Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ghost of a Father

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

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

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


Rose said...

I'm definitely a ghost auntie. It really hurt when I visited them and they didn't remember who I was (granted they were 3+ and 1+ at the time). This last visit, they were more at ease around me, but you're right. The sound of your voice is good, but not nearly as good as being able to hug and kiss them and comfort them when they need it.

Dammit, Dubya!!!! Enough already!!!!!!!

jarvenpa said...

ah, Zack, I wish you were home with your kids. I was a military brat myself, the oldest of three. My dad was gone the first time from when I was 4 months old till when I was almost two; I would run up to guys on the street, embarassing my mom no end, hugging their knees, hopefully crying "Daddy?!!" But when he returned the first time I cried and cried, and he, as he later told me, felt very bad. We were separated a lot. We traveled a lot. My mom held things together, sort of. And my father held in all sorts of regrets. Not an easy life. I can tell you now, as an adult, and a parent, that I have only love and compassion for what my dad went through (he died several years ago, in my arms). But--I wish no other kids would have to miss their dads--it's a harsh price. And this time--so many lies. Come home safe.

tmg said...

My father was gone a lot when I was a kid (although not for months at a time). Our conversations back then meant a lot to me, but it certainly was beter to have him around. I think I used to act up just to get him to focus on me when he was home! We now have a great relationship.

Just keep praying for your kids. The Lord will sustain them as He is sustaining you.

Scott said...

Dude, that is a pain that goes to the bone. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I can't imagine how you find the will-power to continue there in Iraq. I can't imagine getting out of the military is easy but perhaps something you should entertain. You sound like a cool dude with so much to offer that family of yours. On the flip side, sticking to your commitments is the right thing to do. Stay safe and know that the world is listening to you everyday on this web site.


Scott in St. Paul

Anonymous said...

Zack, That is really sweet! The fact that you care so much about what you are missing from your kids life, shows what a great dad you are, they are very lucky to have you as their dad. When you get home, you will get to experience it all. I hope you come home really soon.

PS, save all these posts for them so that when they get older, they can remind themselves what their dad was going thru & how much he loves them.

Snag said...

Man, talk about opening yourself up. You really speak truth to what so many soldiers go through, but never find words for.
We always regret when we consider how things could be "better". More time with the family, different descisions, etc., but we are who we are and our journeys through life are unique unto each of us.
Try not to regret too much. Instead think of all the profound lessons you will have to share with your children. All the wise insights you can give to help your son and daughter grow up to be people of character. Not many kids have the opportunity to learn from parents with such powerful insight and experience.
Be well Zach.

Kate said...

I'm so sorry, Zach. It's completely unfair, you being there still, away from your family. Two out of the last three years. That is just too harsh. There is no excuse for keeping you away from your family. You should be home with them now.

I am intimate with your worry about being an apparition, nothing more than a voice. I was sick with worry before my husband came home for his two weeks, unsure what would happen and whether or not we would still know each other. I can imagine the worry over your relationships with your kids is amplified way beyond that. I'm so sorry.

Some day this will be a memory and nothing more. You aren't a ghost. You are a man and a husband and a father and a writer. You are so many real things. Your kids will know this when you pick them up and hold them, just as your wife will when she first sees you again. I can imagine they feel like ghosts to you too, sometimes. But they aren't. You all love each other so much.

Keeping you away from your family, beyond your contract and beyond your will, is cruel and unjust.

Take care, friend. You're in my thoughts these days.

Hurria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hurria said...

And what about the tens - or hundreds? - of thousands of Iraqi children whose fathers have been dragged off by Zach and his collegues in the middle of the night to be held incommunicado in an unknown location for an unknown period of time, who have been and are being tortured, or killed without their families knowing anything at all about their fate?

And what about the tens - or hundreds? - of thousands of Iraqi children who will never see their fathers again. What about those thousands of children who have seen their fathers killed in front of their eyes?

And what about the millions of Iraqi children whose hope of any kind of reasonably normal life has been destroyed by Zach's and his colleagues' decision to participate in a criminal enterprise?

