US Soldier: Dead heroes canít pay the bills! Stop killing us
US Soldier: Dead heroes can't pay the bills! Stop killing us and then waving the flag! It's sick and disgusting
Interview with an U.S. soldier
Interview by Jay Shaft- Coalition For Free Thought In Media
Released on 5/29/05
IMPORTANT NOTE: CERTAIN FACTS AND DETAILS HAVE BEEN CHANGED IN THIS INTERVIEW TO PROTECT THE IDENTITY OF THIS SOLDIER. The soldier asked to be interviewed anonymously, and I do not know his name or any facts that can lead back to him. He was directed to me by a member of Military Families Speak Out. I am dedicated to protecting him from military reprisals and harassment, and I have taken every precaution to keep his identity hidden.
This interview was conducted in January 2005, but the soldier asked me not to release it for several months after he was deployed. He contacted me earlier this month from Iraq and asked me why I had not put it yet. I felt that it needed to be released over the Memorial Day weekend. This interview and the initial fact finding interview he refers to were conducted by phone, with a member of a peace group and one member of MFSO being present during the interview.
The soldier that I spoke too in this interview was about to deploy for the second time to Iraq. He has already completed one tour and only been home for about five months. He wouldn't say exactly how long he had been home. The person who set up this interview has confirmed that it was less than six months. This soldier was extremely angry and scared about having to go back to Iraq. I also have a letter from him that he sent from Iraq two weeks ago. I will release it in the next week after I have removed certain things that might identify him or get him in trouble.
An article was published by the Fresno Bee that give some very graphic details of how hard it is for soldiers to adjust after coming home form Iraq. It is really an important piece that tells a story very similar to what this soldier talks about.
Battle Scars: Upon returning home, soldiers face the daunting task of forgetting the images of war in Iraq while reconnecting with the families they left behind. http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/10582158p-11371543c.html
This soldier has asked to be called Sergeant Nobody when I published the interview, so I have done so. Here is his story and his message that he asked me to deliver to the American people.
JS- Okay, let's get this out of the way real quick. Why aren't you willing to go on record with this? Why won't you give your name? Out of everyone I have talked to that is going back to Iraq only one was even remotely considering going on record, and he changed his mind overnight and decided not to.
SN- Oh f..k that! Are you crazy? How can you even ask me that? You want me to hang up before we even start this?
JS- I'm just asking the question everyone will want to know. I'm going to be taking a lot of heat on this for not releasing your name, so I want to get it real clear about why you are not willing to go on record.
SN- Okay, I can understand that. I have seen the shit that flew around when some anonymous interviews came out in the past. I have had my doubts that soldiers were actually talking to anyone, but I guess I need to change my mind on that, I am talking now too. I am going to say stuff that will get me in so much sh.t that I may as well just shoot myself if they find me.
JS- So you are afraid of what the military will do if they find out you talked?
SN- Look it's just too dangerous with me shipping out and all. I have a family to think about and I have to watch my back. The higher ups have a real nasty way of making it really hard for anyone that bucks the system.
JS- So you think they would make it hell for you if they found out?
SN- Oh, hell yeah! No telling what would happen, but it would be ugly and they would make an example out of me for all the rest of the troops. Trust me, I would have hard duty in the worst place in Iraq they could find. They'd find a way to send me to Fallujah or Sadr City or some other hellhole with insurgents and a good chance of getting killed. Let's just call me Sergeant Nobody, because I ain't nobody that needs to get any sh.t from the intel a..holes.
Anyway let's get down to it. Quick time man, I want to get this done.
JS- All right. What's making you do this?
SN- Damn it I don't have all day! We went over that already when you talked to me before. Ask me some quick questions and get it done son. I ain't got much time because I got to ship out the day after tomorrow.
JS- Okay, let's get into details. This is the second time you are going to Iraq as a Reservist, correct?
SN- Right, I am in a unit that is going for the second time. I am not in a normal Reserve unit, and there is no way in hell I'm giving you enough to track it down. The first time our whole unit did not go, most of us did, but now the whole unit and then some is going over. I came back thinking I was all done and the motherfu..ers pulled a switch up on me. They called me up again! How the f..k can they keep doing this to all of us old men when they have all these young buck active duty troops stateside that aren't going?
