, to reach the 80,000 target by the end of September. In other words, they would have to far exceed their official targets, which range from 5,650 to 9,250 a month.

Seeing Iraqis and Americans die by the week over here has made me realize why the recruiting goals haven't been met and why they CAN'T be met. It is because when you have been lied to about why we went to war, when you down size the army, when you tell people that things are just fine and dandy and that major combat operations in Iraq are over and yet we are getting killed here left and right, when this happens people loose trust in you.

The right answer isn't to ignore it all and say things are going well. The right answer is to get us out or change the way the system works. They say there is no draft coming but for those of us forced to be over here, for those of us involuntarily extended for our second and third tours over here in Iraq it sure feels like one.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Like clockwork they come
It's 8:10 here are the bombs
Night shift is over.

It is getting pretty regular now. At least I can use the explosions to signal the end of my shift each day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Some Treasures are Lost Forever

In Baghdad while on a patrol just a few weeks after securing the airport (during my first deployment here) we chanced upon the War College. That was where many of Saddam's officers had been trained. As we pulled up in our Humvee looters scrambled away in fear and we were greeted by three retired Iraqi military officers all of which were livid. ALL of the artwork, statues, marble flooring, carpets, and everything of any value at all had been stolen.

So many years worth of Iraqi heritage and culture gone. We told them (the 3 Iraqis) that we would inform our commanders that this place should have been guarded. As you may have guessed neither us or our commanders could have done anything about what had happened. There just weren't enough soldiers to keep peace, stabilization, and secure the borders from foreign fighters let alone try and guard the important places housing valuable Iraqi artifacts from being stolen and lost possibly forever.

How angry would America be if our history and culture were desecrated and looted, if our capital was ransacked by thieves all because of poor planning about the war? Maybe we are doing the right thing now by trying to rebuild, but to have lost so much...

Can they forgive us for their looted national treasures? What about for all of their dead children? Can we make things right? How can you compensate a human life? How can you compensate thousands of them?

Don't ask me, I don't have those answers...

Friday, May 27, 2005

My Thoughts on Monsters

There is a place where the skys are blue, the water is clean, and life is good. This place can not be found where I am at. Over here almost every single morning begins with violence, explosions, and people being killed. Over here the locals can't make enough money because it is so unsafe to be out and working. Over here things are different. Down is often up and up isn't down but sideways. In Iraq there are some who want only to see their children grow up, to grow old with their loved ones.

There are also monsters here. "Monsters?" you say, "those can't be real." I tell you that they are. I have seen with my own eye that they are. The worst part is that they look just like people. They aren't though. They think that the way to do things is to violently end their lives. Most of the time they end up destroying and devastating those regular people who love their families. People who work honestly, those who have hearts. The monsters however, are hard to spot because like I said, they look like regular people.

I have spoken with these monsters, seen their eyes. I wonder how you can fit so much hate in there. Maybe that is why they blow themselves up. They just can't contain all that hate...

Want to know what it is like to be one? I have come close before. Close, because I wanted to kill so badly, to destroy those same monsters, but I realized something. You are only a monster if you let yourself become one.

So now I dream not about monsters but about that place. It is so very far away that it doesn't seem like it is real any more. That place is called home. I just hope that I make it back there.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Deathly Afraid

It was March 20, 2003 just hours before we crossed the border into Iraq. My teammates were all doing different things. One of them was on guard duty around our two trucks, one was working in the back of our HMMWV (or Hummer as they are called in the civilian world) which we simply called "the system". The system was our operations vehicle with lots of various equipment that we used as Arabic translators. I had just finished shaving. You can't imagine how painful it is to shave with a dust caked razor and only cold water...

Our other vehicle we called our "chase" vehicle. The reason for the chase vehicle is that if we had been over run with enemies we were to destroy all the equipment in our "system" with our thermal grenades and high tail it out in our chase vehicle (a regular un-armored HMMWV).

There we were minding our own business when up drove 2 marines. They were honking and screaming, "SCUD!!!" They were also wearing full chemical gear (a suit, mask, gloves, and boots to protect from a chemical attack). We had never moved so fast in our whole lives. Mask, suit, boots, gloves we de-contaminated our exposed skin with our packets of powdered charcoal (the charcoal is supposed to absorb any chemicals which may have gotten on your skin).

We called in that we had been slimed and got in the back of our chase vehicle. The SCUD hit pretty far away, and we heard the explosion but couldn't see where it had hit. So we sat there, scared out of our minds. I spoke first, "OH, SH**! My face is burning, I just dry shaved but maybe it is chem. How do you guys feel?!?" One of my friends answered, "holy crap, I feel it too! I just shaved about an hour ago, maybe it is just the charcoal on my cuts?"

