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.


Anonymous said...

you have a very good blog here. sorry to hear that you are in iraq away from your wife and children. my friends dad just came back from iraq last week.

banana said...

oh, we'll here from bin laden again. ....in 2008 right before the presidential elections.

Kim S. said...

Oh, yes, the war memorials always make everything better. Too bad we never learn anything from them.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

O Zack, I am so sorry that you are there. I hope you know that even though the war is like vietnam, we americans are not going to treat our soldiers like they did the vietnam vets. I will pray that you & others will come home very soon.

Kate said...

Wow. Excellent entry, my friend. Yes, we love our monuments, even when they are monuments to monumental failures of leadership. The excuse of "staying the course because so many have died" is, frankly, inexcusable. We are losing our humanity to all of this, like our ancestors did in their worthless wars.

I can't help but think about Brecht's Mother Courage, a play I saw here in Chicago less than a month after 9/11. In it, Mother Courage roams through Europe during the 30 Year War (which might as well have been endless), trying to scrape out an existence and merely survive surrounded as she was by all that meaningless death. Steppenwolf, the theater company that showed it, had planned to present it a year before 9/11, which just goes to show that it wasn't prescient but rather appropriate for any era, sadly.

I don't want us to fight an endless war. I don't want you to be stuck there endlessly, just as I don't want my husband to be stuck in Afghanistan until the mythical bin Laden is finally captured (an impossibility, it seems, given how flacid our engagement has been coupled with how impassable the mountains are there).

We have to be able to imagine other ways of living and solving our problems and disputes. What we are doing right now isn't working and it's not sustainable. We don't go to bed with the fear of nuclear annihilation anymore (perhaps foolishly), but instead with the very real nightmares of the violence all around us. We have some soldiers peddling in photos of death, exchanging one type of pornography for another, while the rest of us fetishize the idea of "sacrifice" and "honor" and insane notions of what it means to life a true life. Instead of asking our friends and lovers and relatives to die for honor, we should be asking them to live long lives with honor, contributing fully, as they have the right to, to this crazy, crooked journey we find ourselves on. You should be home with your family. You should be with them for the long haul, living your life with them, enmeshed in their lives, for years and years more. This war is criminal. Consigning you to fight it beyond your will is doubly criminal (how is an army "volunteer" when soldiers are forced to fight a voluntary war involuntarily?). I only hope you are able to come home soon and rid yourself of this mess. Find some space and peace to be with those who love you so you can love one another.

Take care and stay safe, Zach. I'm thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

Want to end this war NOW? Start demanding a return to military conscription.

-roamer in mich

Anonymous said...

Zack, here is your chance to beat up Bush, its good for chuckle... http://www.planetdan.net/pics/misc/georgie.htm

stay safe

underdog said...

I went to the protest in DC last Sat. It was huge. Toward the end of the route, about 200 war-mongers shouted insults at the people on the march. I wanted to tell the big police officers in riot gear (at least I think they were police officers, they could have been mercenaries) that formed a line between us and the sneering faux patriots, that they were facing the wrong direction. I wanted to tell the crew-cut soldier wannabes that an oath to protect the Constitution supercedes fealty to an illegitimate prop called "W", but I walked on trying to give them the inattention they deserved.
The hatred in those eyes made me afraid for guys like you. Watch your back. We'll bag these crooks, but it is going to be a hard row. The insanity runs deep.

Jeff said...

I am very sorry to hear that you have to be over there in that mess, but do you feel that we should leave immediately or do you think that cannot be done? Because I often ask myself that and change my decission nearly every time I think about it. What is your oppinion?

honkeie2 said...

Wow, I am sorry u are not home with your family but with a little bit of luck you can come home.
Screw all polaticians(sp), but be safe!

phinky said...

Stay safe Zach. Hopefully we will get you and your buddies home. I have a close friend who just arrived there last month. I keep all of you in my prayers that you return home safely.

Anonymous said...

in my estimation, if soldiers are not re-enlisting it's because of crappy nco's and officers... it's not bush... but it may well have been poor planning... and more soldiers w/ re-enlist if we paid them a living wage to do what they do and stop crapping on them endlessly and supported them and their mission fully and not just by saying empty words.

Jana Lane said...

