Followers

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.

38 comments:

Snag said...

This is the unfortunate decision that soldiers have to make when confronted with so many moral dilemmas. It's easy for folks to say "Walk away", but they fail to see the real burden put on those wrapped up in this. From home, we have the luxury of armchair quarter-backing.
Both Hurria and Zach are there, now in a very real struggle for life and death. Let's not unduly add to their burden of these higher moral decisions. They have moment to moment moral decisions to make. It is we who should be looking at what we can do to help both of them go to their families safely and end this nonsense.

Snag said...

I'd like to clairify my last statements with a hypothetical...
If, as a soldier, it is effective to resist/disobey orders, would it not then be reasonable for any one of us to enlist and then disobey orders?
Even though we protest this war, have we done anything equivalent?
Have we done anything to protest U.S. involvement in Iraq that would cause us to lose years with our family or our life?
Just as I have problems with ranting wingnuts who are willing to send others to do their "patriotism", I have problems with the idea that we ask soldiers to do what we haven't done in protest.
"Don't shoot the messenger."
"But for the grace of God, there go I."

Anonymous said...

What really bothers me from all of this is that this country has not seemed to learn the lesson from Vietnam. We're repeating the same damn mistake...
As far as CO, that's a decision only Zach can make. I know the guys who have went to Canada have not secured refugee status yet. That may change when we go to conscription, hopefully.
-roamer in mich

Anonymous said...

I am glad to know you wouldn't walk away. I think mass desertions would only get more people killed.

I am also glad to know you wouldn't give up on seeing your family again.

Not sure how much my opinion interests you.

The voters failed. Keep safe, some of us are trying to make it possible for everyone to come home now.

Alice Marshall

Anonymous said...

I am glad to know you wouldn't walk away. I think mass desertions would only get more people killed.

I am also glad to know you wouldn't give up on seeing your family again.

Not sure how much my opinion interests you.

The voters failed. Keep safe, some of us are trying to make it possible for everyone to come home now.

Alice Marshall

Anonymous said...

Stay strong Zack.
I thank God for heros like you!
Much Love and Prayers!

Hurria said...

"Both Hurria and Zach are there, now in a very real struggle for life and death."

There is simply no comparison. Zach has traveled half way around the world for the sole purpose of forcing his way violently into someone else's home. He has come well equipped to kill, maim, and destroy, and for all his expression of anguish, he admits he does so without hesitation. Once again, I am reminded of the boy who murders his parents then demands sympathy because he is an orphan.

"Let's not unduly add to their burden of these higher moral decisions."

I have no "higher moral decisions" to make, and Zach has made his.

I wish with all my heart to see Zach and all his fellows safe at home with their families as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Who named you hurria anyway? Maybe you were an orphan?? Zach will come home safe to his family, leave no doubt about that! He's never said that he agrees with the orders given, but I'd rather have a soldier that defends his signature to the end over one who would rather be signing a passport to Canada! By hurry-er! Canada's waiting for you!

Mom said...

Zach, you are doing what it takes to survive. I appreciate it. I am sure you children will accept you home with all the love and devotion you deserve.


( I am not Zach's Mom but I am a Mom of three wonderful boys. I do hope people will keep their negative unwanted useless comments to themselves. Some things are not to be said,they should be kept to yourself. Some Mom should step up to the plate and hold their child accountable for their actions.)

Anonymous said...

I support those service people who go to Canada as well as those who decide to go to Iraq. When a war is based on LIES, it becomes a personal choice as to whether or not to participate. Each service member must make the decision and I support waht ever decision they make.
- roamer in mich

Anonymous said...

The Only Good I........ Is A Dead I........

http://malakandsky.blogspot.com/

zach and his colleagues are all a bunch of chumps

Anonymous said...

"coalition" of the CHUMPS.

does that DU taste real good?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050619/ap_on_re_as/japan_nagasaki_a_bomb

Anonymous said...

''I understand how dangerous it is there,'' he said. ''I understand we've got kids in harm's way, and I worry about their families. And obviously, anytime there's a death, I grieve.'' Gorge Butch. like father, like son.

http://dailywarnews.blogspot.com/

ask the VA about their full service healthcare plan when your cough starts. ask a viet nam vet about VA support for agent orange sickness.

duh, fulfill your contract wif honor

Anonymous said...

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/05/06/con05209.html

ush lied, and Americans died. And continue to die. But politically - at least so far - it has worked out well for Bush.

It was a lie of political expediency, with the war resolution carefully timed just before the 2002 elections to help the Republicans take back the Senate.

It was echoed and amplified and repeated over and over again to help him and other Republicans get elected in 2004.