Then we opened the back flap of our HMMWV and saw how hazy it was out there. "OH F***! Look at how hazy it is, is that dust or chem?" Asked my other friend. The three of us just kept sitting there scaring each other even more with every observation.

The fourth team member was all suited up in the back of our system. We sat there scared stupid and then we got the call over the radio that it was a false alarm. No chem! We were so very relieved, sitting there covered in black charcoal and sweat. Happy and hugging each other and shouting because we were alive. Yeah, back with the rest of our platoon we got the snot teased out of us, but hey, they weren't there with us, they didn't know...

To this very day when the four of us get together we still laugh at how scared we were. Turns that yes, my face was just burning because I had nicked it only about a million times with my razor, and no it wasn't VX gas or chem, it was only a small dust storm. Just one of the "good" memories from the war...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Still Alive, guess it is another good day.

The mortars hit us
I'm glad that I didn't die
Guess it's a good day

A haiku about my morning

Friday, May 20, 2005

My wife

my wife at work3
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Here is the mother of my children and my best friend. My wife Tara.

My son

My son
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Here is my wonderful son Jacob

My daughter

my daughter
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

My beautiful daughter Linnea.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Deals with the Devil

It is hard to disagree with "THE NATION" when they state that Senator Norm Coleman is an idiot.

Not an ideological idiot, not a partisan idiot, but a plain old-fashioned, drool-on-his-tie idiot.

Senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota started raising a fuss about the UN and their "Oil for Food" program. He pointed his finger and shook it with all of his might, however, he didn't realize that in doing so it showed just HOW MUCH U.S. energy companies have gained from their deals with the Devil (Saddam Hussein). In fact it turns out that the MAJORITY of illegal kickbacks have come not from the UN but the U.S.

Here is what our own Senate says about it.

The Senate investigation that Coleman sought regarding the Oil-for-Food program has already revealed that the Bush administration failed to crack down on widespread abuse of the oil-for-food program by U.S. energy companies, and that U.S. oil purchases accounted for the majority of the kickbacks paid to Saddam Hussein's regime in return for sales of impensive oil. Indeed, the report concludes, "The United States (government) was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions. On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."

Senator Coleman's accusations brought even the wrath of our greatest ally the United Kingdom. In a visit from Galloway (a member of British parliament) to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Galloway states:

"Mr Chairman, I am not now, nor have I ever been an oil trader and neither has anyone been on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one, and neither has anybody on my behalf." He accused Coleman of being "remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice" and pointed out error after error in the report the senator had brandished against him.

He also goes on to point out:

"I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning."

"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies."

Every day over here in Iraq I get up and put my uniform and body armor on. I wear the U.S. Flag on my right shoulder next to my combat patch. I earned the right to wear this uniform and I "earned" that combat patch during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Each day that goes by it gets harder to hold my head high while wearing that uniform over here in Iraq. It gets harder and harder as we learn more of the truth behind this war. How many died because of these "lies" as Mr. Galloway calls them. How many have I killed because of them?

Monday, May 16, 2005


Today I would like to talk about something very personal. When I returned from Iraq the first time I couldn't sleep. I had this crazy lurking fear that something would happen to my family. Without a weapon I felt naked. After I came back I began carrying a knife on me at all times day or night. It was because I was so paranoid that something bad was going to happen to my children or wife. Tara my wife never called me crazy, ever. She would just talk with me about my fears. She would catch me sometimes, crying or just sitting there for a very long time staring with unfocused eyes because I was lost in one of my war memories. She never pried but waited until I was ready to talk.

When she would see me totally break down she never judged me. Instead she would sit on the floor next to me and just hold me until it passed. I felt so ashamed because I knew that none of my friends from combat were weak like that. They held it together. I told my wife this and she told me how one of her best friends' (a wife who's husband had been in Iraq with me) husband was going through the same thing as me. He and I never talked about it, but just knowing that he was dealing with it like me made me feel better inside. It made me less of a freak.

I drank a lot. I would drink to make myself pass out so that my nightmares would go away for a while. My wife never judged me; she would only stand by my side and tell me how it worried her that I was keeping it all in and drinking so much. After a while I stopped drinking like that and would instead talk with her about my thoughts and memories.

She has heard every gory bloody detail about the war as I saw it through my eyes. I told her of the worst things I had seen. I hated myself and was sick with war. Even after hearing the most horrible things she told me how much she loved me, and I began to love myself again.