It just burns my ass when I think about it!
Most of the guys in my unit are over 30 or 35 and we're all pretty beat up. We all did a tour, or at least a good part of us did. F..k that sh.t! We will deploy with another unit that has some younger guys, but ours has mostly people that did active duty first. We should be sitting at home watching our kids grow up, not leaving them so we can go off and die. Hey this is a real f..ked up fact, ya know some of us have grandkids? Yeah, grandkids, what the hell are we doing going off to fight some god forsaken, piece of sh.t war so they can get rich?
JS- What are they sending you back for? What type of duty or job will you be doing?
SN- The same sh.t everyone else is doing over there. Mostly trying to stay alive and hoping you get to go home in one piece. They make you do security or combat patrol, ya know, military police stuff, they call it security but it's the easiest way to die that they can think of. If you get really unlucky you get to go out on patrol and look for the I.E.D.s (improvised explosive devices- homemade bombs left by the roadside and exploded when a convoy or patrol passes by) and the bombs. That's some really hairy sh.t and it's killing a lot of guys who don't know what they're doing.
I've seen dudes get their sh.t blown apart, but man they live, that's what really sucks. They're laying there screaming and trying to find their leg or arm, and it's not there. You got to hold them down and try to stop the bleeding, ya know, keep 'em alive till the medic get's to 'em.
JS- Wow, that sounds rough. Did that happen a lot when you were there? Did you have to deal with that often?
SN- F..k man, way more times then you would believe. So many soldiers are getting blown up it's not even believable when I tell my friends about it. They just look at me like I'm crazy and tell me it couldn't have been that bad. F..k that, it was hell on earth! Someone who hasn't been there just don't get it! They can't understand at all.
Ya know it's bad to say it but some of them I've seen would be better off dead. It's bad to say but it's the truth. I looked at some of the guys getting evaced and ya just knew they had brain damage or that they were in for major surgery and rehab, they wouldn't ever be right again. They came to Iraq with two legs and arms, and left all f..ked up, for life, it ain't gonna get better for them. What a f..king waste it just makes me sick to think about it.
(At this point he broke down and cried. I have had almost every soldier I interviewed cry or break down at some point in the interview. Most of them have shown obvious signs of PTSD and other mental effects of being in Iraq.)
JS- I've heard some guys say that before, but not in that kind of graphic detail. I don't want to dig to deep and offend you, but if you can go into it would you tell me some more about the deaths and injuries you've seen? I think people need to hear about this because it's going on everyday.
SN- No man, I don't mind, it's something I should get out in the open. If I get to emotional I'm gonna stop though. I ain't really over any of it; I wake up screaming at night, so I'll tell when I've had enough.
It happens all the time to really good men and women, and it f..king sucks! The military hospitals are full of wounded soldiers and you never see it on the news. The graveyards are full of our dead soldiers, and they keep digging more graves everyday. F..k that! At least one new grave a day? How the hell can the people stand for it?
(Yelling) HOW THE HELL CAN THEY LET THIS HAPPEN? HOW CAN THEY JUST TAKE IT SO NICELY, AND TURN OUT IN THEIR SUITS WITH THEIR FLAGS AND WATCH US GET BURIED? HOW THE F..K CAN THEY BE SO BLIND AND DUMB? WHERE'S THE F..KING OUTRAGE, HUH?
JS- How many soldiers did you see that got wounded or killed?
SN- (Yelling) TOO FUCKING MANY, WAY TOO MANY!
F..k man, this really hurts, I didn't think it would be this bad. Never mind what I said about doing this quick. I just changed my mind about that. I need some time to get this off my chest, hell you may be the last one to hear me say this if I die over there. F..k going quick, let's take some time here if you want to really go into this. You got the time to hear about it?
JS- Yeah, that's what I'm here for. If it gets to be too much for you we can always stop.
