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.


K @ T said...

This msg has not really anything to do with this particular post..

But i wish the whole world could read the messages between you and your wife and that everyone would stand still with what is going on in the world and why this is actually happening? I wish that everyone would be seperated from their loved ones for a month so they could realize what all you guys/girls in Iraq and your family goes trough...If my guy would be there i'd die from missing him and i'd worry myself sick...so i can only immagine how hard it must be to leave your wife and kid behind and what your wife goes trough...

I know its so cheesy but why can't we all get along? Why do we to go trough all this shit?

I hope you and your family can be reunited anytime soon.

And now i'm going to sound like a hopeless pope, but i wish that one day we could all live in peace.

Good luck for you and all your buddies over there.




Snag said...

The young bravado
Boys hiding their fear of death
Real death changes hearts

Rose said...

Hi, Sgt. Zach. Glad to hear from you (and to know that you have not come in harm's way).

I remember visiting the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima some years back and seeing some young Marines from the nearby MAS Iwakuni. It made me sad to see what I interpreted as a, "Yeah, we kicked Jap ass!" look on their faces as they walked around the park.

It's easy for me to sit here and say that war is not pleasant and that there must be some other way to resolve our conflicts.

I cannot begin to imagine the horrors you and your platoon have encountered.

I just hope that they day that you can go home for good to Tara and the kids comes very, very soon.

Bless you!

Kristen said...

There is only so much you can miss someone before you just go numb. Its not that I don't miss my husband anymore, but I couldn't possibly miss him anymore than I do right now. With that ever constant state of emptiness, you lose the pangs of hollowness. Like if you haven't eaten in days. You know you're hungry but the pain isn't as stinging as it was 2 days earlier. This is the easiest part. Once it gets close to his redeployment and the anxiousness kicks in, I'll realize just how much I do miss him. But just as it is their duty as a soldier to do what they are told, so is it our duty as their spouse to wait patiently for their return.

Anonymous said...

Zack, your blog is featured in Time magazine this week. very nice read, keep it up & stay safe!

Chris said...

wow, you're right. Here's the link

Audrey said...

Very well put!! That is exactly how I would describe my emotions when my fiance was deployed.

Thanks for writing. Stay safe.

Hurria said...

"I cannot begin to imagine the horrors you and your platoon have encountered."

Compared to the horrors encountered by Iraqis every day at the hands of and as a result of the presence and actions of Zach and his colleagues, anything Zach and his platoon have encountered looks like a picnic. At the very least, Zach and his colleagues know that there will come a time when they will leave this hell on earth they helped to create. Iraqis, on the other hand, are stuck with it for life unless they want - and can afford - to live in perpetual exile from their homeland.

(Okay, Kristin, it is your turn now to tell me that I should stop ruining Zach's blog with comments like this one. :o} )

JaBLes D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm going on the march Sept 24th

War stinks ....

you guys and gals should be home with your families.

Zach you are a prince among men to tell us how it is !

Rose said...


I don't know how carefully you read Zach's blog, but it is obvious to me that he DOES NOT support the Bush administration's policies in Iraq. He just happened to be a soldier studying Arabic. However, as a soldier, he has no recourse but to follow the orders of his superiors, whether he personally wishes to or not. Please do not blame or attack Zach for things that are beyond his control, especially not on his blog! The men and women of the armed forces deserve our full support, even if we are upset about our government's horrible "reasons" for starting this war.

Hurria said...


1. I know very well that Zach does not support the Bush administration's policies in Iraq. So what? If anything that makes it worse that he willingly acts as an instrument of policies that he knows are dead wrong.

2. No soldier "just happens" to study Arabic. (And by the way, I hope his instructors, especially the Iraqi one, are now very, very proud of their contribution to the ongoing misery, death, and destruction their students are part of.)