Stop participating in the destruction of these children's lives. Go home to your children Zach, and give them all the love and support and guidance you want to give them and that they deserve, and stop participating in the destruction of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

"...this too, shall pass..."

Just a reminder.

Hurria said...

"...this too, shall pass..."

It will be generations before Iraq and its society recover from the catastrophe brought down by the Bush administration.

Hurria said...

"...this too, shall pass..."

It will be generations before Iraq and its society recover from the catastrophe brought down by the Bush administration.

A Dog Lover said...

hurria - take your liberal crap elsewhere. Zach is sacrificing his time from his family so that all children and families will one day have some moments to share if for only a brief time. shame on you for wielding your ugly head!

PubliusK said...

Smilin' Samoyed, how interesting that you assume that Hurria is a liberal just because she does not support the killing of Iraqis.

Not such a surprise that you would open your mouth and utter such crap without knowing what you were saying, however.

I often disagree with what Hurria has to say here but support her right to do so. And if Zach did not, he wouldn't be where he is.

Fabi said...

Hey Zach another great words from you, is good to see that you're one of the few American soldiers who have heart and mind, the big majority of your colleagues are stupid killing machines. Thanks for being brave enough to be against this damn war and not be afraid to say what you think. I hope you come back to your home and live a happy life with your family again, and please keep being HUMAN, don't let your country to destroy another countries because your children can be victims of revenge, be a good father and teach what you know about human nature and how much it's cruel. And don't worry, your children will never forget you now because you're alive.

I agree with Hurria, is right what has been said. Her comments about this post are the best.

Hurria said...

"I often disagree with what Hurria has to say here but support her right to do so. And if Zach did not, he wouldn't be where he is."

With all respect, that is a pile of bull crap. Zach is where he was ordered to be by his government. His government could not care less about my (or his) right to remain alive, let alone any Iraqi's right to speak. Zach may care about those things personally, but I am sure he knows damned well that he is not in Iraq because of my rights - not any of them, even the most basic ones. I am willing to bet that part of what grieves him is the knowledge that by his very presence, let alone his actions he is violating the rights of Iraqis to national sovereignty and self determination - and that's just for starters.

PubliusK said...

You're right, Hurria. This horrible disaster has nothing to do with with protecting your rights. I won't elaborate because your words are more than adequate. I was referring to in a broader sense to why a lot of people join our military to begin with.

Anonymous said...

hurria - And who was killing all of those Iraqi men and children before the Americans got there? I'll answer that question for you. The people killing before the Americans got there are the Baathists. The people the Americans are killing are the Baathists who continue to fight. The Baathists are trying to kill Zach and his comrades, Iraqi Defense Forces and Shiite men, women, and children because their power has been threatened. I guess you only care about Iraqis being murdered if Americans are present in the country (and conveniently blaming it all on the Americans). As long as the Americans leave then the killing of those Iraqis will no longer be of any consequence to you. Nice philosophy you have.

A Dog Lover said...

Zach is free to enlist or re-enlist, his choice. nuff said!

Mihael said...

Anonymous, you don't know what you are talking about, as many of us here dont. Just because you were fed crap over the TV for the last 20 years and you chose to believe it, doesn't mean its a fact.

From my point of view, US is a dictator regime with a mask of democracy. US have poured more blood in the last 50 years, wether dirrectly or by using one of their puppet regimes than any other regime. Saddam was where he was BECAUSE he was US backed - which means that indirrectly, everything that happened under his regime in Iraq, is responcibility of the US. Does that mean that the rest of the world should nuke it?. Just because you would like to think you are "good guys", and that world is black and white, it doesn't make that an absolute truth. And no - you DON'T know how people in Iraq used to live just because you saw it on CNN.

A Dog Lover said...

