Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Soldier's Letters

October 8th, 2004 12:54 PM

"Every dreadful night I spent out in Iraq, I dealt with mortars flying over head..."

From: [e-mail address omitted]

Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 12:30 PM

Subject: What is a Military Member to do???


Days come and go, and with each one passing I wonder why I did what I did.  I continue wonder what I was thinking when I signed that piece of paper and walked onto that bus heading towards Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  It seems (to the best of my knowledge) that I have pretty much put myself in a hole with only one way out, finishing my 4-year term of a nightmarish hell.  The life of a military member can be summed up into one line that was continuously shoved into our heads during Basic Training: "The quickest way out is Graduation."  It refers to people wanting out of the basic training because of the bullshit and mind games they play on each person.  Then people are not able to handle it.  If is was too much for you to handle, you only had a few options (and they weren't necessarily good ones, either).

1. Act like you are crazy or feign an illness.  This way you could be sent to the so called 'Sick Squadron'.  Here they would keep you in Basic Training type living arrangements, and you would still be under the scrutiny of being a basic trainee (at least to some degree).  The rub?  The rub is that it takes longer to diagnose, verify a cause for discharge, and finalize your separation than you would have put into just sticking it out and finishing basic training. 

2. Another option you have is to slip out at night and go AWOL.  This in and of itself is not easy to do based on the fact that you have a door guard at the only exit from where you are.  Cameras where everywhere.  If you managed to slip out and actually go AWOL you would have to be running from the government for the rest of your life.  That blows option numero due off of the 'rational thinking' list.

3.  Your final option was to take the shit that was handed to you, swallow your pride, and graduate.  Then you could get the hell out of dodge and head on to the lovely Technical School Training.  Even here they had you on lock down like you were in a prison.

This can be used to basically describe my everyday life in the military.  A person signs up to join the Armed Forces to protect every Americans rights.  What do we get in return?  We get Uncle Sam taking a lot of our own personal rights away.  Military members cannot say anything bad about our president.  Can we vote?  Of course, we can vote, but you have to remember "He is our Commander in Chief and he is YOUR BOSS!"  Being a military member you apparently (no one informed me when I signed on the dotted line) have given up your right to speak and or join a political convention.  Can you believe this!?  I am stuck working for a man I cannot trust, and I can't say anything about it.  I recently got into a debate about Bush and you, Michael Moore, being a Nazi while at work.  That ended abruptly with the average response, "Bush is our Commander in Chief and he is our boss." I quickly retorted, "What are you?  Are you some sort of mindless drone that will do whatever Bush says!?"  Unfortunately, the answer to that was "Yes."  Who admits to being a mindless drone that cannot think for themselves???  Another freedom you must give up when joining is when you leave your job, you have left your job.  You have given your live to be 'on-call' 24/7 (insert appropriate Bush quote here).  People hear 'on-call'  and they think that it means that when we are called to war we go without a problem.  They see it as a once in a while thing.  What about when they call you in the middle of the night to work on something rather minute?  What about taking us away from our families when THEY need us more?  This brings me to my next rant.

Everyone is so very 'proud' and 'supportive' and 'sympathetic' to the troops being sent out to war.  Well as much as that is appreciated, no one of them should say that they can 'feel' our pain, or that they 'understand' what we sacrifice.  They hear part of what we give up in the name of Freedom.  They don't feel the sacrifice.  They aren't there when you are finished working a 12 hour day, then you have to go home and tell your wife, or your kids that Daddy has to go away for awhile to a very bad place that he may not come back from.  They don't see the pain in loved ones faces.  They aren't out there dodging bullets, praying that they make it home (and if they do make it, that they make it in one piece).  They have no idea how it feels to have a mortar land near you and when you feel the need to call your wife and tell her how much you love her and you miss her, you can't.  When you do get your few and precious calls they give you 15 minutes a week.  The lines are always busy dialing out, so if you spend 13 minutes just trying to get through to your loved ones, you still only have 2 minutes left.  When I joined the military I was fed up with trying to go to attend college at the time.  I was tired of paying for college classes and not getting any credits out of it because I was too busy being a kid.  I was tired of working dead-end jobs at Starbucks, H.E.B. Grocery, Texas Land and Cattle Co., Tomlinson's Pet Store, Dell Computers Assembly line, etc, etc.  You name it, I did it.  I decided that joining the military would give me a change of view, a bit of traveling and would hand me my education when I was ready for it.  My grandfather was a retired Technical Sergeant in the Air Force, my father gave two years of his life to the Air ForceSo hell, I figured I could do this too .  I have traveled a bit and I have seen such wonderful places as Biloxi, Mississippi, and San Antonio, Texas (Not far from my hometown of Austin), Northern Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and the oh-so-lovely IRAQ.  Iraq truly is stunning this time of year!!!  Yeah, whatever.

