Stories from Soldiers in Iraq (Blog)
Use this thread to discuss the following entry from Steve Pavlina's blog:
Stories from Soldiers in Iraq
Thanks for this entry, Steve. I have a friend who was in Iraq closer to the beginning of the war. He saw a lot of awful things and although he has transitioned back home pretty well, you can still sense that he's a changed man. I have seen how hard it is for him to even talk about what happened there.
Your suggestion to "strive to be a more conscious person yourself" is helpful, because barring that, it's hard to know what to do. I know that I feel helpless to give him any comfort because I can never understand the feelings he's dealing with. At least there is something we can do to help out. If more people stop picking sides ("heroes" vs. "villians") and just live compassionate, joyful, peaceful lives...maybe we can make a difference.
thats the price for electing AND RE-ELECTING a president like bush. sad :(
bush manages to be worst than the president from my country (brazil), which is pretty bad, i must say.
Bush will play any role in the war that you believe him to play, it's not his fault that there's a price to raise consiousness in Iraq. That's why I like having Bush as our president, unlike Kerry he knows that we have a moral obligation to overthrow any corrupt government to help that nation, even if it is our own.
In my experience, the best way to help people get to a healthy state of mind is to make sure that they are meeting all their basic needs for physical and emotional and intellectual health. When people have the basic needs met they will be able to make good deciscions and will be naturally motivated to try to be a compassionate and productive part of this world. Making sure that people have enough nutritious food (fresh whole foods, and not junk food!), clean air, plenty of clean water, a safe home, exercise and rest, fun/play, love, a sense of belonging, usefulness, and effectiveness (knowledge and skills) will provide them with a good solid base for being a good person, and living a healthy life.
And that goes for everyone, not just scared and confused soldiers.
The war was a disaster, a complete disaster, plain and simple. Price for raising the consciousness in Iraq? You mean the consciousness of the now dead tens of thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers or what? What did you achieve there?
It is our mistake that the war is a disaster. If we leave, things might escalate.
It is our responsibility to clean up our mistakes.
The way this thread goes, it could become a pro-war vs anti-war debate. I felt very strongly about responding to Kiba, but decided to let it go because it would not serve in my own growth or anyone else's growth.
Many people have already made up their minds on the effect of the war and are unwilling to accept any input if it conflicts with their predetermined view.
Lots of reporters don't seem to think al Qaeda really means what they claim.
Most of the politicians in both parties care more about being elected than instituting workable policies.
Lasting Peace will require sacrifice. Bless those who are sacrificing for freedom and peace.
You're right, discussing it wont bring any good since people have their minds made up already. But its kinda hard to not being carried away by discussion since this thread is meant for us to comment on stories from soldiers coming back from iraq :o
Killing people is a bad idea....
I can not say that war is never justified but I do believe that it damages many of those young men and women who are involved in the prosecution of any war.
I was a young man in the Army many years ago and I carry the effects of those events and actions with me now. For many years it was a terrible burden and I did not know whether I would survive the emotional angst.
I am past the place in my life where it seems unsurvivable to remember. I have taken these experiences and become a better person as a result of my life long ago. I think killing people is a bad idea and hope never to wish for another's death or be the instrument of another persons death.
I have two much younger brothers. One of my brothers returned with severe injuries over a year ago. He is now having his next of many operations. If the operation is a success he will live longer but be sterile and on a colostomy bag perhaps for the rest of his life. If it is not a success he has been informed he would not survive more than two or three months. He has nightmares, flashbacks, and a tremendous amount of survivor guilt. His twin brother is in the Marine Corps and is deploying to Iraq this month. I hope he comes home physically healthy and psychologically intact.
The counseling the returning troops receive is inadequate. The Veterans Administration and the Military hospitals are over burdened and unprepared to deal with proper psychological counseling.
I have lived through several wars and their aftermaths. I see the same self destructive behavior in those trying to forget their experiences. Substance abuse both alcohol and drugs, extreme anger and violent eruptions and severe depression all of which are destructive to the person and his/her family. I see many returned veterans die of their pain.
I also see some people who overcome and are better for their experiences. I hope I am one of those people. Today I feel and believe it is so that I am a better man for the path I have walked. I know many other people who are better people as a result of those war time experiences.
I will now step down from my soap box and thank you all for listening.
I think this quote is appropriate here:
My view over this issue is quite different from what forum consensus will be/is - since this is peaceful community my intention is not to start a war but simply to post my opinion.
