[Marxism] Letter from "the Heretic," a GI stationed in Iraq

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Dec 5 00:27:23 MST 2004

I attended the first session of the AntiDraft, Antiwar Conference here
in New York, sponsored by the International Action Center, the Fight
Imperialism, Stand Together youth group and a few others. There were
about 100 people present.  The most important stuff was that a
GI-oriented group SNAFU reported that they now have Gis in Baghdad
working with their group.  Back during the Vietnam War, the Socialist
Workers Party and Workers World seemed to be the most active of the left
organizations in working with antiwar Gis.  Now it seems to be the
International Socialist Organization and, again Workers World.

The group projected a number of activities, including a March 20 action
on the theme, "Take Back Central Park!" Frankly, I think stopping the
war has a slightly higher priority and moves to the head of the protest,
although reclaiming our right to protest in Central Park is a perfectly
sound idea which a wide range of supporters of democratic rights should
be eager to support.  The strategic focus seemed to be the idea that
"stopping the draft will stop the war."  The idea being that without a
draft the rulers will have to get out of Iraq.  I am not sure but like
the "Take Back Central Park" idea, this may have a tendency to place the
war itself a little too far from the front burner for my taste.  But
there is a good chance that the proposals will play out in practice
better than the initial formulations.

Anyway, I think the state of mind of the Gis must be pretty wild today.
The experience of the Fallujah battle (still going on, by the way) must
have been truly horrific, and the things the crimes that the US military
committed there must weigh on many minds. 

But more than that, so much of what is going on right now -- the
Fallujah battle, the obvious insistence on going ahead with the
elections regardless of their international or Iraqi credibility --
seems aimed at keeping up the illusion in the home front that one
victory is following another while the rulers try to FIGURE OUT WHAT TO

They want to win the war, but they have not figured out how.  Fallujah
and the elections have turned out to be like things to do while they are
thinking about it. And this lack of real direction must place the Gis
under tremendous moral and psychological pressure, on top of the things
they are expected to do, the extended tours, and so on.

Anyway here is a letter from a GI in Iraq that conveys some of this, and
the anger that is growing 
Fred Feldman