It wasn't a war for oil - cheap oil was just a useful secondary benefit.

It wasn't a war against terrorism - that was just a convenient excuse.

It wasn't a war to enrich Bush's and Cheney's cronies - those were just pleasant by-products.

It wasn't a war to show Poppy Bush that Junior was more of a man than him - that was just a personal bonus for Dubya

It was, pure and simple, well planned years in advance, a war to solidify Bush and the Republican Party's political capital.

It was a war for political power. That had to be first. Everything else - oil, profits, ongoing PATRIOT Act powers, easy manipulation of the media - all could only come if political power was seized and held through at least two decisive election cycles.

The Bush administration lied us into an invasion to get and keep political power. It's that simple.

Alan said...

It's easy for rabid people on both sides to criticize, from the comfort of their homes.

If you feel strong enough about the war, take action - Pro-war; enlist. Against; bug your congressman.

Zach has been brave enough to give us his perspective on what he is going through. A very unique and courageous act.

Making an ass of yourself by jeering from a distance, only hurts your cause in the eyes of those who respect this man.

Zach, I have been reading for a while. I hope you come home to your wife and kids soon. Stay out of danger.

THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Zach's decision is for him alone to make and bear the consequences. But "only following orders" was no defence at Nuremburg, and soldiers have a right to refuse to obey illegal orders. In Israel there is a growing movement of soldiers who accept their duty to defend their country but refuse to join in the illegal and devastating occupation of Palestine, which their organisation Yesh Gvul describes as "a curse on both peoples", pointing out that "occupation is violence and it breeds terrorism". Here is their take on being a refusenik:

"Refuseniks do not duck the consequences of their challenge to legal authority: defiance of the military hierarchy is overt and direct, accepting the painful personal consequences. This willingness to pay the price imbues the refuseniks’ protest with a moral and political effect out of all proportion to their number." (see http://www.yeshgvul.org for more information on Yesh Gvul)

US and British soldiers have to decide for themselves whether they are able to demonstrate this kind of courage, facing the hostility of their own side instead of the bombs and bullets of their enemies, in order to end the occupation of Iraq. Wishing all of you a safe home-coming.

hol said...

I posted something similar but I don't recall where, so I guess I'll just say it again:

In my opinion most people who join the armed forces do so knowing that one day they might have to defend THEIR COUNTRY. I don't believe that this is a war that can be justified as "defending our country" but as many others have stated already, Bush brainwashed the majority of people into believing that we had to invade to protect our country (still can't believe that so many people believed and still do believe this), but anyway. . . I can understand Hurria's frustration, but it's not logical to expect them to just pack up and quit. Now, if before they joined the army they had been aware that they'd be in this particular situation and they still joined, then sure, it would make more sense to be disappointed or angry with the soliders...but that's not what happened.

A soldier just can't quit - those who don't agree with what's going on have been screwed by the military. There are serious repercussions for just saying "No". For example, if the army won't even honor the contracts they made with their soldiers and keep them in PAST their contract dates, what makes you all think that it would be so easy to just protest the war? They are like property to the Army. Sure, there are extremes - go AWOL etc. But as Zach has stated, that comes with some serious consequences. If it's possible for a solider to do that and it works out for him or her, then I commend them for escaping the lies.

Also, I agree with some of the other comments - those of you who are so quick to criticize, it's so easy to SAY that one should do this, or one should do that - but I doubt any of you would have the balls (or ovaries) to actually do what you suggest that Zach should be doing. And, why aren't you risking your own futures, job security, etc. on the homefront?

So, it's just not as easy as it seems. We all have to take into account our loved ones, our families, and what effect our actions will have on them and our futures.

Everyone can have their own opinion of things, but unless you've been in this situation and have done what some of you suggest, then I don't think that anyone has the right to criticize or be nasty about the decsions that Zach makes.

I am really surprised and baffled by some of the comments I have been reading on his blog.

Zach, I was happy to see this last post from you. Hope that all is well with you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Possible good news-

U.S. Will Probably Begin Drawdown of Force in Iraq Next Year

Alice Marshall

Snag said...

I was suprised when talking to people 5 or 10 years my junior really had no idea of the history of Vietnam. I'm not old by any stretch of the word. I was very young at the waning days of that conflict, but I knew the history and I knew the fallout nonetheless. Many family members had served. My mother made sure I was aware of its impact. I still ended up enlisting, because I thought we couldn't be so stupid or lazy to let Vietnam happen again.
But we failed to remember and learn. We allowed arrogance and self-absorbtion to blind us to the possiblity that it could happen again.
Remember in the past when you tossed some nickles and dimes at that homeless guy on the corner? There was a 1 in 3 chance he was a Vietnam Vet. We were more concerned with getting on and getting involved in our little lives of consumption and idol worship than we were caring for our fellow Americans and fellow members of the human race. We failed to remember the history, and we failed to teach our children.