I had tried talking to a doctor about those feelings and memories and how they had affected me. He told me that it couldn't possibly be PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) because he had seen some soldiers come home and they had attacked people or had done illegal things. He said that since I didn't do those things that I had a sound mind and was ok. I guess I went to him for the wrong reasons, it wasn't a crazy mind that I was suffering from, it was my shattered soul.

There were things that I had seen and participated in that I could never take back. My wife was there for me every step of the way. I don't know what else to say but that she is the best friend I have ever had. She is a damn fine woman and a strong and wonderful mother. My wife has never been over here in Iraq, but in her own way she has seen war. She has helped me put those shattered pieces of myself back together, and I love her for it.

I love you Tara

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Iraqi Fish

Iraqi Fish
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

The fish from the lake in front of the house here in Tikrit Iraq.


Some people have told me that others would be judged for the blood on our hands. I don't believe that because they are OUR hands not theirs.

I remember how just after crossing the Euphrates River during the 'Shock and Awe' campaign and seeing 2 columns of bodies, one row on each side of the road. They were in various states of undress from their Iraqi military uniforms because they had been trying to quickly change into civilian clothing and would have run home to their families or some may have been planning to escape so that they could ambush us later. Well, they were all dead, blood everywhere from all the holes in the bodies. So many bodies all lined up. I can still remember the last body on the left side of the road because his hand was still twitching as we drove past.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Soldiers Die

We had done it. We made it to Baghdad. I was thinking this when we pulled into the field near the Saddam (now Baghdad) International Airport. During the beginning of the war I had traveled with an infantry unit, but for the last week or so of the war I was with an artillery unit. That artillery unit had taken very good care of us.

When we first arrived at that field we noticed that near one of the paladins (a very large artillery piece, looks like a tank...) lay the body of a dead Iraqi soldier. We didn't bother him and he didn't bother us. We had become friends with the soldiers who's paladin was parked near the body, so we would usually visit them at least once a day or so. After that first day I found out that the guys in that paladin had made friends with that dead Iraqi soldier, and they had given him a name as well. His name was Fred. When the guys at the paladin had guard duty (one of them manned the hatch gun at all times) they would talk about Fred (or sometimes to Fred) to pass the long hours of guard duty. Fred didn't have the best of manners though. He didn't shower and was very lazy (he spent his days just laying there in the grass).

On a serious side though I think that the reason we made light of the situation was because we lived next to a dead and sun bloated body who had been killed violently. I mean, if we didn't laugh we would probably have been loosing it. We had just fought a bloody war and now we were living IN the blood and violence of it all. I am glad though. Glad that Fred was a soldier. We understood that. Soldiers die. Us, them... soldiers die. If it had been a civilian I don't know what we would have done. Civilians should be safe. At least that is the way it is supposed to be, but Iraqi civilians did die and still do every day...

Lake Reflection

Lake Reflection
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

From the window of my house you can see the lake here in Tikrit at the palace complex. What kinds of things can you see from your windows? I wish I could see home from mine here...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


I was reading the news when I came upon this!. It is an article about how the defense contracting company Halliburton has received $72 million dollars in BONUSES for it's work in Iraq. So when you wonder where all that money we send to Iraq is going lets just make sure we are on the same page. This money given to Halliburton is in addition to the money it makes for its defense contract in Iraq. WHY IS ALL THIS MONEY GOING TO GIANT US CORPORATIONS? Shouldn't it be going to Iraqi businesses to help rebuild their devastated economy and war torn land? Why do the BIG MONEY people of the United States get to smear our good name and continue to prosper when the Iraqi people who have had suffered many many civilian casualties and other numerous hardships continue to get the short end of the stick? I just hope that someone decides that enough is enough. Either invest that money we had set aside in a good way for the Iraqis or give it to someone who will!

Sunday, May 08, 2005


It's amazing how the human body is so very resilient and strong yet so very fragile. You hear stories like how 2 teenagers survived being lost at sea for 7 days. Then that same day you also see people blown to bits, and I can't help but wonder, how?

A few days ago on my way across the base we had to drive under an overpass. This overpass runs right through our FOB (forward operations base) and is open to Iraqi civilian traffic. That traffic must pass through multiple checkpoints to even get on this overpass.

We were driving under this overpass and the first thing we felt was the shockwave shake our entire vehicle. Then came the sound of the explosion. It happened about 300 meters from us. Great black clouds were billowing forth from the violent end to a human life. My driver and I were lucky not to be one of the dead and wounded, but it reminded me again of how very fragile we are, humanity...