Mihael, you silly... the media over the last 20, hell, the last 50 years has been biased towards the left. We've been fed there views about America for so long and now with the internet and cable news along with blogs we can make up our minds for ourselves. I stongly agree with anonymous and I say also, that it is not just Baathists, but al-Quieda, who by the way if you watch enough CNN, they'll have you believe Sadaam had no connection what so ever. And what about the oil for food program that the United Nothing (UN) allowed to give Sadaam all his money to buy all his power and weapons whether they be WMD's or muster gas to murder the Kurds (children and all - Hurria!). I salute Zach for standing on the wall on my behalf - I did it for him whan I was a younger man (US Army)- and I understand his hurt and doubt, but, I, also, know he made a choice to defend his country and deep down he's proud of that. Gods Speed Zach. You are a Great American!!

A Dog Lover said...

Smilin' Samoyed said...
hurria - take your liberal crap elsewhere.

PubliusK said...
Smilin' Samoyed, how interesting that you assume that Hurria is a liberal.

PublisuK, How interesting what? Show me where I called Hurria a Liberal first of all. Then understand in your pea brain that we are not killing Iraqi's we are fighting a war against terrorists who are killing Iraqi's.

When some claim that President Bush shouldn't
have started this war, Listen to this:

a. FDR led us into World War II.

b. Germany never attacked us; Japan did.
From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost .
an average of 112,500 per year.

c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea.
North Korea never attacked us.
From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost ...
an average of 18,334 per year.

d John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962.
Vietnam never attacked us.

e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost .
an average of 5,800 per year.

f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent.
Bosnia never attacked us.
He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three
times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on
multiple occasions.

g. In the years since terrorists attacked us , President Bush
has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled
al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran, and North
Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who
slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining
about how long the war is taking.
But .
It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno
to take the Branch Davidian compound.
That was a 51-day operation.

We've been looking for evidence for chemical weapons
in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find
the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the
Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard
than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his
Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick

It took less time to take Iraq than it took
to count the votes in Florida!!!!

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!
The Military morale is high!

The biased media hopes we are too ignorant
to realize the facts.

These were from the Senate floor on Mon Jan 26, 2004 from the mouth of Senator John Glenn.

There's a little more:

Some people still don't understand why military personnel
do what they do for a living. This exchange between
Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum
is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive
impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one
man's explanation of why men and women in the armed
services do what they do for a living.

Hang Tough Zach

Anonymous said...

Go read you history books. Japan attacked us, we declared war on Japan, then Germany declared war on the US due to the Axis treaty. We then declared war on Germany. Germany and Japan both acted first, like we did with Iraq. FDR did not lead us into war and don't give me that FDR let Pearl harbor happen nonsense. The Pearl Harbor attack was Japan's choice plain and simple. Don't compare a just war to an unjust one, based on lies.

-roamer in mich

A Dog Lover said...

Go back and read it again Roamer in Mich - I didn't say this - John Glenn said it, pea brain! Read it, carefully, cause it's not how you interpret it!

Anonymous said...

Actually, the part about the Iraq war was not actually said by Glenn. The part about why people serve that you quoted was from him, but in 1974. The rest according to snopes.com is "an anonymous piece that has been floating around the Internet since 2004."

See here or here.

Neither Glenn nor Metzenbaum were members of the US Senate in 2004.

Not to say there aren't good points in the text, just that they lose some of their impact when improperly attributed.

Snag said...

Hmmm...where to begin?
I can't.
Your sense of history is woefully inept and from your banter I can see that you would rather cling to rhetoric and schoolyard name calling than actually engage in a political discussion.
You represent the administration well, but do a disservice to conservative thought.
A quick few points for those who might actually want to debate based on the real world:
We sold Anthrax to Hussein during the Reagan years.
The Taliban is still operating (we call them warlord factions now) and now we have an increased supply of heroin on our streets to boot (I know, I work in law enforcement and I see it). Where is it coming from? May be the massive amount of poppy fields in Afghanistan.
Vietnam began before Kennedy (ever hear of the Pentagon Papers?)
Nixon continued the same old/same old in Vietnam.
Nixon bombed Cambodia illegally.
North Korea began their weaponizing of nuclear materials after the invasion of Iraq.
Iran is increasing their nuclear program and have elected a more conservative, anti-American government since the invasion of Iraq.
Looking at the Bombing in London and Bali, Al-Quida doesn't look too crippled to me.
Not a single American combat casualty occured in Bosnia or Kosovo.
Bush #41 jumped into Somalia.
Anyone will tell you we're fighting insurgents in Iraq. Do you know the difference?