I hope it is a comfort to you that you get very thoughtful comments on your blog. It appears that many people in the US are searching for ways to end our occupation in Iraq. I am in favor of bringing our soldiers home now because I am convinced that our presence in Iraq provokes much of the violence. Also, we do not have money to conduct a war. We are selling bonds to banks in China and Japan that our children and grandchildren will have to repay. There is no bvenefit to anybody in that. Zack, I am saying your name aloud during prayers every Sunday. I hope you will soon be home with your family. Keep safe.

banana said...

yes this war is different...instead of spitting on soldiers, anti-war activists spit on the yellow bellies too afraid to sign up themselves and too anti-american to put their money where their mouth is.

yep, those jerks who are pro-war but expect american to go into debt to communist countries like china who fund the war in iraq for them so they can get "tax cuts."

we spit on those clueless idiots driving SUVs who say "support the troops" but don't draft my kid.

Janine said...

Zach, Sad to say there are even more trees planted since you were home in the summer. Around 40 trees just for September's memorial service. A total of 42 for OIF-1 and 132 as of August 16th for OIF-3......How very sad. I will be there next month for the service for a friend of my husbands....

Chris said...

Know that I'm praying for your safe return. Keep up the excellent blogging.

Think Peace,

"It comes down to a basic choice that we have to make as a civilization--either we will learn to bury the animosities of our ethnocentric, militant traditions and come to understand that Earth's survival depends on our collective, unified participation or we will sustain this cycle of violence and revenge until humanity is returned to the status of primitivity, and Earth is reduced to the rubble of antiquity. The choice is our own."

Anonymous said...

I was at the march in Washington. It took over 3 hours for people to walk from the start of the rally (near the Ellipse and Constitution Ave) to the White House only blocks away. There were thousands upons thousands of us there and the streets were packed.

Some notable things:
- Lots of signs for impeachment including my own.
- A sign "Yeehaw is not a foreign policy"
- Lots of people of all ages including a black women (I saw in a photo afterwards) who held a sign to the effect of "No Iraqi left me on a roof to die"
- Lots of anti-war signs
- Women marching bare chested with a big banner "Breasts not Bombs"
- A women holding a sign "Republican for Impeachment"
- A moving ceremony in which Cindy Sheehan was presented with a native american quilt which was draped over her shoulders. A Native American singer then chanted.
- Code Pink with a giant peace symbol made of pink balloons.
And the list goes on. There were old people, young people, people in wheel chairs, little children in strollers...

As I left, I jammed my "Impeach, Impeach, Impeach" sign in the wall of the FBI building. Perhaps it was still there to greet Mon. morning workers.

One can only hope that with the indictment of Delay, the likely criminal activities of Frist, the reports that Bush is once again hitting the bottle, the sheer arrogance and incompetence of the Bush appointees in FEMA and elsewhere as people in the Gulf died and suffered, the absurd prospect of SUVs sucking up the gas as people spent days on the road in huge ownership society traffic jams... that regime change here is close at hand.

The danger to world peace and certainly to Iraqis is Mr. Bush and his criminal, lethal, ideologically driven, greedy, oil guzzling, Halliburton profiteering policies.

It's time to impeach the b...st....d.


Anonymous said...

zack this is a beautiful post. sad but beautiful yore fiend linda

aikane said...

our logic is clear and it's difficult to understand why national leaders refuse to comprehend the truth.

Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. You and all the people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have our support. We think of you daily.

aikane said...

Correction: "Your logic...."

Andrew said...

You see with eyes that aren't mine, but when you say what you see I know that it's true.

Have a lucky Day

natasha rene'e said...

your post brings tears to me eyes. i hate to think that a husband and a father has to leave his family for someone else's ill concieved agenda. but i admire those, like you, that honor their word. when a soldier enlists he knows the danger that it involves, he knows the risk of fighting a war he doesn't agree with is just as high as fighting one he supports. it speaks volumes of someone's character when they still carry on and keep their commitments to fulfill the duties they signed up for. i hope that you're able to safely return to the family that needs you, and i hope that others will learn that you can support a soldier without supporting a pointless war.
thank you for everthing you're doing, and more so for everything you are giving up.
natasha rene'e

Carol said...

Zach, my thoughts are with you and all our soldiers and Marines as you live through this war for lies. How I hope you return home safely, and that we here create a better America for you to return home to in the future.

hol said...

That is just horrible. Perhaps a picture of these trees that only represent death (when trees are usually a symbol of life, how sad) would help make more people aware of the ridiculous amounts of people dying for, well, I'm not sure for what any more. I am so angry that there are americans dying for no clear reason. For democracy to be forced on a random country? Perhaps your wife could get a picture? Just a thought. The idea of seeing those trees makes me sick.

krytron said...

