April 25, 2008
Name: LT G
Posting date: 4/25/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Reno, Nevada
Milblog: Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal
Rumble young man, rumble.
Make it more true than true is. As muddled as war appears on paper, it still has to make some sort of sense to survive the transformation into language. That is why I write. It makes more sense here than it does out there. If I ever make sense of it all, there won’t be a reason for these words anymore. I’ll finally fade into that proud sand castle defying the sea for the sake of defiance. Alone, under the red hot moon. Doomed to fail, blessed to try. That’s all I’ve really ever wanted out of life. To be left alone, to fight impossible on my own terms.
The act of creation. Jimmy Rabbit on a bus. Pogues in a Port-a-John. Emily Dickinson locked away in an attic. God at a pub, liquored up in a dark corner, doodling on a napkin. Like pulling fangs off of a rabid baboon with pliers, as explainable as the board game Wall Street Land to a people who do not comprehend the concept of excess. Diversify those bonds, mistah.
We all have our methods. Mine has always been somehow sitting still long enough to retch up a pile of brain vomit, followed by meticulously rigid editing and re-editing ingrained by journalistic tendencies by way of poking said brain vomit with a sanity stick. Don’t analyze that too deeply. There was nothing phallic about that statement.
WhoWhatWhenWhereWhyandWhyagainandWhyoverandover. Save the Chief Wahoo greeting for the mathematicians and meterosexual drag queens. Invert that pyramid. It takes time to organize random musings into something worth sharing and even more time to make it readable. I used to write at night, beer in hand, and edit in the morning, water in hand. Cue General Order No. 1. Now I write mad and edit sad, whenever I can.
iWar. Fitting, in that succinct, catchy pop culture kind of way. Perfect for this Era of Irony. No LOL-erskates for the whYkids, but they’ll get over it. iWar. It’s not my phrase, though I appreciate it and am happy to Oscar Wilde it. I got it from an article about blogging in the Iraq War that quoted me. Bask in the shameless self-promotion. To be fair, I don’t think it was the reporter’s phrase either. It begins with "i", so Apple Computers probably has a patent on it. Just like iPod, iTunes, and iRack.
I War. Subject. Verb. Where’s the object? We’re still looking for it, five years later. How’s that for iRony?
I get it. My suffering and soul-searching is not as deep or as angst-worthy as your suffering and soul-searching was. Were you in Fallujah, LT? How about Somalia? Now that was some fucked up shit. My war was SO much more trying than your war. Spare me the juvenile sensitivities; internalizing anything makes you soft. We didn’t have time for that bullshit in Desert Storm. How tough can it be? You have internet access, for Mohammed’s sake. And a mattress.
Fair enough. Counterinsurgencies are not nearly as cool or memorable as the apocalyptic offensives that spawn their existence in the first place. Following that logic though, we all owe the survivors of Antietam our first-born sons and a free rub-and-tug at the local Asian massage parlor.
But wait! They had a pen and a pad to write letters home! Some of them even owned socks. They aren’t nearly as legit as Alexander the Great’s epical Macedonian Marauders. They literally did nothing but kill things 25/8, which clearly elevates them beyond mere soldier status. Their rules of engagement were simply two words. Rape. Pillage. The “and” came later, inadvertently fucking everything up, leading to the point where the world’s lone superpower can’t make juice boxes out of the fruit of their enemy’s skulls anymore. Not directly, at least. Now we just hire them to squeeze their own juice while we provide the fruit and the pre-shaped cardboard and the plastic straw.
As the keyboard Marines of the blogosphere reminded me during the rules of engagement saga, this is war!!! How e-tuff. Thanks for the advice, it’s kind of hard to forget that when you live it and sleep it and breathe it on a daily basis. I play real-world Frogger with IEDs every time we roll out of the wire, Mesopotamian sand rests at the bottom of my lungs like spare change in a swimming pool, the Gravediggers are awaiting CABs for actioning into combat and whistling bullets without hesitation, and I’m still removing bits of Boss Johnson flesh grunge from my memory with a spatula -- and the computer screen dares to lecture about what war is? Typing to kill and repeating asinine banalities found on World War II-era posters are clearly more profound and well-intentioned than ten pages of literary greatness devoted to five seconds of black-bursting clairvoyance written by someone who was actually fucking there. No thanks for the exclamation mark abuse.
To hell with it though, as skewed and as wrong as those individuals may be, at least they are interested. That’s about as rare nowadays as finding a polar bear that thinks global warming is a communist conspiracy.
Give the cute baby seals a hammer and sickle, and put them to work. For the Motherland, of course.
If You Ain’t Cav
You Ain’t Shit.
I know people care about the iWar. But not enough, given the circumstances. Not even close. Agree or disagree with the war, I don’t care -- just give a fuck. Be able to find Basra on a map, know that the Tigris isn’t some sort of unholy crossbreed found at the San Diego Zoo, try to figure out the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’a even if it conplexes and perfuses your mind beyond repair.
I wish I could issue some loud, righteous proclamation here about the repercussions of such continued resounding American apathy, but who are we kidding? The warrior caste is simply too small nowadays, and too proud. There will be no reckoning for all of this. We’ll fight the fights not because we necessarily want to, but because no one else will. We were bred to protect. Even if we’re protecting nothing more than an isolationistic yawn prefacing the continental slumber history demands occur after protracted warfare.
I used to dream of a life without consequences. Like that defiant sand castle though, it has been swallowed up by a crashing surf of memories, washed away, lost in the swirl of bleeding blue.
iWar. Mine, not yours. This war. My War. Our War. We War. I War.
You peace. Out.
Here’s a secret, though. I’ll let you in on it, if you promise not to tell the chickenhawks or Jody or the Spooks. Sand castles can be rebuilt. The surf can destroy the castles, but not the sand itself. No one and no thing can destroy the sand but myself. And that won’t happen anymore. I will rebuild my sand castle, someday, somewhere else, somewhere where I think the surf can’t find me. In a lagoon where peace is stillness and stillness is peace. Alone, under the red hot moon. Fighting to fight, finding a noble cause in an ignoble world. And tucked away in the deepest dungeon of the castle, where no one will be allowed to go, not even me, will be a piece of scrap paper with the address to this blog site written in smudged ink on it. My link to this iWar, where I finally stumbled into an adventure that I couldn’t sleep off. The last link to a life with consequences.
Rumble young man, rumble.