Samoyed, please tell me you were never S2. I can see the biased media has you pegged. God, you guys are getting just plain bizzare.

Anonymous said...

Zach, You have such a strong presence and spirit that even with you gone so long you could never be a ghost of a father. The videos, pictures, calls, e-mails and gifts but mostly the love, committment, gratitude, honesty and compassion you show Tara and your children is so true and powerful that they know you like many children never get to know their fathers. Love you son, Mom

Anonymous said...

eric says you know they love you and tara
would wait a thousand years for you to come home and only think you were gone for a day those kids love you to death don't ever think otherwise i can tell when i see you around them i know i see how they act they love you to death and that is forever

Kitty Antonik Wakfer said...

There are far fewer government politicos and their assistants than there are ordinary people - in the US and other countries. And it is the ordinary people who actually carry out the orders of government administrators. Specifically when considering the current initiation of force in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US and its allied governments, there is considerable influence that each person who disagrees with these actions can have on the enforcers and their active supporters. I have explained in detail in a recent essay, "Social Preferencing - Evaluation and Choice of Association; A Method for Influence" http://selfsip.org/focus/preferencing.html My own implementation towards my Air Force pilot nephew is provided in an included email to him. Yesterday (10/4) I uploaded a subsequent email dialogue I had with him and my summary comments, "Exchange Regarding Social Preferencing and Participation in Offensive Military Action" http://selfsip.org/dialogues/misc/preferencing_at.html

The type of thinking that my nephew, Aaron, demonstrated in his email response is quite typical of what I expect many will find when they try to verbally (or in writing) influence others to cease involvement in and support of the US (and other government) military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reasoning I have used to point out Aaron's faulty thinking and substitution with emotion will likely be beneficial to others and hopefully encourage them to make use of the powerful non-force tool of social preferencing. With significant numbers of individuals doing as I have done (and will do also with others when I learn of their government enforcing and active supportive actions), and providing instead active support to those who seek to become ex-enforcers/supporters, the administrators and legislators in Washington DC can be made impotent to initiate force. That is unless they are willing to do the enforcing themselves - and it's well known how many have actually avoided doing that!

So here is a real tool - social preferencing - to "get the troops home". But it requires the courage of individuals to do more than simply post anonymous/pseudononymous messages to blogs.

**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...

Hurria, Even though I agree with your stance about the war & the Iraqi children, Zack seems to also agree with that but he is bound by duty & what he signed up for.....have you not been reading his blogs? This man is not where he wants to be but you cannot blame him for it, keep the blame & pressure on the Bush government the way it should be!!

Let's bring our boys & girls home!!

Anonymous said...

A couple of points here:
The U.S. supported and helped arm Saddam for years. Rumsfeld visited and shook his hand. The U.S. allowed, enabled, and supported Saddam's criminal behavior. How quickly americans seem to forget their own government's complicity in his crimes.

iraqis have every reason to be angry and then some. the u.s. invaded iraq and apparently intended to remain permanently (and probably still do).

and as to who americans are killing, yes americans are killing iraqis, have killed tens of thousands, have tortured a fair number, have shot civilians, sniped at ambulances.

The war was based upon lies, falsehoods presented by Powell at the U.N. about non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. how many did times did we hear of WMD, WMD, WMD, WMD. Well there were none. There were no connections to Al Qaida. The U.S. had a far closer relationship to Bin Laden that did Saddam Hussein. We helped arm Bin Laden.

Zach is in a tough spot because he has made a commitment to be a soldier and yet he knows this war is criminal.

The Iraqis are in a far more difficult place. It was they who were invaded and occupied. It is Iraqis who are living without electricity, decent hospital care, fear of violence from fighters on all sides (americans, iraqi collaborators, anti-occupation forces, bombings). The primary cause of the violence is the U.S. presence. Withdraw the U.S. and at least one source of the violence will be removed.