3. No one's actions are beyond their control, and that includes Zach's. He and his colleagues are human beings (at least I am sure many of them are, though many others bear very little resemblance to any humans I know of), and as such are volitional creatures possessed of free will, not robots being operated by remote control. I will not blame Zach for the policies of his government, but I most certainly will hold him and his colleagues responsible for their actions, including their participation in their government's criminal exercise.

4. If you can make
"support the troops no matter what they are doing or how wrong it is" fit any kind of reasonably logical construct, then more power to you. I cannot. I do not wish any harm to come to Zach or anyone else, but I, for one, will never give my support to anyone who takes part in this criminal war, except to wish them an immediate and safe exit en masse from Iraq.

No one wishes more than I do to see Zach and every last one of his colleagues back home alive, safe, and in one piece.

Mihael said...


I want to ask you a question, and by no means I want it to be an insult.

Some of the things you say I agree with, some I dont. What I don't understand is how you continuously blame Zach for not making certain decisions, and yet somehow, you are not (as far as I can read from here, I don't know you and I don't know what you do.)doing anything to get them out of your country, while others from your side are bleeding. Shouldn't you be, since you are vocal about making active decisions even though they are tough, sometimes almost impossible, on the frontlines with your countrymen, trying to kick them out instead of posting here? Even though that could harm you, or your familly and friends? Shouldn't you be the one that is pointing the gun at them? Do you blame Zach for his stoic way of dealing with his troubles, while being stoic yourself?



STaylor said...

Goodness me, why in the name of Everything That Is Good And Kind do you blame Zach for anything?

He's a soldier, and unless he fancies doing away with the job, he has to go where he's commanded to go.

I think there's a problem with a culture that doesn't understand the concept of responsibility.

I don't agree with or like the war in Iraq, but I do understand that some people have a job to do, and that, due to the decisions of their leaders, that job involves the war in Iraq.

So unless you have a great solution, like mass mutiny, I suggest you lay off.

By the way, an Arabic Translator is a very necessary weapon in the war on terror. The Economist was recently commenting on how, since September 11, Western security agencies had failed to accumulate solid local knowledge and language skills to enable them properly wage the War on Terror, much unlike the vast amount of knowledge and Russian-speaking operatives accumulated after Sputnik and indeed, during the course of the Cold War.

'Nuff Said

Kristen said...

Been weeks since we've seen hide or hair of you Hurria. Where've ya been? Now for business.
Hurria said...
2. No soldier "just happens" to study Arabic. (And by the way, I hope his instructors, especially the Iraqi one, are now very, very proud of their contribution to the ongoing misery, death, and destruction their students are part of.)

Whoa now, lets not go spreading lies. I joined to study Chinese, but hey, Sepetember 11 happened when I was in basic training so Chinese was out of the question. For the record, unless you have it in your initial contract which language you are signing up to learn(which 90% of us were unaware that we could do) you are stuck with whatever language they give you. So it does just happen.
And for the record, when I was in that Arabic class with 2 Iraqi teachers, they were both cheering about the ousting of Saddam. One had nothing but negative things to say about his homeland ever since Saddam's rule. Since I graduated later in 2003, I have not had a chance to get their opinion of the war, but they were adamently supporting it in the beginning. And since they are employed by the government(though most didn't vote for Bush) and they take part in the day to day activities of soldiers in training, they have a far better understanding of the humanity in us all. They know first hand that we aren't robots or monsters bent on destroying other nations or the people that inhabit them( well, most of us aren't), but they also are very well aware of the fact that we signed our lives away in a binding contract to the government to do its bidding, no matter how much we disagree. Until you are in that position, I find it hard for you to fully understand what it means. Its so easy for one to say "Just say no", like we're being offered illegal drugs and that we can just walk away from it all. I have a friend, who Zach and a few other bloggers know, who tried that by saying he was a conscientious objector during the initial invasion. He was sent to another base in Guantanamo. His paperwork was never fully processed and he is currently back in Iraq, unpromotable because of the packet that has been pending for years, and still fighting the war he so opposed with the unit I used to be assigned to. These days if you put in that packet, as one soldier at my base did, if deemed fraudulent, you could be dishonorably discharged which leaves a huge black mark on your record, and could possibly serve jail time. He is. To everyone out there who feels it is just that simple, what are you doing to get our troops out? Are you succumbing to the ever rising gas prices or are you walking to work? Are you heating your home with oil, or are you using firewood? What comforts are you willing to give up to pressure the government out of Iraq? Or is it totally on our troops to throw down their weapons, go to jail for a certain number of years, and risk losing their lives or families while you sit back in the comfort of your own homes because they signed a contract long before this war ever came about?