SN- No, let's just get through it, because if I stop in the middle I won't want to keep going after that.
Aw sh.t this is awful, f..k I'm going back and I might die or get blown to sh.t. I know I'm gonna see some of my buddies get killed or blown up real bad. Why the f..k do they keep sending us over there to die? What the f..k are we really doing there?
I'll tell you wható NOT A F..KING THING! A COMPLETE NOTHING, A FAILURE AND A COMPLETE F..KUP! ALL WE KEEP DOING IS RUNNING AROUND FIGHTING AND DYING, NO GLORY, NO HEROES! THERE'S NOT A DAMN THING I COULD EVER BE PROUD OF! F..K THIS SORRY WAR AND F..K EVERYONE WHO KEEPS SUPPORTING IT! WE'RE GETTING KILLED BUT THEY ARE THE ONES CHEERING AND WAVING THE FLAG!
JS- Wow, you're really mad about that. So you think that the US has not accomplished anything in Iraq? Not a thing?
SN- That's what I just f..king said! Quit playin' with me! You heard me, leave it be because I've said it as clear as I could. NO! WE AIN'T DONE A F..KING THING THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE!
JS- Okay, sorry, I wasn't trying to make you mad. Let's get back to the situation with the wounded and the dead if you don't mind. Bush and the current administration have made an effort to hide the images of the returning coffins. They have also tried to minimize the coverage of the wounded soldiers, which much of the media has also been complicit with, or at least hesitant to cover.
SN- Yeah? Well f..k the media! They keep trying to get all the people to wave the flag and celebrate the big victory we won in Iraq! Man, they never show the real sh.t on TV. Oh, hell no! That might disturb the patriotic American people, God forbid they see some blood or real action that's going on. We wouldn't want someone to see a dead soldier on TV, my God they might start thinking we're getting our asses kicked or that the sh.t is all a bunch of f..king lies.
The f..king media is helping these people keep their heads firmly buried up their asses! What a motherf..king big scam, the f..king media is just showing all this great stuff we're doing for the Iraqi's, how much they all love us and want us there. Those people hate us, especially after two years, man do they hate us.
God.mn media is just a joke, how many times have you seen a dead soldier on TV? How many times? Have you ever seen a wounded soldier or the American bodies laying in the street or being evaced? You know I don't think I've seen one dust off on American TV. I don't watch a lot but I do see it on some of the foreign channels, like B.B.C. I watched B.B.C a lot when I first came home, but I can't take it anymore.
(Screaming and becoming practically incoherent)- I'll tell what we've really done over there! Die! Get our f..king asses blown the f.ck up and leave body parts all over Iraq!
All we've done is die and spill our blood! We are supposed to be helping the Iraqis and rebuild that sh.thole? We are supposed to be rebuilding a war torn country, which by the way we created the system, no, no, not one thing is really going on but us dying!
(At this point he got so upset that I had to stop the interview for about 30 minutes.)
JS- Okay, that was pretty intense, are you ready to keep going?
SN- Yeah, I'm ready to go again, what the f..k. I'm pretty f..king burnt so lets kinda wrap this sh.t up. I got to say some sh.t about all the people that are waving the flag and cheering for the war. Listen up you sorry bastards. This is from a soldier who put his ass on the line, so you better listen to me.
All you dumb f..ks that support the war and wave the flag need to pull your heads out of your asses and smell the bullsh.t your living in! You have had your heads up your asses for so long you can't tell the difference between your own sh.t and Bush's sh.t. You can't smell the government's bullsh.t even though it's right in your face.
You know something? They'll be the first ones to call me a traitor or unpatriotic! Fuck that! I'm an American soldier, I was in a war and I'm going back! Screw them, what did they ever do but watch the war on TV. They come out to the funerals and wave the flag, put those godd.mn f..king "Support Our Troops" ribbons on their cars, yeah that's real support! That is how we're gonna win the war, oh yeah, that will save us from getting our asses blown off.