Zach, you probably can't post this on the blog, but have soldiers there considered going on strike? i.e. laying down their arms and refusing to serve in this illegal war based on lies?


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you're understanding of our support of Saddam is light. The US gave Saddam Hussein brief intelligence support in the mid-80's when Iran was about to overrun Iraq. We provided Saddam with information from our satellites that he was defenseless in an area where Iran was massing troops. Arms were provided to Iraq by France (Mirage fighters, chemical weapons assistance and some helicopters) and the Soviet Union (Mig fighters, Hind helicopters, sa-7 shoulder fired surface to air missiles, bmp armored personnel carriers, t-72 and t-54 tanks, AK-47 assault rifles, artillery). There wasn't a single weapon of US manufacture in their arsenal.

Secondly, Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam isn't proof of anything let alone that we were supporting Saddam. I can produce photos of Jimmy Carter kissing Brezhnev on the mouth, but that doesn't mean Carter supported the Gulags. It indicates that two people were greeting each other during a diplomatic mission.

If you listen carefully to President Bush's speach to the UN on 9/12/02, he clearly states a number of reasons that action needed to be taken against Iraq. ONE of those reasons were WMD and there is a mountain of evidence that Saddam had WMD (including the bodies of hundreds of Kurds). What he did with those weapons, no one on our side is sure. Saddam has a well documented connection to terrorism prior to our invasion. From paying suicide bombers in Israel to harboring criminals such as Abu Nidal.

And if Saddam was our puppet that we controlled, then clearly Iraq had already lost it's sovereignty, no? Wouldn't it be our responsibility to stop Saddam from committing the crimes we told him to commit. Our do we just leave him to keep up with his "criminal behavior" as you put it. And if the US presence is responsible for the violence in Iraq. Tell me what crimes do you speak of when referring to Saddam's criminal behavior. Surely, nothing violent. Perhaps Saddam was criminally burglarizing people's homes.

You actually make a better argument for invading Iraq than I do. We created a monster with "criminal behavior". It should be our responsibility to get rid of the monster we set loose on Iraq.

Yes, we helped bin Laden indirectly during the Soviet-Afghan war. We also helped all of the other mujahadeen that were fighting our number one enemy. We also supplied the Soviets during the second world war which is even worse. The Soviets had already openly declared that they were at war with capitalism before we started arming them. Bin Laden's declaration of war against us happened 7 years after he last received any weapons from us.

Hurria said...

no, anonymous, it is your understanding of U.S. support for Saddam that is "light". You apparently do not know, for starters, that Saddam was a CIA asset during the '60's.

The extent and nature of U.S. support for Saddam during the '80's when he was committing his worst and most widespread atrocities has been very, very well documented, and the informatino is readily available from mainstream U.S. sources. Much of the information you need has been published in the mainstream U.S. media since 2002. That includes the realities behind Rumsfeld's and others' various visits to Saddam.

You should educate yourself before you start criticizing others.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer said...

All the current blog comments attempts to justify initial and continued acts of force by the US (and its allies) military are really of little value since they all assume that a government's actions are proper. I disagree with that from the very basis since the act of a government formation is in its nature one of force upon individuals. The foundation for this reasoning is in "Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction" http://selfsip.org/fundamentals/socialmetaneeds.html

But directly to the immediate point - for those who themselves want to rid another country of a "monster" whether or not created by a previous outside government administration (the individuals doing the order giving to those who actually followed those orders), go right ahead and *personally* do so (with your own physical body and resources/assets) and take responsibility for what happens to you.

For the anonymous commenter who wrote, "It should be our responsibility to get rid of the monster we set loose on Iraq." I say speak for yourself!! Don't use "we" except for those who have given you specific authority to speak for them. This collectivism of language - use of "we", "our", "us", etc. - is a mind-numbing mechanism that gradually turns the users into unconscious semi-borg (remember Star Trek?) who seek to spread the responsibility for individual action (or non-action) to others rather than face the fact that only individuals think, act, desire, feel, etc. For more detail on this, see "Collectivism in Language: Its Effects on Valid Reasoning" http://selfsip.org/fundamentals/we.html