Hurria said...

" Been weeks since we've seen hide or hair of you Hurria. Where've ya been?"

Just as you once grossly overestimated how much I "dominated" the comment section here, now you have overestimated the length of my absence (assuming that is what the hide and hair comment refers to). For your information, though, I do have a life outside of this blog. I even have a life outside the internet, as difficult as that might be to believe.

"Hurria said...
2. No soldier "just happens" to study Arabic.

Kristen: "Whoa now, lets not go spreading lies."

Try not to throw about the nasty accusation of liar so easily.

"I joined to study Chinese, but hey, Sepetember 11 happened when I was in basic training so Chinese was out of the question.<"

In other words, you did not "just happen" to study Arabic, did you? Now, do you still want to call me a liar?

"For the record, unless you have it in your initial contract which language you are signing up to learn(which 90% of us were unaware that we could do) you are stuck with whatever language they give you."

So, unless a person puts a specific language in their initial contract they are stick you with whatever language they want you to learn (and I am so sorry on so many levels that you "got stuck" with Arabic). In other words, no one "just happens" to study Arabic. Still want to call me a liar>

"So it does just happen."

No, it does not "just happen" - not even remotely, unless you would have me believe they had you all picking languages out of a hat.

I will address the rest of your remarks another time, as believe it or not I have a life outside of this blog.

Snag said...

Maybe liar is not the right word here, but you fail to make your argument.
You nit picked Kristen's argument and took phrases out of context to insure there was an argument you could become belligerent to. It's the "Straw Man" logic fallicy.
Yes, one may enlist to be a linguist, but the specific language may not be a choice for the individual soldier. Thus in english parlance, one may be "stuck" with a particular language, whether it be Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, etcetera. I don't believe you fully understand that Americans, when they enlist, are no longer nescessarily covered by the U.S. Constitution. Once in, they become subject to the Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which in essence deems a soldier government property.

Mihael said...


Have you accidentaly missed my question/observation, or you chose not to comment it on purpose?

Kristen said...

Hurria, IF you want to nit pick everything, the last time you actually posted was the 4th of September, making it indeed weeks since we've seen you. I was just tryin to be friendly. Again, all efforts to communicate on a personal level have been smashed. Why do I even bother trying?
Since Snag pretty much said all I wanted to say, I won't waste space repeating it. The only thing I will say is that I suggest you not throw around your opinion of how the Army, or any other US military branch, works and try to pass it off as a fact. Especially when you are in the midst of at least 5 active or retired military personnel. That way we avoid the argument above. And I'll kindly ask that you not twist this around to make it seem like I'm telling you what you should or shouldn't post. I'm just trying to POLITELY SUGGEST that if you don't want to be called a liar, you should get your facts straight before you throw them out as truths.

Hurria said...

No soldier "just happens" to study Arabic unless, as I said, they have you choose in some random process which language you will study. I am betting they do not have you pick a language out of a hat, but assign it to you for a specific reason. A soldier studies Arabic either because s/he chooses to study that language, or because the military decides that is the language s/he will study. Either way there is no chance involved in that, and therefore the soldier does not "just happen" to be studying Arabic. To call me a liar for making that obviously factual observation makes no sense at all.

