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...


Kate said...

Painful, beautiful.

Take care --

Mom said...

A lot said in a few short words. Powerful.

P Robinson said...

Zach, some of the most sad and eloquent words I have ever read. Godspeed to you and your safe return to your family and loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Zach, keep your head down, your wits about you and do what is absolutely necessary to come back alive. Hang in there and soon you will be back stateside.

Anonymous said...

One thing I would add in addition to what I said above...
Hey, Zach's mom :) You have a wonderful son, someone to be very, very proud of.
-roamer in mich

cornelius said...

Just happened onto your blogspot through an excerpt published in Common Dreams. Thank you for sharing your pain, your nightmares, your sense of horror and betrayal, and, yes, your love. I plan to visit again. Blessings and Peace.

Anonymous said...

Hey Zach,
It's Margie from New York again. I love your poem. I love poetry. Keep writing. It will help. Very beautiful with deep meaning. Take care of yourself.
Peace, Margie

Anonymous said...

Hi sweet son, Hey who else signed their comment Mom as that was not me this time! I love you. Nothing hurts more than dry tears. You have people to cry with and for and we love you dearly. Love you, Mom

indigo said...

ciao zack, just to let you know you are in my thoughts,sending you strength, and a blessing for safety and strength and a prayer that you find a place to understand and live with all you experience. thank you for sharing your thoughts. ....namaste.

Snag said...

Hey man. I noticed a few different times you mentioned that you have blood on your hands.
You don't. Don't internalize it (I know that's easier said than done). It's us at home that have blood on our hands. We didn't do enough to keep you home. Some (those that loudly bang the drums of war) have more blood than others, but in this country the government and its extensions (the military) only reflect the will of the people (or indifference).
Let us know if there is anything we can do to ease your burden.
-Snag (Sgt., U.S. Army 1987-98)

The Maquisard said...

Hey man. Just checked out your site. Sincerely hope you get home safe and sound. Why the hell has it taken over 1,700 (so far) deaths - and only American deaths at that! Forget the 12(0),000 Iraqis - for the American public to wake up to what a disaster this is? How is it that it did'nt take a single death for the rest of the world to realise this?

Get home, live in peace, and kill no more.

~Dev said...

I'm listening to you, my friend. You are not forgotten. What the Bush administration has done to you all [our brave men and women, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and cousins... our citizen soldiers] is something I cannot stomach or forgive. As long as I am able, I will rally against them... use my [artistic] skills and talents to learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as I am able. Our country needs citizens like you to be here... raise your families... teach the rest of us what it means to be an American. I pray you all come home soon to live out the remainder of your lives in peace, with our country’s sorrow... remorse... and undying respect to embrace you for your pain. Sometimes, I feel many of us have taken a backseat to Bush’s Machiavellian lies and pro-war propaganda... forgetting the very real and tragic outcome of war for all sides involved. I am no soldier... I’m only a citizen. I speak from no experience and from complete ignorance as to what you (and others like you) have endured. How can I help you? Please tell me.


Anonymous said...

Jawa rocks

HippySuperstar said...

You are not alone. You are not forgotten. May you someday find the peace you so deserve. You are a true hero. We are fighting the best fight we can here at home and our numbers grow stronger everyday. We didn't start with much but we've always had "right" on our side. I will continue to fight my government to bring you and all the other brave men and women home. You are truly an inspiration to me. Reading your blog makes me want to work even harder at righting this wrong.



Daedalus said...

Dear Zach,

Did you actually write that? Poetry, my friend, used to be a dead art. If you wrote this, you have certainly revived it.


Kitty Antonik Wakfer said...

Zach, you could rightly feel more pride in yourself if you refused to continue to abet the killing that you acknowledge is wrong. If you and the many other soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places the US government has sent them, who think as you do, said "No" and refused to take part in violent actions (or refused to board the planes that transported you there or refused to enlist/re-enlist in the first place), then a "war to liberate/democratize/pacify" could not continue (let alone begin). It is a far different thing to volunteer to protect the shores of one's own country from invading forces; and the greater the threat of loss to one's values (life, loved ones, liberties, possessions), the more reasonable it is to risk one's own life to protect them. But to follow orders to go outside the country (a great distance in this case), in order to follow more orders to harm people there, supposedly in order to eliminate (unproven) weapons of mass destruction or eliminate a tyrannical ruler or convince the country's residents to adopt a democratic government (take your pick or add another), is not bravery, reason for pride or honorable. I would contend it can be many other things (such as fear, desire to impress/be accepted, desire for money), none of which would give the long-range widest viewing individual reason to be proud or happy.