And for Stephen, your question re. soldiers going on strike is a good one. That would be the action of current enforcers/active supporters becoming the former of those roles. An army/navy/air force/marine contingent of mostly ex-enforcers and ex-active supporters (to enforcers) would no longer be initiating and actively supporting force towards others. Such a group would be of no value to the power seekers in Washington (and other government seats). Done in the current environment of easily and quickly transmittable communication, virtually the entire world would know of the "strike" within hours. So, Stephen, action by individual soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines to cease their individual enforcing/active supporting roles in this (and any other) military action of initiating force is proper and to the purpose of maximizing the lifetime happiness of each of them individually (the goal of a person's life) and consequently to all of them. (See first essay link above.) I support such actions and urge others to do likewise, making it widely known ahead of time so that large numbers of people are aware. The last time I read the news, US Congress hadn't even declared a war in Iraq or Afghanistan, so the (temporary, if any) retaliatory measures against an individual ex-enforcer or ex-active supporter would at most be confinement (the brig), which would be highly publicized by friends. In addition, there is the influencing of these military enforcers/supporters to resign, become conscientious objectors, not re-enlist, etc. Such support by the real friends of those in the military who are troubled by the roles they are currently living can be highly effective in bringing such a cessation of force to a stop. The power brokers in Washington DC (and allied government capitals) are only powerful by virtue of their current ability to convince thousands of young men and women to initiate force on others through the use of distortions of truth and outright lies.

**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

Kristen said...

Kitty, I have finally gotten around to reading your Social Preferencing article and I couldn't disagree with you more. The mere suggestion that I turn my back on my HUSBAND( the man I married because I love and support him through thick and thin as he has done for me) and stop all conversation with him, his family, and all of my friends who are currently serving would not only be hypocritical of me, but is just plain absurd. If you can live with yourself for shutting out your own relative, then more power to you, but I am not going to abandon my husband to make a point. As heartless and callous as it sounds, once Rob comes home, I am going to try to forget about all of this and move on with our lives together. I won't stop protesting this war, but my activities will be cut back drastically as I attempt to reassemble my broken family. As I said before, if you feel no remorse for the alienation of your nephew, then keep on truckin, but you are marketing to the wrong person.

xatoo said...

Yankees Go Home!

Kate said...

Zach, your comments are sort of a phenomenon of their own. There's an interesting story here, I think, this reaction to your posts. I haven't read many other soldiers' blogs so I don't know if they have the same kind of debates happening in their comment sections, though I'm inclined to think they don't. Some day you should write about this (when you're home and away from the mess, perhaps). It's fascinating, actually.

Take care, friend. Stay safe --

Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld and Hussein as posted by the National Security Archive, "an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C."

Washington, D.C., 25 February 2003 - The National Security Archive at George Washington University today published on the Web a series of declassified U.S. documents detailing the U.S. embrace of Saddam Hussein in the early 1980's, including the renewal of diplomatic relations that had been suspended since 1967. The documents show that during this period of renewed U.S. support for Saddam, he had invaded his neighbor (Iran), had long-range nuclear aspirations that would "probably" include "an eventual nuclear weapon capability," harbored known terrorists in Baghdad, abused the human rights of his citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on Iranians and his own people. The U.S. response was to renew ties, to provide intelligence and aid to ensure Iraq would not be defeated by Iran, and to send a high-level presidential envoy named Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam (20 December 1983) (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/press.htm National Security Archive )

The background information posted by the National Security Archive on Rumsfeld, Hussein, and U.S. support for Hussein is is worth looking at.


xatoo said...

"Responsables de la seguridad iraquí acusaron este lunes a dos británicos detenidos tanto de haber disparado contra fuerzas de iraquíes como de intentar colocar explosivos."

Ellen Knickmeyer, The Washington Post, 20 de septiembre, 2005

aikane said...

Zach, I read all the comments. My conclusion: listen to your mom and ignore any comments or thoughts to the contrary. She is a wise lady; it's easy to see how you became the man you are -- a husband and father your wife and kids will always admire, respect and love with all their heart.

Kitty Antonik Wakfer said...