My view over US foreign policy is very critical, and since I am not from US (Europe) my brains are not washed with propaganda therefore I believe I have "slightly" more unbiased perspective than someone from US or someone from what you call "terrorist countries".
I see "terrorism" as logical consequence to imperialistic foreign policy your country has lead for several decades. Face it - "prosperity" of US is greatly influenced by ability of your foreign policy to secure oil and other resources, defend dollar as leading international currency etc. Well method to achieve that is quite unique nowadays. Your country has almost 1000 military bases around the world, has invaded country recently based on a lies of WMD (which in fact were there - your soldiers used white phosphorous to masacer civil in Faludja), spend more then whole world without US combined on weapons but you only have 4% of world population, has a tradition of setting up and throwing governments all around the world, etc etc. This could go a looog way. "Argument" I hear a lot is - they attacked us. Did they really do that ? Middle east is populated with many US military bases, governments that support US and collaborate with US although population of that countries does not support exploitation of their natural resources. Therefore MY opinion is 11/9 was as logical as lion bite you if you would be messing with him in his cage whole afternoon.
This morning I saw this article which I didn't read and I decided to reply after I saw comments about traumas your soldiers are going through. Well there are also 500.000 people DEAD in Iraq as a consequence of US invasion. Have some perspective !
And finally is anyone is still reading ( I kinda doubt since you managed to elect neocons 2nd time ) - I also believe neocons are not the one to blame for that. Collective unconsciousness of US citizens is well aware of the fact, you cant keep up with your economic prosperity without exploitation of other world.
And again. I am well aware of the fact, many people in US does not support actions of your government. So dint take this as a insult. And if you are a pro Bush supporter who has mindset of Bush ( if you are not with us you are against us ) - we will not reach an agreement after months of political debate and this is not invitation to that. I simply posted my opinion.
Right on, Bole!
Here is an honest description of what an intelligent Iraqi people would say about US troops in Iraq (this was a posted in her blog in 2003):
Setting the Record Straight
I’m going to set the record straight, once and for all.
I don’t hate Americans, contrary to what many people seem to believe. Not because I love Americans, but simply because I don’t hate Americans, like I don’t hate the French, Canadians, Brits, Saudis, Jordanians, Micronesians, etc. It’s that simple. I was brought up, like millions of Iraqis, to have pride in my own culture and nationality. At the same time, like millions of Iraqis, I was also brought up to respect other cultures, nations and religions. Iraqi people are inquisitive, by nature, and accepting of different values- as long as you do not try to impose those values and beliefs upon them.
Although I hate the American military presence in Iraq in its current form, I don’t even hate the American troops… or wait, sometimes I do:
- I hated them all through the bombing. Every single day and night we had to sit in terror of the next bomb, the next plane, the next explosion. I hated them when I saw the expression of terror, and remembrance, on the faces of my family and friends, as we sat in the dark, praying for our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the survival of Iraq.
- I hated them on April 11- a cool, gray day: the day our family friend lost her husband, her son and toddler daughter when a tank hit the family car as they were trying to evacuate the house in Al-A’adhamiya district- an area that saw heavy fighting.
- I hated them on June 3 when our car was pulled over for some strange reason in the middle of Baghdad and we (3 women, a man and a child) were made to get out and stand in a row, while our handbags were rummaged, the men were frisked and the car was thoroughly checked by angry, brisk soldiers. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words the humiliation of being searched.
- I hated them for two hours on July 13. As we were leaving Baghdad, we were detained with dozens of other cars at a checkpoint in the sweltering, dizzying heat.
- I hated them the night my cousin’s house was raided- a man with a wife, daughter and two young girls. He was pushed out of the house with his hands behind his head while his wife and screaming daughters were made to wait in the kitchen as around 20 troops systematically searched the house, emptying closets, rummaging underwear drawers and overturning toy boxes.
- I hated them on April 28 when they shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers in Falloojeh- a place west of Baghdad. The American troops had taken over a local school (one of the only schools) and the kids and parents went to stand in front of the school in a peaceful demonstration. Some kids started throwing rocks at the troops, and the troops opened fire on the crowd. That incident was the beginning of bloodshed in Falloojeh.
On the other hand…
- I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes… looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we’re Iraqi- we’ve seen this heat before.
- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from ‘strange Iraqis’.
- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can’t even begin to understand.
- I get hopeless, seeing them pointing their guns and tanks at everyone because, in their eyes, anyone could be a ‘terrorist’ and almost everyone is an angry, frustrated Iraqi.