In an effort to make this long story short, I will cut to the chase.  I regret enlisting in the military.  I want nothing else but to take what I have learned, and earned, and move on my merry little way with my family.  I am stuck with the fear of being re-deployed out to Iraq, or Afghanistan at any moment because I am stationed at a "forward-deployed" base in Italy.  The fear isn't even of going to war.  The fear is about going to war, with the possibility of dying, or becoming grossly wounded, and for what?  So Bushy can take another vacation while the military is hard at work 'ensuring peace' and fighting the war on terrorism or perhaps make him a little bit more money!?  I am furious!  Mark Wahlburg had a hell of a line in "Three Kings."  He said something along the lines of "If I get shot after the war was over, that would be pretty damn stupid, don't you think?"  You can modify that to fit what I am saying, "If I get severely injured in a war that should not have started, that would be pretty stupid, don't you think?"

When I enlisted I knew that there was a possibility of me going to war.  I told myself that I was ready to do that and give my life if it meant that I was preserving the freedoms and liberties that my friends and family were accustomed to enjoying.  I was okay with the fact I might die, even if it was only to allow the Republicans-in-Name-Only (RINOs) to yell and shout because they think the left is taking their money.  Because that is what freedom is, it is that privilege to hoot and holler without the fear of repercussions, without fear of being attacked on American Soil.  We fight for peoples right to say that we shouldn't be fighting (usually).                                                                               

Every dreadful night I spent out in Iraq, I dealt with mortars flying over head, rockets whizzing by the tents, bullets falling from the sky and landing at your feet, which would have been your head if you had not been going just a little faster.  At one point, I had a mortar land less than 100 yards from me, and I didn't know if was going to make it home to my new bride of 2 months (both of which where spent a world away).  Not one of those nights, not even the few nights I thought that I might my maker, not once did I feel like I was risking everything/supporting a good cause.  I was not willing to give my life for that.  I was not ready to give Old Glory all I had because I believe that the USA shouldn't have even been out there in the first place.  I am desperately searching to find a way out and I desperately want to ensure Bushy is run out of o ffice.  God knows where I will be next year if he continues to run amok like he has been.  Please help me find a way, Mike.

I was just following in my parents footsteps of 'being' Republican until you inspired me to do my own research and find out what was really going on.  Overseas, the military is so kind as to provide us with 8 channels of Satellite TV, all of which are composed of "Free Shows"  that America watches and are "passed onto us."  They play things like 'The Tonight Show with David Letterman' but cut out his skits on Bushisms.  The Satellite always conveniently loses signal when something bad about Bush is coming on.  It is so very obvious that we are subjected to a bias and only given programs that support Bush.  We are subjected to programs that point out his "Good Traits."  They published a 'Stars and Stripes' which is an Air Force wide newspaper.  They advertised "Go get your stars and stripes on the 17th for YOUR election guide.  We have all the latest on each party's campaign."  Well the Voting Guide had one article about Kerry slandering Bush written by a military reporter, then a small graph breaking down Kerry-Bush differences.  Then the rest of it was telling us about the Electoral College and military members saying how they feel about the candidates.  Hell, I doubt that I will even get to see F9/11 until it comes out on DVD and I buy in online from some DVD retailer, then, wait another month for it to get overseas and land in my mailbox.  We have no way of really knowing what is going on unless we are constantly on the web finding out what is happening in current events and then trying to decipher if the reports are legit or not.  So thank you for opening up my eyes, especially since it affects me so much.


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