Kristen, you either did not read my initial essay and the ensuing dialogue carefully or you choose to disregard the fact that I was and am eager to support my nephew and any other current enforcer or active direct enforcement-supporter to become a former of those roles. I again stated it even more clearly in my comments to Stephan's question here for Zach regarding a possible soldier's strike. I have continued to respond to my nephew's emails to me. Another more recent email I sent him contained the following:
"As to your parenthetical remark ['(I’ve wondered why you still continue to write me)' ], my first and major reason for writing you was, as I have already explained, to communicate to you the reasons why I and Paul had not come to visit you and your family even though we go right by your home 4-6 times yearly. A major part of my reason for continuing after you responded (and even still now) was to attempt to show you what was wrong with your response and your lack of reasoning and to attempt to guide/jog you into analyzing what you were saying and "push" you to give reasons for it. Instead, the dialogue with you following my initial email mainly benefited me by providing a demonstration of faulty/poor thinking that a person would be better to correct in order to maximize hir own lifetime happiness and promote a society whose members have the most possible available actions (maximal freedom) and the least possible restrictions (maximal liberty) who interact on the basis of mutual self interest. http://selfsip.org/dialogues/misc/preferencing_at.html Had your responses been a demonstration of good thinking/reasoning, I would actually have been quite pleased to use them for that reason. Now however, I use them simply because they are a fact related to an active duty Air Force pilot with whom I have had moderate contact with the (otherwise) geographical possibility of more (and to whom I happen to be related) who is periodically engaged in direct active support of those initiating force on others and who consequently was the recipient of the email from me in the initial Social Preferencing essay."

So Kristen, I continue to support my nephew in the way I have stated above . I will not support by tolerating evil (the direct active support of the initiation of force on others) and pretending that it is not being done by someone I know, just because I happen to be related to him. Were Aaron to decide to resign his commission (the only way I know for him to absolutely avoid his periodic role of direct active support to enforcers) or simply refuse deployment to the Middle East or Afghanistan, I would assist him in anyway that I could that did not significantly reduce my lifetime happiness (or my husband Paul's) - my lifetime happiness comes first to me as anyone's should to hir (him/her). I would like nothing better in regard to my nephew than to have him remove himself from his current situation of actively supporting the doing of harm, increasing the possibility that he might directly initiate force himself on others (by way of an unplanned action on his part) or possibly being harmed himself. This is the kind of support I am recommending to others. Spending time writing Washington politicos to "stop the war" is a waste of time - the stopping can be done only by those who are holding the guns, manning the tanks, flying the planes, firing the missiles, etc, and those who fill the active support roles for those military actions. Each individual in those numerous roles can easily and quickly let it be known to hir friends and relatives "back home" that s/he is going to refuse to continue and then do just that. The family/friend supporters then widely disseminate that information to as many others as they possibly can as a protective mechanism for the ex-enforcer/ex-active force supporter against harm from the politicos and their remaining enforcers.

An entire military action (currently the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan) can be brought to a halt rather quickly once even a moderate number of the young men and women in the military come to realize that the Washington politicos are the equivalent of the emperor with no clothes (or maybe you like the analogy of the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain). The real power to wage a war or stop a war (though war has never actually been declared by Congress) is in the hands of the actual soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors. If these everyday people say NO and put down their weapons and cease initiating force or stop providing direct support to those doing the force, then all the orders/edicts/threats from Washington will be just so much hot air. This is what needs to be understood and acted upon by those in Iraq and Afghanistan and those "at home" wanting them to return.

Kristen, I can not tell from what you have written, if your husband, Rob, thinks that the initiation of force that he is a part of - either in direct performance or a support role - is in his best interest using widest view longest range reasoning. If he does but you have concluded that this activity of his in not in your best interest, then I do not understand how you could have great esteem for him - and love is the highest esteem possible. ("support[ing] him through thick and thin" is proper when the "thin" refers to something on which you both agree and are united on principles against other people or the rest of reality beyond human interactions.) If both you and Rob think the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are not in the best interest of you both (and others), then my suggestions above and elsewhere apply regarding the type of action best for him and you to take - his stopping and you both making the fact *and why* of his action known widely. (You would have my assistance in this for sure.) If however, both of you think that the initiating of force of which Rob is a part is correct (in the long range best interest of both of you) but you still want him home now, then you want to be able to "have your cake and eat it too". This last is a physical impossibility, though numerous people attempt it daily and consequently live varying degrees of fragmented compartmentalized unintegrated lives which can only diminish their ability to maximize their lifetime happiness.