I merely attempted to correct a misstatement of reality by Rose. It was you who turned it into a major argument. So, if anyone has created a straw man, it was certainly not me.

Kristen said...

Well then by your logic, nothing ever "just happens". Language slots are filled according to need. Zach was already assigned to Arabic before there was a great necessity so it isn't like it is these days where 90% of the people who qualify for Cat 4 languages will be assigned Arabic. You make it sound as if Zach actually chose to learn Arabic or that the military purposefully chose him when that simply isn't the case. If any one is drawing names out of a hat, its the government when it comes to assigning languages. They don't hand select the people and assign them to that particular language. It all goes according to a system designed to fill empty slots. So the fact that Zach's name "just happened" to be the one that was put into that particular slot as opposed to Chinese or Korean was random in itself.
You can put sugar in vinegar and call it honey, but its still vinegar, it just sounds better. To just say that you were mistaken would be sugar coating it and I'm on a diet. The fact remains that you have yet to admit that you don't know more about the language selection process than I do and therefore had no right to make a comment like that. Its like me trying to tell you about Iraq when I've never been. Hopefully this will have educated you a bit. The only "misstatement of reality" I see here is when you talk of noone wanting to see Zach and his colleagues home immediately and safely more than you.

Hurria said...

Kristen, you and snag are giving this far, far, far more significance to this thing than it is worth, and you in particular seem determined to beat it to death. I made a simple, matter-of-fact correction of something Rose said, and you seem to feel a need to turn it into the issue of the week. Why?

"Well then by your logic, nothing ever "just happens"."

That's nonsense. Of course some things "just happen". However, language assignments in the military do not "just happen" unless they have you pick your assingment randomly out of a hat, which I doubt very much.

"Language slots are filled according to need."

Exactly my point. A soldier either studies a language because that is her/his choice, or because s/he is assigned that language based on a need or perceived need. Neither way is it by random chance, and therefore it does not "just happen". That is my point, and it is my only point.

Kristen said...

But it IS by random chance which is what I was trying to beat into your head. Joining the military isn't random, joining for a language suited MOS isn't random. Whether or not you get the language you want IS. Whether or not you get Arabic or Chinese or Korean, etc is completely random based on slots available and need. Whether he was put into Chinese or Arabic was random. Had he been a Chinese linguist this wouldn't even be an issue. But it just so happens that he was randomly selected for the Arabic slot. If you DO indeed believe things do "just happen" give me an example so I know what to categorize as a random act and one we can sit here and debate whether or not it "just happens", in the world according to Hurria. If you can beat the dead horse of "Soldiers are war criminals" then I can beat this one. Either way a dead horse is getting beaten, I "just happen" to be beating this one today.

Anonymous said...

keep on going with your blog Zach.
Soon i will mail you again.
Respect from Holland for you and your family.

Jan Holland

mihael said...


So I can safely assume that you deliberately overlooked my post.

That also says something.



Hurria said...

Kirsten, I have failed completely to make myself clear, and this non-issue is simply not worth even the time that has gone into it until now, let alone any additional time. You can ontinue to shake it to death if you like, but I am finished with it.

Hurria said...

Mihael, you can safely assume nothing at all. I have not answered your question because I have not had a chance. I also find it quite a bizarre question, to be honest with you.

Kristen said...

Mihael, She doesn't answer because as trivial as she says my argument is, she still finds it to be more important than your comment/question, else she would have answered by now. This comment is not meant to be condescending as I feel you have valid points. Some of us have been trying to get her to answer that same question since she first started posting here, and if you read my original response to her post above, I too ask the same thing, not only of her, but of anyone who so fiercly opposes our troops overseas.

Sgt. Salazar said...

Why is everyone being so nice to this hurria person?

Andrew said...

Hey, I'm not going to get into the Bush Administration cluster fuck that seems to be going on in your comments. I just want to say thanks for being over there. I have two of my friends stationed in Iraq and one in Afghanistan and I'm proud to know them. Hang in there and come back safe.