- I feel sympathy seeing them sitting bored and listless on top of their tanks and in their cars- wishing they were somewhere else.
So now you know. Mixed feelings in a messed up world.
I talk about “American troops” because those are the only ones I’ve come into contact with- no British soldiers, no Italians, no Spaniards… I don’t know- maybe they feel the same towards the British in the south.
Someone wrote that I was naïve and probably spoiled, etc. and that “not one single American soldier deserves to die for you”. I completely agree. No one deserves to die for me or for anyone else.
This war started out a war on WMD. When those were not found, and proof was flimsy at best, it turned suddenly into a “War against Terrorism”. When links couldn’t be made to Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden (besides on Fox and in Bush’s head), it turned into a “Liberation”. Call it whatever you want- to me it’s an occupation.
My suggestion? Bring in UN peace-keeping forces and pull out the American troops. Let the people decide who they want to represent them. Let the governing council be composed of Iraqis who were suffering the blockade and wars *inside* of Iraq. People are angry and frustrated and the American troops are the ones who are going to have to bear the brunt of that anger simply because the American administration is running the show, and making the mistakes.
It always saddens me to see that the majority of them are so young. Just as it isn’t fair that I have to spend my 24th year suffering this whole situation, it doesn’t seem fair that they have to spend their 19th, 20th, etc. suffering it either. In the end, we have something in common- we’re all the victims of decisions made by the Bush administration.
On the other hand… they’ll be back home, safe, in a month, or two or three or six… and we’ll be here having to cope with the mess of a homeland we have now.
There is the effect of military presense creating more from the opposing forces. It happened with Vietnam too. I always thought it was very arrogant of the US to go into Iraq. I thought, or hoped they would just go in and become better support for the UN and what that effort was, instead we got bombs flying.
As for Steve's take that we shouldn't say soldiers are heroes or villians I'd like to elaborate. I'd say the same, to not judge the acts the soldiers have to take while "under the influence" of the chain of command and being in survival mode. Weather those actions are heroic or villianous is for the military higher ups to answer to.
Now, for every soldier out there, they are individually heroes, hands down. What they go through I'll never know and I'll look for all the peace I can find in hopes it helps in some metaphysical way.
Another thought I had was that when a soldier agrees to go into training and kind of gives up some freedom to be effective and to be able to operate in the military ranks - that agreement is sort of like everyone that incarnated. We gave up our freedom in the spirit world and put ourselves into a body. So in a way a soldier's path is like physical incarnation and also somewhat spiritual because of this. When they come home and get out of the military it's like a death. And they have to re-adjust and hopefully bring the freedom back into their own life.
Steve - Inspiration is what I read from you post, that is to inspire others and live in my higher self. It's not always easy but it's a great reason to be rich in all areas of my life; to inspire others that is.
Wallace D. Wattles speaks about the reason for being rich in his book, 'The Science of Getting Rich'. He says that living is the way to inspire others. I've recounted his principles to the The Science of Getting Rich, in my blog post 'The Science of Getting Rich: Principles 1-3'.
To Your Inspiration,
Stephen Martile — Personal Development with NLP
Our military is a system; people sign up for it primarily because they can't find other jobs. Just like concentration camps were a system, or Whole Foods is a system.
We just need to build some better systems, in my opinion.
@Bole: There are Americans who feel the same way, some with even greater conviction than what you described. Many recognize the problem, but few can agree on how to remedy it.
It's easy to say, "The U.S. should do X and stop doing Y." Americans and non-Americans have been singing that chorus for a long time. But that doesn't produce much change. As individuals we must act as individuals. So the question is: What actions can we take as individuals to improve the situation in the USA, and by extension, the rest of the world?
This is a decision we must all make for ourselves. My choice has been to help people grow, to learn how to make their own conscious choices, especially when they want to go against the grain but lack the courage to do so. I believe this is a step in the right direction, but a lot more is needed. One voice encouraging people to stay conscious is merely a quiet whisper against the cacophonous background noise telling them to get a job, watch TV, and blame everything on the President.
It's true, placing blame for all of America's problems on one person (the President - he makes it too easy :p ) or even on the entire government won't solve the problem. Each one of us has to do whatever we can to live loving, peaceful lives with every effort to help others and make a contribution if we wish to affect any change in the bigger picture. If each person in the US and the world focused on that, we would be better off don't you think?
