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war is real

unconcerned, uncompromised and unconvoluted letters from a soldier getting ready to face war for the second time. 

Friday, October 21, 2005

8:52 PM -

i have cq. cq sucks.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

9:01 PM -

the range went well, i guess. usually i judge these types of things by whether or not someone has a weapon blow up in their face, so by that account it was a success. that actually happened a few months ago at a range -- there was a batch of bad 50cal ammunition, and it blew up one of the weapons mounted on a up-armored humvee. several were hurt, but nothing was life threatening.

tomorrow is a day full of classes, and friday is supposed to be an off day, so i'll try to write more tomorrow.

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4:52 AM - sleep

i'm getting ready to leave to cover an m4 range. sleep did not go very well last night, and i'm thinking about taking ambien sporadically to get some sleep when i need it the most. last night would be a perfect example of one of those times i need it the most, because i need to be alert today with all the live fire going on, and i'm just not.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

8:56 PM - okay, i give up

this is why i took zoloft, because it helps me let shit slide off of me. things don't bother me as much when i'm medicated, and life is better. of course, it's all fake, which is why i'm choosing to sit here and write about what's going on instead of taking my meds and sleeping the misery away.

so last time i was in iraq i kept this blog. we won't name it, because that would be foolish of me. anyway, the blog got some attention, good attention, but it also got the wrong kinds of attention. i went through some very arduous meetings with people who normally would have gone through their entire army careers without ever knowing my name or coming into personal contact with me. you know the type, and i don't have to tell you what i mean. enlisted don't mix with officers. they're better than us, they get paid more than us, and therefore they must be smarter than us. which is why all those meetings happened, because these people were wondering why i could write the way i could, and why, if i have a college degree, was i enlisted?

well, it was none of their fucking business to begin with, so let's get that out of the way.

so i had these meetings, meetings where they told me what i could and couldn't say anymore. nevermind the fact that the press i recieved was good press and it cast our unit in an extreme positive light. i wanted to highlight some of the good we'd done over there in spite of the things i'd seen, because i knew the army would get me help eventually and i was tired of reading stupid ass reporters and stupid ass bloggers who commented on the war without ever getting their fat asses up and actually trying to make a difference in our country. it's easy enough to sit back behind a computer screen when you're hunkered down in decatur, isn't it, but it's a lot fucking harder to walk down to your recruiting station and actually try to make a change. not that i'm recommending that to anyone.

so these meetings ended. i ended up having to run my stuff through a censor, who would highlight shit i had to take out. i grew tired of this and stopped posting. it got old, and i was tired of meetings.

so iraq ended. i came home, sought counseling and got medicated, and things were fine. i started writing this blog because i needed some form of therapy that the army wasn't giving me and still isn't giving me. life moved on, we got a new chain of command, and things were looking up. i'm up for promotion, etc. you get the drill.

so today i find out that they're contemplating opsec violation charges against me for my OLD blog. nevermind the fact that these motherfuckers were NOT HERE when it occurred; none of the people in my current chain of command, or COC, were here when all those meetings went down the last time. so what fucking right, if you don't mind me asking, do they have to bring shit like that up? they don't. they have no fucking right. they can't give me a counseling statement, they can't do shit, and i'm going to JAG tomorrow and raising hell. i am tired of having my rights impeded on just because the army is old fashioned and refuses to change because they can't see the forest for the trees.

i'm done. bedtime.

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7:35 PM - shit

Okay, I love this. I realize it's not really a design and looks like ass, but there's something about it that I connect with, especially given that my chain of command is royally trying to fuck me over for the blog I kept in Iraq LAST TIME. This was almost two FUCKING YEARS AGO and the new people in charge are trying to bring me up on opsec violation charges. well you know what, fuck that, and fuck them too, because i'm writing here, and my bile has barely begun to spew forth.

more later. i need to drink beer right now. i also need to watch anchorman, because that always makes me feel better.

seriously, though -- i'll get on here on thursday and tell you what's going on. right now, i'm too pissed off to write about it, and i guess i want a clear head before i say what i'm going to say. i've got a range tomorrow, so i probably won't write, but thursday....thursday is fair game.

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2:30 PM - Comments

MauserGirl dropped me an email to let me know that commenting on my site wasn't working. I couldn't figure it out, so I just changed the template. I'm not much for graphics and stuff, but I'll try to throw something better-looking together tonight.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

11:04 PM -

It's another one of those sleepless nights. The Ambien is sitting right over there on the counter, and all I have to do is get out of my bed, walk over to the sink, put a few of those suckers down my throat, swallow some water, and sleep will come. Sleep will come fast and it will come deeply.

I really want to take it. I need to. I probably should. But I know the downward spiral that will soon follow that night of great sleep, and I don't feel like going through it again.

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8:35 PM - Reading

Just finished reading Just Another Soldier. It's a great read, as I expected it would be, although I still prefer Colby's book overall. Jason is a great writer and just Colby, you really get a feel for the experiences we go through over there. I liked My War simply because it was dirty and real, which is what the memories I have from there are like. My memories aren't full of good and noble peacekeeping missions, they're full of blood and guts and friends dying from mortar attacks. I can actually say that I probably don't remember 30% of our time over there thanks to the medications they put me on when I got home, which I guess was the intended result.