I wonder how many parents back home will never see their sons and daughters, how many wives and husbands will become widows waiting for loved ones who will never be coming home, and how many children will have only a folded American flag to remind them of their mother or father? Every day I pray to God that my son Jacob, my daughter Linnea, and my wife Tara will have more than just a piece of folded cloth. I pray that I make it home.

In closing I say only this. REMEMBER! Remember your daughter's smile, your son's laugh, and the way your wife or husband looks at you just before they kiss you. KISS them! Tell them how much you care! Don't ever take them for granted, because life is so very fragile.

Tara, I love you. I love you with every bit of my heart. You are my beautiful wife and such a strong and wonderful mother. Tell the kids that I love them, and Tara? I promise I will come home to you.

My Family

my family
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Happy Mother's Day Tara. I love you!

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

A picture of a dried out well in Tikrit Iraq.

Gated Compound

Gated Compound
Originally uploaded by nevadog.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


It was still dark. I got dressed in that darkness. When I was ready I grabbed an MRE (meal ready to eat) and got in the truck. I was going to go line the truck up in preparation for the raid we were about to go on. The targets were three houses where RPG attacks had come from a few days prior. Sitting there in that darkness listening to the briefing on how we were to execute the mission, I let my mind wander from the briefing and said a prayer. "Just one more day God, let me live one more day and we will go from there..." It was the same prayer I said every day because every day I did the same thing. I left the base. With a small team I would go out each day on different missions. I was their translator.

There were different people to meet each day. There were some who would kill you if they could. They would look at you and you could see the hate in their eyes. I also met with people who would have given me everything they owned. People, that were so thankful to us because we had rid them of Saddam. Well, this day was not really much different from all those other days so far. After the briefing we all got into our assigned seats and convoyed out to the raid site. I was to go in directly after the military police that would clear the building.

The raid began without a hitch. Inside one of the courtyards of one of the houses, talking to an Iraqi woman checking to see if her story correlated with what the detained men had said), I heard gunfire. It was automatic gunfire. Ducking next to the stone wall I yelled at the woman to get inside her house, and when the gunfire stopped I peeked my head around the front gate. I saw a soldier amongst the others who was pulling rear security by our vehicles. This soldier I saw was still aiming his M249 (a fully automatic belt fed machine gun) at a black truck off in the distance. His was the weapon I had heard.

I ran up near his position and overheard the Captain in charge of the raid asking what had happened and why had this soldier opened fire. The soldier kept his weapon aimed and answered that he was sure he had seen a man holding an AK-47 in the back of the black truck. I was amongst the four (along with the soldier who had fired on the black truck) who had been selected to go and see what was up with that truck.

We were out of breath when we got to the gun-truck nearest to the black civilian truck(a gun-truck is a HUMMWV or sometimes called a Hummer by civilians, with a .50 caliber machine gun on its roof). There was a group of four Iraqis walking towards us from the black truck. They were carrying a body. When I saw this I ran forward and began to speak (in Arabic) to the man holding the body but I couldn't say a word.

There right in front of me in the arms of one of the men I saw a small boy (no more than 3 years old). His head was cocked back at the wrong angle and there was blood. So much blood. How could all that blood be from that small boy? I heard crying too. All of the Iraqi men standing there were crying and sobbing and asking me WHY? Someone behind me started screaming for a medic, it was the young soldier (around my age) who had fired his weapon. He screamed and screamed for a medic until his voice was hoarse and a medic came just to tell us what I already knew. The boy was dead. I was so numb.

I stood there looking at that little child, someone's child (just like mine) and seeing how red the clean white shirt of the man holding the boy was turning. It was then that I realized that I had been speaking to them; speaking in a voice that sounded so very far away. I heard my voice telling them (in Arabic) how sorry we were. My mouth was saying this but all my mind could focus on was the hole in the child's head. The white shirt covered in bright red blood. Every color was so bright. There were other colors too. The glistening white pieces of the child's skull still splattered on that so very white shirt. I couldn't stop looking at them even as I continued telling them how sorry we were.

I can still see it all to this very day. The raid was over there were no weapons to be found and we had accomplished nothing except killing a child of some unknowing mother. Not wanting to leave yet, I stayed as long as I could, talking to the man holding the child. I couldn't leave because I needed to know who they were. I wanted to remember. The man was the brother of the child's father. He was the boy's uncle, and he was watching him for his father who had gone to the market. They were carpenters and the soldier who had fired upon the truck had seen someone holding a piece of wood and standing in the truck bed.