Hurria said...

"I want to ask you a question, and by no means I want it to be an insult."

Perhaps not, but the manner in which you have addressed me subsequent to this post is rather more revelatory than your claim above.

"What I don't understand is how you continuously blame Zach for not making certain decisions..."

Please understand that my remarks are not about blame.

"and yet somehow, you are not (as far as I can read from here, I don't know you and I don't know what you do.)doing anything to get them out of your country, while others from your side are bleeding."

You are quite right. You do not know me and you do not know what I do. I do wonder, though, what you think an "ordinary" Iraqi can do to get an extremely powerful foreign invader to leave, particularly under the circumstances when just getting through each 24 hours alive and in one piece is a matter of luck, and any one of the regular daily activities from moving from here to there to putting bread on the table, to simply maintaining basic personal hygiene, flushing the toilet, or getting a drink of water is a huge challenge.

"Shouldn't you be, since you are vocal about making active decisions even though they are tough, sometimes almost impossible, on the frontlines with your countrymen, trying to kick them out instead of posting here?"

What an odd question. It sounds as if you do not consider it possible for an Iraqi to both post the odd comment on a blog and try to remove and unwanted foreign invader. I assure you that there is time in the day to do more than just post a few comments on a blog.

"Shouldn't you be the one that is pointing the gun at them?"

What a bizarre question! Well, if you think the only way I can justify coming to this blog now and then to post comments is to spend the rest of my time pointing guns at the occupying forces, perhaps I should give up my aversion to violence, obtain a kalashnikov and learn how to use it.

"Do you blame Zach for his stoic way of dealing with his troubles while being stoic yourself?"

1. I do not "blame" Zach. I find him responsible for his own decisions and actions, and I find it troubling that he so willingly takes part in something he clearly considers wrong.

2. There is simply no analogy between someone who has traveled half way across the world to be part of a brutally violent invasion and occupation force and an ordinary member of the population suffering under that occupation. That you see an analogy speaks volumes about your inability to comprehend what it is like to be at the other end of U.S. foreign policy.

I would love to see what you and others here would do in the circumstances Iraqis find themselves under. More than that, I would love for you to see what you would do.

frankinzaz said...


they are all addicted to aspartame and other fda approved foodstuffs. wunnerful world these yanks are supporting. ask the folk sin new orleans how happy they are.

you snag, and kristen and anon an d the rest, diss me if you feel so inclined.


p.s. find yourself a vegetarian meal......................


'You Can't Wash Your

Hands When They're

Covered in Blood'

By Hart Viges
The Independent UK
Go to Original
Saturday 24 September 2005

My name is Hart Viges. September 11 happened. Next day I was in the recruiting office. I thought that was the way I could make a difference in the world for the better.

So I went to infantry school and jump school and I arrived with my unit of the 82nd Airborne Division. I was deployed to Kuwait in February 2003. We drove into Iraq because Third Infantry Division was ahead of schedule, and so I didn't need to jump into Baghdad airport.

As we drove into Samawa to secure their supplies my mortar platoon dropped numerous rounds on this town. I watched Kiowa attack helicopters fire Hellfire missile after Hellfire missile. I saw a C130 Spectre gunship ... it will level a town. It had belt-fed artillery rounds pounding with these super-Gatling guns.

I don't know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds. I have my imagination to pick at for that one. But I clearly remember the call-out over the radio saying "Green light on all taxi-cabs. The enemy is using them for transportation".

One of our snipers called back on the radio saying "Excuse me but did I hear that order correctly? Green light on all taxi cabs?" "Roger that soldier. You'd better start buckling up." All of a sudden the city just blew up. Didn't matter if there was an innocent in the taxi-cab - we laid a mortar round on it, snipers opened up.