Yeah, we are running around helping a lot of people, we are doing that. I saw a lot of soldiers doing the godd..ned best to try to help the Iraqi people, but all the attacks and bombs, you just get sick of the whole country. You get so angry when you go through a village and they shoot at you or set off a bomb. Right after you bring them some food, or help them they attack you. It makes no sense sometimes, it's so f..king stupid.
JS- How hard was it to see your friends and people in your unit getting injured and killed?
SN- Seeing one of your friends lying on the ground seriously hurt, bleeding, screaming in pain, or not moving and dead, that's when you know it's real. You realize this isn't some exercise or peace keeping mission, you know it's not a war game or a drill. You think oh man this is real sh.t, this is my buddy on the ground lying there dead with his head blown off. You think, oh my God, I know his wife, he's got kids. What do I tell his wife and kids, what do I say, how is she gonna make it without him?
Jesus, that's some hairy stuff when you see it for the first time. It's what makes you wake up screaming in the middle of the night, what keeps you up for days without sleep. I still can't get a full nights rest, I keep seeing all the guys dying in my head, I can't get it to go away. I'd do anything for a good nights sleep.
JS- So it's safe to say you have some pretty bad post traumatic stress and nightmares that are a result of all the deaths and battle you've seen?
SN- Nightmares? Son, nightmares would be a blessing. I have flashbacks even when I'm awake. If I hear a loud noise I hit the deck and cover my ass. I look for cover when I walk down the street, and I always check the rooftops when I get around tall buildings. I am scared to drive in heavy traffic because I think there's an ambush coming. I hate people getting right up on my bumper or trying to speed around me to pass. I just react like they are going to attack me, that's how the car bombers used to hit the patrols
I keep trying to drive around cars that are stopped because they used to hit us from the parked cars. I can't see cars stopped at a light without trying to go for my rifle. I keep forgetting I don't have it with me; I keep trying to aim at sh.t. It's so bad I'll drop down in a shooters crouch walking down the street, man I scare the shit out of my neighbors.
Yeah I'm really f..ked up and it ain't getting any better. At least when I go back to Iraq I'll have my weapon and lots of ammo. Oh man, I think this sh.t f..ked me up for good.
JS- What would you like to say to the American people? You said the other day that you really had some harsh things you'd like to get out, so what are they?
SN- Oh sh.t, I'm afraid if I start I'll never stop. One thing I really have to say is that there are some good things we are doing in Iraq. I just had a bad time when I was there, but you know maybe what I just said was a little too harsh and negative. I did get to see a lot of Iraqis that were glad we were there. We got to take food to some of the kids and the hungry people. Boy they sure did love us then, but like I said, it just wasn't working to stop the attacks on our guys.
You know the news and all the people keep calling us heroes. Dead heroes can't pay the bills! Stop killing us and then waving the flag! It's sick and disgusting! That's not patriotism, on f..king way, it's just trying to hide the truth and the losses of our soldiers. Good soldiers are dying right now and they just keep sending more. They couldn't care less, they give us big send off ceremonies, wave the flags, cheer us like we were doing a great thing. Dying or getting injured is not great, it just takes our soldiers and uses them like spare parts.
People here in the US are cheering when Bush talks about the fallen heroes in his speeches. That's sick, it's just f..king sick! They just don't understand what we are going through over there. There are over 1200 soldiers dead and at least 10,000 wounded. That is sick when they start cheering during one of the rallies or speeches.
All I'll get if I die is a polished box, a folded flag, and a six-foot deep castle to retire in! I don't want a hero's funeral; I don't want to be a dead hero or any kind of hero. They may as well just kill some of these guys right there in the recruiting office, because they are already dead when they cut their orders.
Here this should tell you how some guys are dealing with it. I have a letter in my pocket I carried in Iraq that is addressed to Bush and Rumsfeld. If I die I have told my wife to send it to them. It says "Dear Georgy and Donny, I was already dead when you sent me over here; I just hadn't laid down yet. Please don't call me a hero or use me to celebrate your war. You killed me when you invaded Iraq. It just took a year for it to catch up to me. You fired the bullet that killed me when the Army cut my orders. You blew up the bomb that took my life when you sent all of us Reservists over here without the right training. I hope the American people wake up a get rid of your sorry asses." I signed it A Murdered Father, how's that for slappin' them in the face, huh?