"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children." - Mohandas Gandhi

Lesson #1 - Patriotism is not Nationalism. The government works for us. Hold them accountable.
Our little acceptances...our little indulgences...like owning an SUV as an example...adds to the culture of selfishness. "You deserve a break today. Oh, really? Why? Because I'm friggin' Mother Theresa?" The minutes of our lives lost seeing what Michael Jackson is up to. We were so busy "Loving Raymond", that we missed the early hints of a government that was lying to us about what it was doing. Maybe if we demanded responsible journalism, and not just corporate filtered scandal, we could have seen the pattern of mismanagement by this administration much earlier. It doesn't take a military strategist to see that the armchair generals and Chicken Hawks in the Whitehouse had a different agenda. I say since these politicos work for us, and enlistment is down, we put them in unarmored HMMV's, give them M16-A1's, and have them help fill the ranks. My vote is to have Rumsfeld train as an Arabic linguist to replace Zach, so he can get home to his wife and kids.
Even if we pull out tomorrow, if we fail to listen, learn, and remember history from the voices of people like Zach, we may be doomed to repeat the tragedy.
Stay informed, get a broad range of input (not just media that agrees with your currently held beliefs - I recomend foreign news sources (e.g. BBC or CBC), as they don't nescessarily always have a vested interest in manipulating U.S. opinion) and do not let ignorance go unanswered.

Ok...enough of my big mouth for the day.
God speed, Zach.

Anonymous said...

Snag,
You are so "dead on" right. You say the things I think. Don't shut your mouth for the day, keep on talking! People need to hear it.
-roamer in mich

Umhakima said...

I remember taking US history in HS. big joke if you asked me. we barely got to WWI, let alone Vietnam. Only reason I know about WWII is that 2 uncles were in the navy. one was at Pearl Harbor. people my age and younger have no clue about Vietnam. wonder what my kids will learn in school about this war. will probably have to hear it from hubby and myself.

Anonymous said...

Zach,

First off, I believe that your posts and thoughts already make a difference for the better in this world.

You say that "to quit, to walk way is to not see my family." How is that so? (even assuming the admittedly heavy outcome of jail time or seeking refuge with your family in another country).

Does it make sense to remain in Iraq and risk killing or wounding Iraqis and continue to put yourself in danger given the current situation was provoked by an illegal invasion based upon lies and deceit? I think you do have a choice here, albeit a very difficult one given where you are physically, spiritually, and in terms of the power hierarchy.

Perhaps one step would be to gather additional information, speak to veterans who have faced similar dilemmas.

These sites could be places to start
http://www.calltoconscience.net/ (see CO resources link)
http://www.girights.org/
("For Active Duty & Reservists:
If you have questions or doubts about your role in the military (for any reason) or in this war, help is available. Contact the organization listed below. They can discuss your situation and concerns, give you information on your legal rights, and help you sort out your possible choices.")

I hope you can find a way to come home safe.

From this end, I think the public consciousness is shifting. Perhaps we'll one day have impeachment hearings in which the lies of BushCo will be fully exposed and they will be held accountable for their crimes:
-lying to Congress
-lying about ordering combat operations - by Oct. 2002, the Bush claimed that no decision for war had been taken, yet he had already ordered months of heavy duty (and illegal) bombing raids on Iraq
- lies before the U.N., lies about WMD
- lies about being forced into war when, in fact, Hussein had allowed the U.N. access; of course U.N. inspectors were withdrawn because of the imminent threat of the U.S. and British invasion. i.e., the U.N. withdrew the inspectors so they wouldn't be killed by American bombs.
- torture in Abu-Graib
-napalm-like weapons used
- tens and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed
- more than 1700 american soldiers killed (plus the hundreds of contractors, brits, and others)

The U.S. government has created a web of lies and deceit. I think that changes matters greatly in terms of the decisions you are entitled to make.

Sincerely,
Stephan Cohen

Anonymous said...

you rock zach..come home safe

gizzard said...

Are we winning yet?: Someone is lying. You decide who.

Option A: Military officials who are on the ground in Iraq.


Option B: Scott McClellan, Bush and Cheney.

VICE said...

Everyone who keeps saying that the war is based on lies should talk to someone who's family member was in the World Trade Center, and didn't come home for dinner.

Terrorists will hide in Any country that will let them. And some that don't know or won't bother to check & see if they are hiding there. that is why we will have to go and get them, before they do it again.