Next was Fallujah. We went in without a shot. But Charlie Company decided they were going to take over a school for the area of operations. Protesters would come saying "Please get out of our school. Our children need this school. We need education".

They turned them down. They came back, about 40 to 50 people. Some have the bright idea of shooting AK-47s up in the air. Well a couple of rounds fell into the school ... They laid waste to that group of people.

Then we went to Baghdad. And I had days that I don't want to remember. I try to forget. Days where we'd take contractors out to a water treatment plant outside of Baghdad.

We'd catched word that this is a kind of a scary place but when I arrive there's grass and palm trees, a river. It's the first beautiful place that seemed untouched by the war in Iraq. As we leave, RPGs come flying at us. Two men with RPGs ran up in front of us from across the road.

"Drop your weapons". "Irmie salahak." They're grabbing on to women and kids so [we] don't fire. I can't take any more and swing my [gun] over. My sight's on his chest, my finger's on the trigger. And I'm trained to kill but this is no bogey man, this is no enemy. This is a human being. With the same fears and doubts and worries. The same messed-up situation.

I don't pull the trigger this time ... it throws me off. It's like they didn't tell me about this emotional attachment to killing. They tried to numb me, they tried to strip my humanity. They tried to tell me that's not a human being - that's a soft target.

So now, my imagination is running ... What if he pulled his trigger? How many American soldiers or Iraqi police, how many families destroyed because I didn't pull my trigger. After we leave this little village we get attack helicopters, Apaches, two Bradley fighting vehicles, and we go back. And we start asking questions. Where are they? Eventually they lead us to this hut where this family is living, and myself and [another soldier] started searching for AK-47s, for explosives, for RPGs, you know ... evidence. And all I can find is a tiny little pistol, probably to scare off thieves

Well because of that pistol we took their two young men ... Their mother is at my feet trying to kiss my feet like I deserve my feet to be kissed. Screaming, pleading. I don't need to speak Arabic to know love and concern and fear. I had my attack helicopter behind me, my Bradley fighting vehicle, my armour, my M4 [semi-automatic] with laser sight. I'm an 82nd Airborne killer. But I was powerless ... to ease this woman's pain.

After I came home I applied for conscientious objector [status]. I'm a Christian, what was I doing holding a gun to another human being? Love thy neighbour. Pray for those who persecute you, don't shoot them.

I get my conscientious objector packet approved. I'm free. It's all gone now, right? No! I still swerve at trash bags ... fireworks ... I can't express anything. All my relationships are falling apart because they can't fucking understand me. How do they know the pain I've gone through or the sights I've seen? The innocence gone, stripped, dead? I couldn't stand the pain. People were leaving me.

I couldn't cut my wrists. So I called the police. They come stomping through my door. I have my knife in my hand. "Shoot me." All of a sudden I was the man with the RPG, with all the guns pointed at him, thinking "Yes, we can solve the world's problems by killing each other". How insane is that? Lucky I lived through that episode. See, you can't wash your hands when they're covered in blood. The wounds carry on. This is what war does to your soul, to your humanity, to your family.

posted by Christy @ 12:37 AM   1 comments  

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Kristen said...

Oh Frank...you aren't even worth the time it took to write this post.

Trevor said...

I wish the Army taught this sort of thing while they were teaching us to kill. They don't give you any training to prepare you for the range of emotions that a normal human will experience when he has just killed another human being.

And that is sad.

Hurria said...

"They don't give you any training to prepare you for the range of emotions that a normal human will experience when he has just killed another human being."

Oh, gee, I am really sorry for all you who are taught to kill and not to deal with your emotions. What a tragedy for you that you might have to deal with a bit of discomfort over taking a life, and depriving mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of their loved ones, wives of their partners and children of their providers and protectors.

You know, I have an even better idea. How about just not taking part when your government decides it's a cool idea to invade other countries?

In the mean time, nobody forced you into a life that would include killing people, you chose it voluntarily. The people whose countries you invade did not choose to have you come over there to kill them and destroy their lives, so stop whining about the consequences of your own voluntary choices.