Zach -

it's been a while since i last checked your blog, but this post has floored me.

nobody back here seems to remember Afghanistan. and even if they do, they probably aren't aware that the Heroin output from there has been skyrocketing ever since 2001. one more reason we should've stuck around to finish the job. as if bin laden STILL on the loose isn't reason enough. if only Afghanistan had oil.

but now you're stuck in Iraq, along with 148,999 of the bravest young men & women this country has ever had at the administration's disposal. and i do mean disposal, unfortunately.

i agree with 'anonymous', that the quickest way to bring this fiasco to an end is to reinstate the draft (and no deferments this time, for all the cheneys out there).

bush keeps spewing out the same tired one-liners about 'progress' and 'sacrifice', as if he were acquainted with either of them, and i really don't know how the country's going to be able to endure another 3 years of his incompetence.

'Support Our Troops' should mean more than just slapping a yellow ribbon magnet on your SUV, and the sooner the American People realize that, the better off we, and you, will be.

stay strong and stay safe.
and thank you.

Welcome Beautiful! said...

Wow. I've read your blogs and i just have to say that your words are beautiful truth. I thank you and those that are fighting as hard as you are, god bless your souls. Stay safe, but kick some ass!

Hurria said...

Oh yeah! Kick some o' that eyerackian ass for welcome beautiful. After all, them eyerackians deserve to get their asses kicked just for being in their homeland when you guys came over there to take it over.

MP Sisco said...

Zack my brother,
I know and feel your pain. Don't ever lose sight of what you have ahead of you... your family. I won't speak out or for this war (those personal feelings are just that) I have lost friends to this damn war, and now family of mine are being sent to fight for their lives. One day you will be home and when you are I will celebrate. I rejoice whenever any of our sons or daughters return. You are one of the brave to agree to such a perilous job without knowing what danger faces you tomorrow. I wait for the day this war ends, and I know it will not end soon enough. Keep your head down and your weapon charged. Don't trust those we were sent to protect that "one" in the crowd is dangerous. You (as well as all our soilders) deserve so much more from US. I am sorry we have failed you, my friend. Stay well and safe if it matters to you I will pray for your safety. Good luck, and may God's speed bring you home soon.
MP Sisco

CJ said...

Zach, from an MI soldier to an MI soldier, the reality is that reenlistment has been UP among soldiers deployed to Iraq. Statistically, soldiers are MORE apt to reenlist if they've been there. It may not be true with your unit, but Army wide it is.

It's unfair to say that the Fort Stewart Memorial walk only had a few trees before. There were 42 trees planted from the Division's first tour there. So far, there have been 53 more trees planted of soldiers that have died from this deployment. Of those, only 36 are from hostile action, which include IEDs. 17 deaths were caused by accidents and illnesses.

Don't get me wrong, ONE death is too many for ANY cause. By the way, I was with the 3rd ID for the first push, a part of B Company, 103rd MI Bn.

Charles said...

For 20 Ohio Marines
[A Tribute from Butler, Pa.]

Did you feel the wave of sympathy
surging across the Pennsylvania line
and out to you,
the families left behind?

We know.
For we saw your boys
here among ours,
in our streets jogging,
in cars, in shopping malls,
in our churches, at picnics,
and High School proms,
and not too long ago
on the Fourth
as lads on Main Street
watching soldiers pass,
and even then they straightened
when the flag unfurled.

We saw them at gates
embracing parents
wives and families,
grandparents too
and friends who couldn't let go—
turning then to leave
with head held high,
yet looking back
at the ramp,
one last time.

Twenty, they reported, had fallen—
snatched from us, from us now so far.
We weep with you.
For yours are ours.

H. Bender said...

Obviously we can't pursue this war and others planned without starting up the draft once again .
But I would suggest that we should demand that the very first ones to be drafted should be all 535 members of Congress , their wives , sons , daughters , brothers , sisters and all of the Neo-Cons who are the power behind the throne so to speak . That means Paul Wolfowitz , Richard Pearl , Elliot Abrams , Douglas Feith , Frank Gaffney , Lewis Libby , Bill Kristol , his father Irving Kristol [ founder of the Neo Cons and a Trotskyite] ,Norman Podhoretz , David Frum , Larry Franklin , etc. By the way they are all draft dodgers .They should set an example for the rest of us to prove their resolve and patriotism . We will send them directly to the front lines and put a battalion of Marines behind them to make sure that they do not retreat . If they refuse to go , let's tell them to

Jim Online said...

Iraq and Afghanistan were just victims of circumstances. It is a hard fact that US will bully whoever she decides to tackle. The problems comes when the so-called democratic state is implemented, hell breaks loose. It has been years and Iraq is still in peril. Afghanistan on the other is no better and searching for her identity. These are sad truths that countries must swallow.