If you think that I'm wrong here, next time there is a criminal running from the police, just let him in your house to hide and see if the police don't just come in and get him, warrant or not.

And don't think for one moment that Iraq under the saddam regime, would have been sympathetic to our cause. Remember "The Enemy of My Enemy" concept applies here.

And there is no great love lost for us among many, if not all of these Arab nations. Only when they realize we will not just lay there and take it, will they give up their "Holy War" against us.

As for the soldiers on the front, keep your mind right, do what you gotta do, and come home intact if you can. You'll have the rest of your life to reflect on what you had to do, in hopefully, a safe and free country.

God Bless.

Snag said...

Vice,
I tried writing an analogy a couple of times to show you the flawed logic in you argument based on distorted facts. I'm not sure how you can defend your position when two Army Intelligence soldiers (myself and Zack) are telling you this is screwed up?!?! But I just couldn't go into it all because I realised all the evidence is out there and you have to deliberately ignore it to dismiss it. So I can only conclude that you are so stuck on defending this stinking, sinking ship called "Bush's Iraq Policy" that no amount of facts will persuade you otherwise. All I can say is "Enlist!"
I've done my time in the service (11 years and 3 conflicts with the Army), Zack's done more than his share. Put down your video games and put your money where your mouth is...join up.

Anonymous said...

@Vice:

Please re-read your own comment and then take a moment to contemplate how stupid it is.

None of the 9/11 hi-jackers were Iraqi. 17 of the 19 were Saudis. OBL is a Saudi.

Do you want to destroy every country in the world, on the off chance there might be 'terrorists' there?

The invasion *was* (and still is) based on lies. The fact that you cite 9/11 as justification proves the Bushists have been successful in duping you into thinking there is a connection....

...when what really happened is your esteemed leader cynically distorted the facts behind the death of ~3000 Americans in order to kill another ~2000 Americans.

And people like you shout "Support The Troops," oblivious to the fact that your idiocy is only helping to kill them.

Please try to wake up. The ignorance of people like you is one of the reasons we are in this mess.

Robert.

Hurria said...

"errorists will hide in Any country that will let them. And some that don't know or won't bother to check & see if they are hiding there. that is why we will have to go and get them, before they do it again."

Brilliant! By that logic you had better attack, invade, occupy, and flatteb every country on earth to make sure no terrorists are hiding there, with or without the knowledge of the government.

Maybe you ought to start with the USA, since we know the September 11 hijackers spend quite a bit of time there and that they conducted their operations that day from the USA.

Anonymous said...

Yes Vice,
Put up or shut up. If you support Bunnypants and his Vietraq war, you need to enlist now. Back up your ranting with action. The Operation Yellow Elephant folks will help you get enlistment info, etc. Just Google them.
-roamer in mich

HM2 Viking said...

I am with you SGT.
HM2 Westre

Anonymous said...

lol Vice, you really got hammered here. If there's one thing this small community can agree on its to point out the absolutely obvious idiots.

Remember, Vice, that there are AMERICAN CITIZENS who are terrorists. Remember Timothy McVeigh? He was his whole life an American citizen, in the US, and he is most definately a terrorist. How about the two guys at Columbine? They, also, are terrorists. Since you don't seem to know, let me give you the definition of a terrorism:

"The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

Hmmm, doesn't THAT sound familiar! If we really want to have a war on terrorism, the very first place we should go, to get the absolute most powerful terrorist in the world hands-down, is the White House.

I'm also getting a little tired of all of this talk saying that one should be involved first-hand in this war in order to have a valid opinion. That is just plain ignorant. That's like saying one should be a politician before being allowed to vote.

ScottyB.

Snag said...

I believe everyone has a right to an opinion and the right to express that opinion. However, I find it morally reprehensible and cowardly to support an idea, such as fighting a war, and yet not be willing to do it oneself.
The moral high ground that those that oppose the Bush policy have is that they are fighting for peace which does not force anyone to do something that others wouldn't.

VICE said...

To All Of You BUSH HATERS,

Yes thats the way I see it. You are all just Haters. You all mean to tell me that Absolutely no Good has come out of the war, thats just preposterous! The news media will NOT report any good coming out of Iraq, and everyone knows the media tells the truth all the time right? (wink). So far not one of you has had anything good to say about the war, that might inspire some soldier who is there and perhaps reading this, to carry out his orders, fulfill his duty and come home to a people who might have some small measure of appreciation for his efforts. Way to go people, support only YOUR troops and forget about everyone else's sons & daughters.

ROBERT, I never said the 9/11 hi-jackers were Iraqi, You should re-read my comment before you try to bash me.