I would encourage you and your like-thinking fellows in the US military (and other government's forces also) to stop - stop the actions that lead to the harm to those (including the deaths that bother you) who have not physically attacked you, your home, your loved ones, your possessions. Without the individual soldier (marine, sailor, airman) to follow out the orders of the commanders, these latter would have to do the physical harm (including killing) themselves - or leave and return home. You are troubled by the many harmful actions you have taken towards those who have done you no harm; the proper course to take is to stop doing the harm (and restitute the harmed). The nightmares and daytime regrets will likely diminish once the possibility of continuing to do such harm has ceased; but that they will be more likely to disappear entirely if you make the cessation of harm possibility a conscious act of your own, not simply the following of another order.

Hurria said...

With no ill will at all toward you, I have no tears for you. You have choices. All my tears are for your victims, who have no choices at all.

Snag said...

Then why do you come to post on this man's blog? Is it to fire your own emotional/mental bullets at him and those that are concerned for him? Do you need to express your hurt and anger (it's understandable)? Do you feel that you need to do it by hurting others (we all suffer from this in one way or another)? Right now, can you only be sorry for some and not others?
Please don't get defensive over these questions. The feelings are normal, but it is also what ultimately leads us into forgetting the suffering of our fellow man. When we forget this, we can then justify the killing of others.
I try as best I can to ask myself these questions. I am human so it is easy to lose myself in my own anger...but I know that this is my suffering. Suffering that when expressed as anger only serves to bring me more suffering.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zack,

Reading your blogs, there is a disconnect. You seem to me to be certifiably insane.
Having seen Iraq up close, you return. If that is not insanity, what is?

Do you perceive your life as a chained slave, with no options other than being led to your demise?

For me, the choice would have been so achingly obvious; pack my sleeping children and wife into the minivan and head north. When i got to the Canadian border i would declare myself a free man, no longer bound to do the bidding of the merchants of death.

What possible reason could you have to meekly submit yourself to another round in this insanity?

So, you’re stop lossed, stuck in the cycle. Gonna survive this time? Perhaps…if you’re lucky. Gonna go for a third or fourth round?...At some point you either have to decide you don’t want to participate any longer, or get killed.

I hope you come to your senses and decide to stop participating …like right this very second.

Just say you aren’t doing it any more….and submit to the court martial routine. If you’re lucky, you may only get a few years at hard labor…but isn’t that better than being a part of a killing machine?

Best of luck,


Beth said...

"Then why do you come to post on this man's blog? Is it to fire your own emotional/mental bullets at him and those that are concerned for him? Do you need to express your hurt and anger (it's understandable)? Do you feel that you need to do it by hurting others (we all suffer from this in one way or another)? Right now, can you only be sorry for some and not others?"

Desmond Tutu says this is the only way we can reconcile-by allowing ourselves to see and feel each other's pain. There is nothing wrong with expressing anger and pain, it's when that anger and pain turns into blame and hate that we come to see fellow human beings as the "other." Put in a big dose of FEAR and misunderstanding and you have the recipe for violence.
Zach, by sharing with others what you are experiencing, I believe you are attempting to do just that, to reconcile.
We are a long way from the wisdom of Mandela and Tutu, but maybe the world still can learn alot from how the South Africans were able to start to heal from within. Unfortunately, we are in short supply of wisdom in the White House. The American press cowards/cronies have failed miserably by not exposing this war for what it really was even before it started. So did our elected representatives. So did the American people. We failed you by not preventing you from being there. So there you are...only by speaking up and speaking out will you truly be free of the pain you say you feel. But while you are easing/soothing your conscience with your words, people are dying...
I recommend Tutu's book, "No Future Without Forgiveness" for anyone who is TRULY interested in where we go from here.
I hope this nightmare is over soon but as long as we elect leaders who are nationalists and not true patriots, we will continue to face the consequences, endless war is one of them...