JS- You carry that in your pocket in combat?
SN- Yeah, I carried from my third month in Iraq. If I had been killed I sure as hell someone would have mailed it to them. They probably wouldn't have given a shit, but I would have had the last word.
JS- Alright, well I want to wrap this up if you don't have anything else to say.
SN- I got a few more things to say, and then I'm done. I had a thought one night when our patrol got ambushed and we took some casualties. One of my best friends got his arm blown off and died on the way to the field hospital. I sat back and really had a f..ked up thought.
How do you rally around the flag when the enemy is yourself? You understand what I'm saying? I just had that thought out of nowhere. It's like when you know your own country's policies and f..kups have killed more of your friends then any insurgents, that's when you sit down and cry . You wipe the tears away with the flag your supposedly defending and then you just go numb. You have to go numb to survive.
Now I have to go back and see more good soldiers die and get blown up. It's not right, but what can I do? I might not be coming back and if I do I won't ever be the same. I'm already fucked up in the head as it is, and I won't get any better going back there.
The rage is overwhelming, and you either smash it down deep. Or else you dwell on it till it kills you or some of your own people. You can't afford to think about it, or it eats you alive. Later on when you get back home you pull it back up out of that hole you dug inside yourself. That's why I get so screaming mad, because I have the time to think about it now.
There is no glory in this war; there is only tragedy and death. We're paying the price of this with our blood and sanity; we are losing our lives, not the people at home. Think about that the next time you cheer for the war. Remember that the next time you call us heroes, and wave your flag proudly and put all your stickers on your car or truck.
When we talked before I told you I visited some of my guys in the hospital. That was such a sad scene, man there were so many wounded soldiers in that hospital. It made my stomach turn; I had to go outside cause I didn't want anyone to see me crying. That could have been me, and it might end up being me if my lick runs out. I might be the one that is laying there with my sh.t blown off or paralyzed, blind, burned, man there are just so many ways our guys have been hurt.
I am going to end this now. I can't take no more. One thing though. Every American should have to spend one day in a military hospital and look at all the wounded soldiers. They should have to listen to their screams of pain, smell the burned flesh of the guys that I saw. Maybe they wouldn't be so proud of Bush and they would want this sh.t to stop.
Just do that, take a day and go to the hospital and take a look. I know they won't do it, but they would never forget it if they did.
JS- Okay, I want to thank you for doing this. Be safe and come home. I don't know what else to say to you but stay safe and I hope that people will be thinking about you and the rest of the troops.
SN- I hope someone is, that's for sure. Just wish me luck, and tell everyone what I said.
JS- Alright, good luck and please come back home.
SN- Yeah, let's hope for the best. Bye, see ya on the other side.
Jay Shaft is a freelance writer and the editor for an independent news group Coalition for Free Thought In Media http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFTMGroup. He has covered numerous issues, including homelessness and poverty, human rights, the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium, civilian and military deaths in the ongoing US-led wars and occupations, and civil liberties and freedom.
Jay has conducted many interviews with soldiers who have served in Iraq, in which service members exposed the issues of the military's failure to provide proper equipment and training to US troops, and he has been on the forefront of investigating the price that soldiers are paying as a result.
Jay has also published many letters from parents speaking out against the deaths of their children serving in Iraq.
C.F.T.M.'s public message boards can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFTMGroup
Contact Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org
SEE: A US Soldier Writes From Iraq
Letter From A Soldier's Mother: Soldier's Are Not Combat Ready!
For Families of Some Killed in Iraq: Grief, Outrage and Protest
Celeste Zappala Interview "The pain of my son's death does not get any better, it just gets worse as time goes on."
Sue Niederer Interview- President Bush, You Killed My Son!
8/29 RNC/NYC Anti-War Protest Interview With Sue Niederer
US Soldiers to America: Bring Us Home Now (Part 5 linked to other 4 parts in series)
Repost from Seattle Indy Media http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2005/06/246394.shtml
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