ALSO... To SNAG (Army Intelligence, what an oxymoron! you should have read further before bashing me, you would have known I was a Soldier, that plays video games.), ROAMER, And those who say I should put up or shut up... I've been putting up for 17 years in the Army National Guard, about two years before desert storm. I put my time in when my straw was drawn for homeland security. I was ready and willing and FULLY EXPECTED to go to Iraq, but was ordered to defend American assets here at home instead, so our soldiers would have something to come home to.

I have three friends and fellow soldiers over there Right now, and a fourth on the way. But I'm not going to hate and continually be negative. I won't tell them their wasting their time.

I'll leave that all up to you, to complain and whine. Such a great lesson to teach your children.

And if you all want to "Hammer" me again as Scotty.B suggests, just for being a little optimistic, then go right ahead. But I don't think I'm the idiot here.

VICE=Reality

Snag said...

Vice,
The MI joke was funny and quite original. I've never heard that before. Maybe our intel product would be better if it wasn't massaged to fit the fantasies of the administration. I would recommend taking a moment and read Sun Tzu's - The Art of War.
I served to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. I serve the Constitution and the will of the people, not a king.
When the real enemy is still out there and we are beating the reeds, it shows a gross misunderstanding and/or incompetence on the part of the Commander and Chief (Caligual ordered the legions to beet the reeds rather than traveling across the English channel to actually engage the enemy). Maybe if more of the senior pentagon military had the conjones to tell it like it is and say that we've been fighting the wrong war, maybe we could actually get back to the business of engaging the real enemy.
Remember, we are citizen soldiers. We have an obligation to follow orders, but we also have an obligation to think. If we didn't question our leadership, we would not be holding in the tradition of the American military. We've always been misfits and this is exactly what has made our forces so successful in the past. When our leadership fails us (Vietnam) we can only hope to hold a static position. Leave the mindless grunt mentality to the former Soviet Army, the Wheremacht, etc. We can win easily against any enemy if we keep our crativity and...this is the key... moral justification. Moral Justification doesn't equal being pissed off, so we make everyone suffer. The Air-Land 2000 doctrine calls for a dynamic, indipendent troop, not a bullet catcher.
If you have 17 years in, then you should know we are not the heavy manuever unit kind of military anymore. Ok, fine, maybe there were legitimate targets within the borders of Iraq. From a strategic view...Terrorism is a global threat...in Iraq, why did we dismantle the whole damn thing? Why did we pick targets that would have so many civilian casualties? You should know we have the capability to surgically take out enough of any component to eliminate their fighting strength. Now instead of having a few hundred operatives in areas in compounds in areas outside of Hussein's control, we have thousands scattered about the country, utilizing equipment of the former Iraqi Army in unconventional ways. We are pissing off the locals and creating a new threat...an insurgency.

From one of our greatest Presidents and Soldier:
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." - Teddy Roosevelt, 1918

Kate said...

Preach it, brother Snag! Dang you're good.

Snag said...

BTW Vice...
I learned "never get into a foxhole with anyone braver than you."
I bet your friends will come back singing a different tune... I did.
Good luck, man. May you never have to see it.

VICE said...

SNAG,

If thats as close as you will come to something positive about Iraq, then I guess it will have to do. It is obvious that not everyone will agree on every issue with the president, I sure don't. I guess what I'm trying to relate is that we are there. Yes it's horrible, but war is hell. We can't just leave, because they WILL attack us here again. So we should try and make the best out of a bad situation.

For example, General Patton; a great general. Always saw the bright side of things. When the Germans moved tankers in to fight them on one battlfield, most of the command officers would complain of how hard it would be now to fight them. But Patton knew the Germans would be vulnerable in their previously held positions, and ordered them to be attacked, sometimes against the wishes of the command officers. His tactics proved to be sound enough to help win the war.

I'm not saying we need more pattons today, that would be writing history all over again. But we could, if only occasionally, try to think of something positive to say here. Because our troops do read these kinds of forums.

As far as questioning orders, I have been called a "Barracks Lawyer" on more than 5 occassions, by four different squad leaders in my 17 years. So I have been "known for" questioning orders, at least thats what it said on my last NCOER. There would have been no Abhu-Graihb on my watch.

So, I agree with you that we should question questionable orders. As patton said "Fight Bad Orders". But there does come a time when we have to roll up our sleeves and "Get'er Done".

Thank you for hearing me out.

VICE said...

BTW SNAG,

Great choice of movies. Falling Down, & Oh Brother Where Art thou, were two of my favorites. More Falling Down though, cause he just wanted to see his daughter on her B-Day.