In my opinion, the original article and Steve's blog article were neither pro-America nor anti-Iraq. It is about the pain inflicted by the American soldiers on Iraqi civilians and the effect it had on the psyche of the American soldiers and their families. It is about how badly the returning soldiers are being treated, without proper medical, emotional, and psychological care. It is about what the mainstream media does not cover. What the original article and Steve's blog have done by bringing this to light is very laudable.
This was not about the war itself. It was about human suffering due to war. I have nothing against the soldiers because they were doing what they were ordered to do. It is the case with every soldier of every country. Their individual will is broken during training. Though their individual will is broken, humanity is still left in them, and they also suffer. I am not undermining civilian deaths in Iraq by saying this. Even a loss of one life, be it that of a trained soldier or that of a civilian is not forgivable. But, saying all Americans support this war is not true. However, many don't see a way out of this. I personally don't see a way out of this, without more loss of life.
The way to help people suffering both in Iraq and America is not only helping them to support their physical lives, but also helping them to derive strength from within. Emotional upheaval is a state that these people are currently in. Even with such suffering, they still have infinite wisdom within to help them heal. It should be our duty to help them access this wisdom and raise their consciousness, in whatever way we can. By bickering and condemning these people or the whole countries will not benefit anybody.
It's never justified.
I was an Airborne medic in Afghanistan. I didn't have to shoot anyone, just clean up the messes afterward. I told them what we were doing (our military occupying their country) was wrong. Today I'm slightly more enlightened and would say counterproductive. They said I had a personality disorder and kicked me out.
They backdated my separation orders and I outprocessed in one week. When I initially returned from deployment, I was required to go to a follow up interview with the psychologist based on my diagnosis. She asked all the questions that told to me that they already knew what kinds of problems soldiers were going to have. She checked off the boxes and I got no treatment.
I got an honorable discharge but no disability because I it was classified as a temporary disability. I was too screwed up to continue to serve but not screwed up enough to get any help. I don't care. I don't ever want any help from the government again.
If you define war as state sponsored lethal aggression, it's never justifiable if you subscribe to the Christian (American) notion of Just War Theory. Self defense of private property can be justified but that's it. No American war has ever fallen into that category - not the Civil War (the war to preserve the exploitive tax structure of the North) and not even the American Revolution (first war of succession). Even those wars were about business interests of the few. One of the major battles of the American Revolution was even Americans against Americans.
No soldier I know considers himself a hero. Ask any "hero" and you'll hear they were just doing their job or doing what any person would have. They have the same fear reactions as everyone else. It doesn't make you a hero to have a Pavlovian response that enables you to shoot someone. The month after I got home, there was a gathering I was attending where they asked all the veterans to stand up. I was mostly ashamed of what we'd been doing so I wouldn't stand with the others. I felt stupid for having been tricked into thinking we were protecting our country.
We have no idea of the full costs of war. The government usually does a good job of hiding that. If enough people had any clue, it would be over tomorrow. Did you know they stopped publishing figures for the money supply because the FED is bankrupting us all to finance this war? The State Department also stopped publishing figures on terror attacks around the world because our war on terror is making everything significantly worse. Their answer is that we haven't been attacked on our soil. But then behind closed doors they hope we will so they can continue to convince us we need them.
If we all realized the war on terror was a hoax, we'd just find another reason to go to war and let government continue "protect" us. Our enlightened European friends are giving up any civil rights they have left in the name of preventing terror or global warming. I only point that out in case someone thinks that Europe or anywhere else has all the answers. We're all struggling together in our own ways. Blaming one country or president doesn't help. Kerry would have kept us in Iraq too and Hilary is planning to if she wins.
Scariest words in the English language: "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you.":eek:
I find Steve's categorical objection to the war in Iraq simplistic: it is easy to paint the US soldiers as unconcscious automatons, but the truth is that many of them enlisted in the army very consciously. Living in times of peace in the US it is easy to forget that the lifestyle that allows for full-time indulgement in personal development rather than survival is often secured with war (WWII is a glaring example).
The US soldiers who support the war effort (which includes the majority of them) are in fact doing something individually to make the world a more conscious place -- if they kill then it is with this clear intention. That they may be wrong -- at this point pulling out may or may not be the right thing to do -- doesn't reduce the level-of-consciousness of their decision, and for Steve effectively to condemn them, offering them pity, is inappropriately condescending and ungrateful in my opinion, given that he doesn't offer a solution to the concrete situation in Iraq. Engaging in personal development is an essential long-term strategy, but it will not resolve the problem that's already here.
I also didn't see where he painted them as unconscious automatons.