I'm somewhat selective on what blogs I read on a daily basis, but Mauser Girl has won herself a spot in my Daily Reads bookmarks just by being an excellent writer. I only wish she had an RSS feed so I could subscribe to her; I've only just recently discovered the RSS thing and it's been an incredible timesaver for me because I'm able to just scan through the stuff I like and ignore the shit I don't like.

I'm going back to my weekend.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

10:55 PM - About The Picture...

A few people have written to me after recognizing the guy standing in the road on the picture up top. Most of you musical buffs will realize that this is a cropped image from the cover of Abbey Road by The Beatles. Instead of trying to write the same reply to hundreds of different people, I thought I'd go ahead and tell you why I selected that picture and why it's cropped the way it is.

That guy standing in the background? He's in one of the most famous record covers in the world, and the most famous band in the world is walking down the street right by him. To me, that's my life in a nutshell. I stay in the background of things and let others take the forefront, mostly because I despise glorifying yourself for defending your country. I know I'm fucked up in the head and so is 80 percent of the people around me, but that's one small price to pay for the liberties we're able to share in.

So yeah. That's me. The guy in the background while all the famous stuff is going on all around him.

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7:41 AM - Common Sense

Will somebody help me understand why they can't give us time to spend with our families, even though we're scheduled to deploy in one month and won't get to see them for at least eight months? Why in the blue fucking hell would you schedule stuff on the weekends when all we do during the regular work week is sit around and do nothing? I know "hurry up and wait" is part of the Army and all, but it would seem to be a good idea to actually schedule work, you know, DURING THE WORK WEEK so that we can have time off on the weekends to be with our families and loved ones.

Maybe that makes too much sense. I know the Army doesn't like it when you use common sense, so that must be it.

I had a pretty rough dream last night. It was war-related, of course. We were in Iraq and the war was going on and we were all using M4's, but outside of that all the weaponry was medieval. I'm talking castles, cannons, horses, spears and M4's. Everyone died, of course, but at least there was some fucking variety in the dream and it wasn't just mortars raining down from above. I guess cannonballs are just as bad.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

4:50 PM - Emails

I got an email from B. Abell Jurus, who co-wrote one of my favorite war novels of all time, Men In Green Faces. It's crazy to think that this little page is reaching so many people, including those who I have long admired for the writing they do.

To answer a question that gets posed quite often: yes, it's hard as hell to stay off the medication. The Zoloft was no problem; I was angry as hell and pissed at the world for the first few weeks, but after that everything seems a slight shade of normal. The Ambien, however, is a different story. I think you're only supposed to be prescribed Ambien for a total of 30 days, and I had been on it a YEAR when I stopped taking it. And they would have gladly continued to prescribe it to me so long as I kept showing up for formations and doing my job. It's highly fucking addictive, and I still have withdrawals around 2100 on some nights. The toughest part are the nights where I know I'm not going to be able to sleep, because then I want to take the Ambien and be done with it, but I refuse to let myself do it. It'd be too easy to get back in a cycle of medicating myself so that the pain goes away, but that seems like the easy way out, and I hate the easy way out.

Which is another reason I'm keeping my blog anonymous. I actually tried talking with my commander about registering this thing under my real name, but the chain of command flipped out on me, told me I couldn't do it and I wasn't allowed to do it, and I told them that yes, actually I was, and they told me I wouldn't do it this time. I said that it was a form of therapy, and they told me I could only write my entries and then save them on my computer, but couldn't publish them.

Well, fuck that.

I'm going to keep writing until my fucking fingers bleed, because God knows the Army doesn't give two shits whether you are suffering from any kind of PTSD or not. They just want you back on the battlefield and it doesn't matter what condition you're in. I mean, I don't mind going back, because anyone will tell you that being deployed is better than suffering through the bullshit in garrison, but give us SOMETHING, anything to hold on to that can help us through it instead of turning a blind eye and telling everyone to "man up". In my experience, being a man has nothing to do with dealing with traumatic experiences in a way where no one else knows that you're hurting inside. Shit, I've got problems, and I'll fucking TELL you I have problems. Does that make me any less of a man?

I love my job. I actually love working with soldiers. But the shit that people pull because "that's how it's always been" is grating on me.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

7:42 PM - I'll Keep Posting

So I think I'm going to keep on writing. I miss the therapy that comes with writing my thoughts down on paper, and I kinda miss the interaction that comes when people actually read this thing and give me their own thoughts.

A quick updated on what I've been up to:

- I've been off Zoloft and Ambien for two months and I wish I could say that life was all peachy but the reality of the situation is that life is pretty hard without the drugs. I'm determined to suck it up and see things through as clean as I can but I'd be lying if I said that the Army doesn't make me want to shoot myself in the face sometimes. I am enjoying being able to see things clearly, but that also means that every little thing the Army does that I disagree with annoys the living shit out of me.

- If you don't have My War (Colby's book) yet, fucking get up from the computer and go to your local bookstore and buy the fucking thing. I'm only in Part Two and it's fucking engrossing reading, the kind of reading that you just can't seem to stop no matter how tired you are of looking at the paper. It's awesome and you must have it, especially if you are a frequent reader of these blogs, and I'd reckon you probably are if you're still visiting my blog after me going three months without posting anything.

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