Us Vs. Them
GI Special 2 #40 
From: Heretic, Soldier, Iraq
To: GI Special 
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 4:05 AM
Subject: Us vs Them
I am a manipulated stooge who sold his soul to exploit the ignorant with
the proud lies our own leaders.
I am told on a regular basis "The Army is not like it used to be."  Most
of the lifers think that the military lacks discipline and blame the new
"Nintendo generation" soldiers for the weakness.
However, I think a hard look should be given at the uses of America's
advanced military in the modern era.  Due to the operations the military
has been tasked in the last forty years, the nobility of the
professional soldier has been destroyed.
>From Vietnam to Iraq the Armed Forces has been a chess piece in a game
for  money and power by elite Americans.  Back in the world wars the
military represented every citizen's will.  Today the people are duped
with lies and  phony values to support imperial progress.  
Weapons of mass destruction, links to the two towers tragedy, and the
ousting of an oppressive dictatorship are all bait for a revenge hungry
over-patriotic American. 
I doubt that the men in power are as incompetent as the  world imagines.
For that reason I dismiss the apparent failures in Iraq as not the true
goals of this war.  After these errors are eliminated you are left with
the truth behind the media smoke screens. 
This war is about money.
Most people believe that dollars are being handed over to Iraq to
rebuild their country on the backs of the American tax payers and under
the protection of US troops.
However, the money never sees Iraq.  It leaves your wallet and goes
through the system in DC and ends up in a corporation with the sizeable
government contract.  Sure the product is a new road, a school house or
AK-47s for the Iraqi National Guard, but the money is only making a rich
man richer.
Even the soldiers are brain washed into hating the "rag heads".
I have overheard soldiers telling racist jokes like "Why do Iraqis smell
so bad?  So blind people can hate them too."  It becomes easy to hate
the Arab people.  We don't understand their culture, their religion and
their language. They are a poor people with a lesser quality of
lifestyle and standard of living.  The average soldier can not relate to
living without electricity, plumbing, and toilet paper.
If we see them as inferior it makes it easier to kill them.  Just as one
might kill a dog that digs through his trash.  As a soldier gets into
combat situations the prejudice grows as they blame every
Middle-Easterner for the conflict.
The Joes hate Iraqis because the command hypes about being in Iraqi to
stabilize a democracy and fight terrorists on their own ground.  The
leadership never explains the fact that a majority of Iraqis don't want
a republic that is just a branch of the Western  materialistic culture
and that they see America as a tyrant equal to the fallen Saddam's Baath
Most soldiers mistake the word insurgent to mean a person that is
inserted.  As if we are fighting men from other countries than Iraq.
When, insurgent means rebel. 
The common GI won't investigate why the insurgent will sacrifice
himself, because most soldiers would never do the same.
But somewhere in the back of  the GI's mind he has a sense that what he
is doing here is wrong.  It gives him doubt and discourages his morale.
The lifers hold on to the lies of the system because the truth would
destroy the core of their beliefs.  The fact that the stars and bars is
only an illusion for the real power behind the throne could ruin their
psyche and crash their egos.  They will never let go of their pride and
use it as an excuse to cover their fear.  
A war backed by our nation's cowards. What else would a preemptive
strike be good for. Americans get so afraid they will kill in cold blood
and thump their chests to claim it for a good cause.
History is written by the victors and might makes right.  After all is
said and done it will go down that way in the books.  We will kill
communists, drug dealers and terrorists. Next will be homosexuals and
atheists.  Then full circle back to Jews and Blacks.  Fear and prejudice
is destructive and we dominate using it.  Every country folds to
American policies afraid their homes will become the next Baghdad.  
And, our leaders use media to force the United States people into
anxiety using colored threat levels, video of violence, and worse case
scenarios presented as emergency updates.  We even had Colin Powell lie
to the world's most powerful council, the U.N., about Iraq's malicious
intent with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.   America
intimidates the world while calling the insurgent freedom fighters
So Americans can't let go of their fear.  Like it is a security blanket
from a childhood memory.  Just as most people can't relax their guard,
in Nam lifers couldn't relate to the men that was turned on to
To let your mind and body go and become open to the chaos of the world
is impossible for a person who lives in constant fear of the unknown
truth.  Drug usage isn't as much of a problem here in Iraq amongst the
soldiers, yet.  However with a draft, the inactive reserve and more
stop-loss it won't be long before more soldiers discover the potency of
Arab hashish and opium based narcotics.
There will be a division between lifers and the heads again.  It has
already started with the stop-lossed soldier obviously not wanting to be
in service any longer.  Many of them get court marshaled or chaptered
out with dishonorables saving the military from paying an already
deserved Collage GI Bill and other veterans benefits. 
As war here in the middle-east gets more violent the soldiers will
become less afraid of punishment.  Prison will become a more sane option
than trying to take Fallujah for the fourth time. 
Most the soldiers I have talked to have joined for selfish reasons.
They wanted money for collage, travel the world, get out of a dead end,
avoid going to prison, or had no direction in life.
The boys who joined up to defend the red white and blue are few and far
between.  I met some soldiers that were motivated by September 11th, but
not many.  It is a need in today's society to find alternate advantages
to enlist, and when kids learn what they really signed themselves up for
it is a rude awakening.  Many soldiers are counting down to their last
day in the military from the first few hours at basic training.  
For all these reasons, whether the G.I.s are conscious of it or not, the
military personal have a decreased motivation and intensity.
We fight for lies, are alienated by our chain of command and are only
trying to ride out  the clock until we can finish our contracts without
losing what we have worked for or seeing the inside of a prison cell.
The Armed Forces will never have a loyal troop base until its goals
change.  If there was  something worth fighting for, something the
common man can gain, rather than just being underpaid mercenaries for
some elitist, then the soldiers would have more encouragement to join in
work hard.  
I myself find it difficult to have discipline in an Army full of
ass-kissing lying hypocrites who enforce a wicked US policy with a
violent war I disagree with.
I serve in shame,
The Heretic, Iraq

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