BTW, I will be creating a new Dialogues page at http://selfsip.org/dialogues/misc/ for the messages exchange with Kristen since they have been quite good and I think others will benefit from seeing them.

**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...


If you want to write lonq-winded dissertations, go to grad school.

Kristen said...

Kitty, I really don't think you understand at all. Rob and I met in the service. We both joined when we supported the US and its actions(years ago, for me before sept 11), but neither of us support this war. Does that mean I should stop loving my husband( or holding him in the highest esteem as you've put it) because he is deployed? You must be crazy. And if doing whatever it takes to achieve total life happiness means he has to throw down his arms and spend the next few years in jail, then that doesn't sound like lifetime happiness to me. You may still communicate with Aaron via e-mail, but you won't see him. I don't have the option to see Rob so does that mean you would expect me to cease verbal/written communication to make my point? Its like witholding sex from a man to get your way. I'm not going to turn my back on my husband so he puts himself in jail so we can have this "lifetime happiness" you speak of, it just doesn't work that way. I can barely make it through this deployment, there's no way I make it through years of periodic visits. That isn't lifetime happiness. Yes I'm only thinking of the short term simply because no other military spouse is going to manipulate their husbands or wives into going to jail for years by witholding communication, so that this war will be over. We're all thinking of our lifetime happiness when we just wait it out. If I've misunderstood you, please feel free to correct me. And thank you for your polite and courteous posts.

telfair said...

Zach -- I'm a first-timer to your blog, and politics aside, I will return, because you're obviously a very sensitive and thoughtful man, a devoted husband and father. Whatever my opinions are on US administration, policy, and actions, I respect the job you're doing, as well as the urge you have to share your thoughts & experiences with us, the uninitiated.

Hurria said...

"Whatever my opinions are on US administration, policy, and actions, I respect the job you're doing..."

If you do not respect the U.S. administration's policy and actions in Iraq, then the above statement is devoid of logic. The job Zach and his colleagues are doing is to carry out by indescribably brutal force the policy and actions of the U.S. administration. Therefore, how can someone not respect the U.S. adminstrations policy and actions and at the same time respect the job of carrying them out by brutal force? Makes exactly zero sense.

Anonymous said...

I know you already know that there are others in your situation. I just want to commiserate with you and share our story. My husband left when our son was 3 months old, he'll be back when he is 2yrs and then some. We've only been married for 2 years, majority of our marriage will have been spent apart (but that's only until he comes back and we make up for it). We've worked through a lot of problems thanks to this crazy decision to switch from AF to Army (choices). All of this over the phone or on weekend leave. Here's how this Army wife (who is prior service) spends her time.

Wake up, get ready, get baby ready, go to work, change my countdown (345 now), get baby from daycare, play, eat, clean, play, bathe baby, baby bedtime, think, cry, write, pray, try to sleep.

I tried spraying his cologne, but it just leaves the room smelling like he was just here. I piled all his clothes everywhere, his toothbrush is still on the sink... no consolation. I am miserable, but I wait. Why? Because there is honestly no other man who could ever possibly come close to what he means to me, regardless of problems we've had. I crave closeness, but not just from anyone. I crave affection, but not just from anyone. I crave him.

You live because you have to. You wait because you need to. And you pray because there's nothing else you can do. I know this was long, but at least I didn't get all crazy political, right? ;)

Time flies, you'll be home before you know it :) You'll be in my thoughts.


Maricel said...

I love your blogs. This one really touched me. I'm sorry, Zack... but I am sure your children are and will be very proud of their daddy as is your wife. Your wife sounds like a wonderful and strong woman. Hang in there, soldier...