Maybe it's just me?
Sorry, one more thing...where do you get the idea that the majority of soldiers support the war effort? None I know personally are very happy about it.
The whole scenario is just sad.
Through the eyes of children
Images by photographer killed in Iraq
Iraqi Death Toll Exceeds 600,000, Study Estimates - WSJ.com
Moderator knows it all
The Moderator states: "Our military is a system; people sign up for it primarily because they can't find other jobs."
? Fact? Clueless ? or enlightenment ??? Is this an open mind?
Who is causing the violence? what are their goals?
I know many who join knowing it will be a difficult task with possible injury and even death because they believe it to be the right thing to do and are following their hearts.
I know some who have always dreamed of being warriors and join to fulfill that dream.
I know some who love their country and join to be a part of something important that is "bigger" than themselves.
I know some who do not know what they desire from life and choose the military as a place to mature.
I know some who join to get money for their education.
I know some who simply can't get a job.
While I am an American I believe that similar reasons exist for those who join the military of other countries as well. Indeed I believe that many of the same reasons exist for those whom the popular press and officials of any country call terrorists or otherwise identify as enemies.
When I think of the cost to people in a war I also believe it is not just those who agree with me or my country who suffer. I think killing people is a bad idea. I do not discriminate between the group or nation in which I am a citizen and those who are part of another nation or group. I do not believe that the negative effects of war are limited to my countries citizens but rather believe it is a tragedy for all who are involved; friend, foe or innocent bystander.
I can not say that war is always avoidable. I can not say there is never a just war. I do know that I have compassion for the people who are involved. That compassion extends to the people who do not view my country as "friend" as well as to those who do view the United States as friend.
The Iraq war is not what you think...
First of all Bush is not the decision maker... Its special interest groups comprised of banks, corporations, etc.
The Iraq war was created to:
1. Fight muslim extremists on another turf. If our intent was to liberate Iraq then why were our borders tighter going out of the country than going in? They lured local extremists in. Many US military people report that their fights are often with non locals. There is a war going on here and the Iraqi people are pawns so that it doesn't have to be fought on US soil. Our Dept of Defense's own think tanks are ran by people who will profit off this war.
2. Create a US miliary base in Iraq. This was the ideal time for us to cease control and to put strategic bases up against Iran. If you don't care about people and only about military strategy then this was a brilliant move to counter Iran. The think tanks who are paid by the banks and corporations know how to plead to the Dept of Defense and show them on paper what moves should be made for our better good.
3. Financial interests. Iran was negotiating with Iraq to run a natural gas pipeline through the country and ultimately to India. Our gov't will do everything in its power to counter every move of Iran. As we speak there are companies aligning themselves to profit long term on Iraq. Before every county has an uprising the money interests move it to control. Name any country you like and there are banks and corporations who were waiting in the wings and funding the uprising.
What does this all mean???
Well what you hear on CNN and Fox are a joke. They won't tell you about military strategy and have no interest in dwelling on the special interest financial groups since they own shares of both networks.
When I hear people focusing on Bush as being "good" or "bad" then I realize they have no clue about how things work. Its sad but politicians do not run the gov't they only give you lip service and tell you what they think you want to hear or at least what they think you'll believe.
There were no WMD in Iraq so Bush made a mistake... This is hilarious !
The money interests paid statisticians to show him how it was the only way to protect America's interest and explained to him how to feed it to us. This figure head still believes he's doing the right thing. Who we should be mad at is Haliburton, the banks dueling over Iraq's future and the ones who will be feeding India with oil. Our deficit is in the trillions and the Federal Reserve prints money like mad.. Our tax dollars then go to pay them the interest on our own money which they print at their discretion. Many are privately held banks that moved in during the American Revolution and now these few profit off every dollar thats printed. This isn't Bank of America traded on the stock exchange but family banks that are hundreds of years old.
There are trillions being made off this war and the whole world is debating about Bush as if he is the decider.
The ones who run this country don't care about military people, they don't care about the innocent Iraqi poeple and they control the largest military in the world and run it like their personal militia.
There are a lot of people who know whats really going on but no one dares speak of it.
Now reply and tell me how delusional I am then go back to your TV and turn on your favorite news channel and let them keep feeding you the lies that mask their profits.
eBay: A Solution to the War in Iraq (item 150141399174 end time Jul-22-07 05:24:36 PDT)
Army Captain Thad Krasnesky, says the New York Post.
Greed, lust and fear have become dominant and this is reflected in the government. Scary times..........
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