Before I left to go back to our base I saw the young soldier who had killed the boy. His eyes were unfocused and he was just standing there, staring off into the distance. My hand went to my canteen and I took a drink of water. That soldier looked so lost, so I offered him a drink from my canteen. In a hoarse voice he quietly thanked me and then gave me such a thankful look; like I had given him gold.

Later that day those of us who had been selected to go inspect the black truck were filling reports out about what we had witnessed for the investigation. The Captain who had led the raid entered the room we were in and you could see that he was angry. He said, "Well this is just great! Now we have to go and give that family bags of money to shut them up..." I wanted to kill him. I sat there trembling with my rage. Some family had just lost their beautiful baby boy and this man, this COMMISSIONED OFFICER in the United States Army is worried about trying to pay off the family's grief and sorrow. He must not have been a father, otherwise he would know that money doesn't even come close... I wanted to use my bare hands to kill him, but instead I just sat there and waited until the investigating officer called me into his office.

To this day I still think about that raid, that family, that boy. I wonder if they are making attacks on us now. I would be. If someone took the life of my son or my daughter nothing other than my own death would stop me from killing that person. I still cry too. I cry when the memory hits me. I cry when I think of how very far away I am from my family who needs me. I am not there just like the boy's father wasn't there. I pray every day for my family's safety and just that I was with them. I have served my time, I have my nightmares, I have enough blood on my hands. My contract with the Army has been involuntarily extended. I am not asking for medicine to help with the nightmares or for anything else, only that the Army would have held true to the contract I signed and let me be a father, a husband, a daddy again.


Sgt Zachary Scott-Singley


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

This palm tree is still standing even after a blast a while back from a mortar attack.

Monday, May 02, 2005

More Mortars

Another haiku about my day and the bombs that fell on us here in Tikrit.

Two times in one day
Alive until tomorrow
Drums of War play on


Originally uploaded by nevadog.

These are wells (I don't know why he has so many in the same spot) for Saddam's palaces

Saturday, April 30, 2005


I would just like to say thanks to ALMOST ALL of the DEMOCRATS and SOME of the republicans who voted to get ME and MY FELLOW soldiers armor! There were 39 senators that thought we didn't need any armor. I think that this is pathetic and disgusting! You would let your soldiers be placed in danger and be too damn greedy to even give us armor. I am ashamed at you

Friday, April 29, 2005


There is good out there even though at times it all seems bleak. There is also Death. How many have dealt in death? Some would call it murder. Well, I have a confession to make, my platoon and I have had over 192 confirmed kills during our first deployment here (during the war on our way to capture Baghdad). We targeted people and then they just disappeared. Why? They were going to kill me. I had my orders and they had theirs. We were mortal enemies because we were told that we were. There are some who would tell me to not think about what I had to do, or it will drive you insane. For me however, I can't help but think about it. They were men like me. Some of them were even conscripted into military service. What made them fight? Were they more scared of their leader than of us? What has become of their families? How could I forget or not think about all that I have done? Should I wash my hands of it all like Pontius Pilot? I think not. My choices have been made, my actions irreversible. So live I will, for we were the victors right? The ones who survived. It is our victory, and our burden to carry, and I bear it with both pride and with the greatest of remorse. Do you think that there is a special place in hell for people like me? Or will God judge me to have been a man of honor and duty? When they told us how many we had killed my first thought was pride. Pride for such a high number. How does one feel pride for killing? Two years later and my thoughts are changed, transformed if you will. Those were just numbers so long ago when I first heard them. Now however, I know that they were men with families like mine. It is crazy that we humans can be so destructive. There are people out there lining up to become martyrs, to kill themselves in order to kill others, and yet you still have people who fight tooth and nail to live for just one more minute longer. We are an oxymoron, humanity that is. What makes someone look down the sights of a rifle to take aim on a fellow human being? What does it take to pull the trigger? I have done those things. I have done them and would do it again if it meant returning to my wife and children again. Some of you may think that I am a beast and you are probably right. I am. I will kill, I will take aim and fire, I will call fire upon you from afar with rockets and bombs or anything I can get my hands on if it means that I will see my family one more time. But, I will also choose to dwell on and live with my choices. I chose to enlist as a soldier. My time has been served and now it is becoming overtime, but I won't just run away. As much as I would love to just be done (and rightly so now that I have been involuntarily extended). One thing is all I ask of you. I ask that you not judge me. Let me be my own judge for my judgment is harsher than any you could give me anyway. For I will always have those memories to remind me of what I have done and what I am. Please know that I pray for peace everyday, that and to see my family again...