Kristen said...

People who live in glass houses....

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is that most Rethuglicans attitude is "Oh, well, you signed up for it." Think I am overgeneralizing? My sister's bf who voted for the Moron sat there and said that to me last time I spoke with him. I told him he was wrong and that he should be drafted.

Terri said...

I really find it almost sad that everyone is here talking about peace, and how they wish we could all get along, and whatnot, but then arguing over someone else's comment board. This is not meant to be a conversation/ argument between two people. This is a soldier that one way or another is over seas fighting a war for our country, whether he wants to be there or not. Whether we want him to be there or not, he is. All we can do now is offer our support.
Zach, I hope that you are able to return home as soon as possible, and I hope that you remain safe for the rest of your time over seas. Thank you for keeping our country safe.

Hurria said...

Terri, get real, will you?

Zach and his colleagues are doing absolutely nothing to keep your country safe by being in Iraq. If anything, their presence is having the exact opposite effect. That is yet one more excellent reason for you and other Americans to do everything in your power to get them out of Iraq and the sooner the better.

By being in Iraq Zach and his colleagues are the primary destabilizing force there, they are a direct and indirect danger to the lives, limbs, health, and property of Iraqis, they in danger themselves, and their presence is undermining the safety and security of the United States and of every American anywhere in the world.

nocchipi said...

I discovered this blog VIA Time Magazine and find it to be very enlightenging. It offers a perspective of the war rarely seen in mainstream US press.
Perhaps there can be some hope found in the type of conversations that Hurria and other bloggers are engaging in. There is a massive communication gap between The United States and the Middle East that leaves a vaccuum now filled by violence and mutual mis-trust (understated).

"September 11 happened. The Next day I was in the recruiting office. I thought that was the way I could make a difference in the world for the better." - Hart Viges

We must ask ourselves how we can have volunteers on both sides of this conflict offering their lives up for something they believe is "making the world better" and then going out and blowing each other up, leaving nothing but pain and suffering for all those affected?

Kristen said...

Just out of curiosity Hurria, what do you suggest we Americans do to get Zach, my husband, and so many others out of Iraq? This isn't meant to be sarcastic in any way, I want to hear your ideas. I've written my congressmen, my senator, and I've protested. I've even drastically cut my driving down to reduce my expenses and use of gas. What more can I do without abandoning my husband? What are your ideas? Again, this is earnest and not sarcastic and mean spirited. You try to rally us to do what we can to get our troops home, but most of us are clueless as to how we can achieve that.

Hurria said...

Kristen, I think what you are doing so far in writing to your Congress members, and protesting is good. (Reducing your use of gasoline is probably a good thing for a number of reasons, but the oil-related aspect of invading Iraq was less about the U.S. need for oil than it was about establishing U.S. control of the world's oil supply as a way to achieve world dominance.)

It is certainly a difficult struggle for Americans who want to see this idiotic, deadly, and criminal enterprise come to an end. Some people seem to have the luxury of being able to devote themselves almost full time to the effort, but if every American who wants to see this madness end did just one small thing each day, or even each week, it would have an impact. Lobby the Congress. Call, write, fax, e-mail. Make it clear to them that your vote depends on taking a strong stance against this war, and doing something about it.

One woman I have some contact with has made posters with photos of dead Iraqi children, or U.S. troops, or the horrific destruction, and goes to DC periodically to show them to any Congress members she can get in to see. Write letters to the editor, write op-eds (it seems to me that letters and op-eds from families of troops would have a big impact). Organize teach-ins, hold weekly vigils in high-traffic areas during a peak time of day. Find community groups and organizations you can speak to. If you are not comfortable with speaking in front of groups find some people who are and who share your views. If you are, volunteer yourself to speak at rallies and protests. Call talk radio stations. Find local print and broadcast journalists and try to get them to use you as a source. Stay as informed of the facts as possible, and inform others at every opportunity, whether they are receptive to the message or not. For those who can risk it, engage in civil disobedience.