Hurria said...

"Then why do you come to post on this man's blog?"

Why did this man set up this blog, and why does he post what he posts here? And why do you come here to post? And why does anyone?

"Is it to fire your own emotional/mental bullets at him and those that are concerned for him?"

Oh, I am sorry. I thought I was adding my voice and my perspective to the voices and perspective on a public, open forum. I did not realize I was firing bullets at people. I will cease immediately before I wound or kill someone.

"Do you need to express your hurt and anger (it's understandable)?"

Maybe people here need to hear what I have to say.

"Do you feel that you need to do it by hurting others (we all suffer from this in one way or another)? "

Oh I see. I am the one who is hurting others, not those who traveled to a country half a world away whose name they cannot even pronounce to destroy and kill.

"Right now, can you only be sorry for some and not others?"

You are asking me to feel sorry for the anguish of the boy who murders his family and then cries because he is an orphan.

"Please don't get defensive over these questions."

I am not defensive, I am annoyed and offended.

"The feelings are normal"

Thank you, doctor. I feel much better about myself now.

"but it is also what ultimately leads us into forgetting the suffering of our fellow man."

Once again, you ask me to weep for the boy who kills his parents, and then feels sad because he is an orphan.

"When we forget this, we can then justify the killing of others."

Perhaps you did not notice, but I have not justified or wished for the killing of anyone at all. In fact, the exact opposite. I have wished for the immediate safe return to their homes and families , Zach and his colleagues. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of their victims have no families or homes to return to, and will not see safety for a long time to come.

"this is my suffering."

I would invite you to Iraq to live for one week as an average Iraqi lives now before you speak again of your suffering.

Hurria said...

"I noticed a few different times you mentioned that you have blood on your hands.
You don't.

What a pile of patent nonsense that is. Everyone who participates in any way in this vile, bloody enterprise has blood on his hands, whether he has personally killed anyone or not. And for those who have directly participated in killing, all Neptune's great ocean will never wash the blood from their hands. They will live with it forever, as they should. May the reminder of that blood they shed live with them to the end of their days as a constant, dull throb in their consciousness.

Hurria said...

There is a saying in Arabic that means he slapped me, then asked for sympathy.

Snag said...

Sorry Hurria, I believe your arguments are quite valid and do need to be expressed. But by and large you are "preaching to the choir." However, all of the stories here are part of a bigger cycle. It's a cycle that has been going on for thousands of years. My argument is not primarily of the rightness or wrongness of this conflict (undeniably wrong in my eyes) but of mankind's continual failure to end this cycle of violence.
I've been trying to interject some of the wisdom of the Buddha as I understand it from some recent reading.

I did not want this war.
I did not want the exploitative policies of the U.S. that led to this war.
I do not want to see Iraqis, or any other people for that matter, suffer anymore because they happen to live on top of oil.
I do not want you to suffer anymore.
I do understand that you are not interested in platitudes right now. Your suffering is now, it's immediate.
But the fact remains, young people continue to be exploited through their naivete and inexperience for the power of their elders.
Greater powers exploit lessor powers.
How do we end this cycle?
So we have two debates in the U.S.:
One is with those that believe the war is right (unfortunately there are still those that are unconvinced of the wrongness, but their numbers are diminshing); the Second is how do we fundamentally change ourselves to stop this cycle, as we are all humans of this world and all suffer if anyone suffers.
My words have meant to address the latter. Most who have posted here agree that the war was wrong and we need to get out.

I agree with Beth "we can reconcile-by allowing ourselves to see and feel each other's pain."

With that, I'm still interested in discussing this further with you. Feel free to post on my blog anytime. But also, I am interested in the thoughts and perceptions of Zach. We also need his voice as long as there are American soldiers in your land. His voice tells us those that believe that war is Disneyland need to rethink their perceptions.

Anonymous said...

"Be not afraid" - Jesus

Anonymous said...

Tell no one.

Jesus said...

Tell no one.

Anonymous said...

Tell no one.

Fox Mulder said...

Trust No One!

Dana Scully said...

Don't touch me there!