Educate as many people as you can one at a time, a few at a time, many at a time. And figure out what information is likely to move most people. Probably that will be how they are being impacted financially or otherwise. Most likely more Americans will be moved by what tens of thousands of U.S. troops are suffering than by what millions of Iraqis are suffering. Develop some talking points.

There are a lot of resources on the web for excellent information that one cannot get readily from the U.S> mainstream media. There are some excellent blogs out there, though you do have to use your own judgment in that regard. One site I can recommend strongly for information is Today In Iraq. This is a daily compilation from the press. The comment section can also be worthwhile. There are a lot of others too that are valuable, but start with that one just to keep informed of daily events, many of which you will not hear about on your local news channel.

Kristen said...

Like most people, I don't have alot of time to be as active as some who oppose the war, but I agree. If everyone just did one thing a week to demonstrate their disgust for the government and its actions, maybe the politicians would wise up. Unfortunately the recent natural disasters have taken alot of the focus off of Iraq and Afghanistan...again. Most Americans would rather devote their time to helping other Americans rather than the soldiers and the inhabitants of the nations we are occupying, and that's only the percentage of Americans who would help anyone at all.
Like I said, between a full time job, sending staples to my husband, and taking care of our baby, I don't have alot of time, but I still find time to actively oppose this war. Instead of writing a response to this blog, write your congressmen or senator. If you truly want to see your loved ones or fellow Americans come home, do something other than writing condolences and sympathy letters to Zach and his family. One person rarely makes a difference, but an Army of us can.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer said...

Rose, you are quite wrong that Zach (and others like him) can do nothing more than "to follow the orders of his superiors, whether he personally wishes to or not." As I wrote in response to a blog entry of his last June, he can "refuse to continue to abet the killing that [he] acknowledge[s] is wrong."

I agree with Hurria's response to you, Rose, and many of his points to others, though he has let these others distract him from the subject of responsibility for one's own actions. Intimately connected to that idea is a different kind of "support the troops" - an action by individuals rather than simply words and one that if taken by even a moderate number is highly likely to get all military personnel home relatively soon and stop the harm (initiating of force) being inflicted. From the beginning of my essay at http://selfsip.org/focus/preferencing.html :
"What can one lone person do?"

"This is a question raised often, especially when the frustrations are against government actions that do particularly heinous harm, such as wasting billions of stolen dollars destroying the lives and property of people who are uninvolved with anyone posing a threat. In the society that is the goal of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, with its basis in the principles of the Theory of Social Meta-Needs, there is no government - social preferencing is the major method for influencing others. However, even currently when governments are everywhere, the tool of social preferencing can be used against those who actually do the harm in the name of governments, and if practiced by enough people would be highly effective."

To Kristen, I empathize with your distress and I have more than simply words of sympathy to give you. Kristen, I suggest that you (and others) follow my recommendation of social preferencing against the real harm-doers and direct supporters (read the essay so that you understand the terms and reasoning *and* methods), rather than only write emails to your legislators and join protest demonstrations to legislators/White House occupiers/etc. I have detailed how these politicos can be rendered impotent and have actively begun my own social preferencing. And I will very soon publish online the response I am in the process of making to my AF (support role) pilot nephew's reply to the addendum message at the end of the above essay. I don't want to see my nephew come to harm nor anyone else suffer from the initiation of force.

**Kitty Antonik Wakfer
MoreLife for the rational - http://morelife.org
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
Self-Sovereign Individual Project - http://selfsip.org
Rational freedom by self-sovereignty & social contracting

Anonymous said...

i as well have a good friend from the 82nd airborne division who got back from iraq a while ago, he as well thinks the same way as you....and im sure in time those BOYS will become men as they find out what life is like over there. . . good luck with every thing