Archive for the Military Category

Military Post-911 Quagmire Essay by Daniel Crimmins

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2015 by Drogo

Veterans for Peace posted this article from Reddit television:

‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’


Visual-Effects asked:

How do you Americans as a people walk around head held high, knowing that every few months your country is committing a 9/11 size atrocity to other people? Imagine if the 9/11 terror attacks were happening in america every few months. Again and again, innocent people dying all around you. Your brothers and sisters. For no reason.

Daniel Crimmins (Mopecore)

from U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division answered:

“Many of us are unable. Many of us watched 9/11, and accepted the government and media’s definition of the attack as a act of war rather than a criminal action. A smaller portion, drifting along passively thought a major war was coming, that people we knew were going to fight and die. Some of us maybe worried about our younger brother being drafted, despite being in college. Now, it seems stupid, but in the 72 hours after 9/11, some Americans, maybe suffering from depression, certainly with a mind shaped by comic books and action movies, ate up the ‘us vs. them’ good vs. evil rhetoric spouted by the cowboy in chief. After all, he was the president, and no matter how bright you might think yourself, you can still be swayed by passion and emotion, led to terrible decisions.

“Some of us, therefore, left our dorm rooms, and walked down Main Street to the recruiter’s office. Some of us were genuinely surprised the office wasn’t full to bursting of young men eager to avenge their fallen countrymen. Some of us were genuinely surprised when we had to push the recruiter to stop trying to sell desk jobs and just let us join the damn Infantry.

Some of us got enlisted, then, and went down to Georgia, head high to mask the anxiety and fear they might have. Perhaps some number of Americans in this situation discovered that maybe it hadn’t been the best idea, but would be goddamned if they were going to admit it, and let everyone back home smuggly remark on how right they were.

So they persevere. They learn to work as a unit, to look past personality issues, to see each other as Soldiers rather than as a race, or economic status, or any of the other things people hate about each other. They learn to kill.

Then some of these people, perhaps while sitting hungover in the platoon area in the Republic of Korea hear that we have invaded Iraq. They have “Big Scary Bombs”, and Saddam Hussein, the secular Arab dictator had somehow colluded with the devoutly religious OBL to attack the US. They hated our freedom, you see.

Then some of these young American men might transfer back to Georgia and be assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, and end up in Iraq in January of 2005. And maybe these kids, still drunk on Fox News and fantasies of glory and renown being enough to win their ex-girlfriends back, are excited to go to Iraq. Sure, we hadn’t found any WMDs yet, and we had Hussein in custody, but they were still somehow a threat and had to be dragged kicking and screaming into Jeffersonian democracy. Inside every dirka is a good American, yearning to be free.

So you fight. You kill. Watch friends die. Its usually quick, almost never quiet, but for the rest of your life, when you remember sitting at the bar with them, they’re blown open. You picture the nights you spent downtown at Scruffy Murphy’s, but instead of the stupid hookah shell necklace, your boy’s jaw is blown off, and his left eye is ruined, and he’s screaming.

You fight, you kill, you watch friends die, and you notice a distinct lack of change. You kick in doors and tell terrified women to sit on the floor while you and your friends ransack their home, tearing the place apart, because they might be hiding weapons. There is no reason to believe this house in particular is enemy, same for the next one, and the one after that, or the seven before; they just happened to be there, and maybe they had weapons. Probably not, they almost never did. There were a few times when we had deliberate raids based on solid intel and we’d turn up some stuff, but generally we were just tossing houses because we could.

Then maybe your FISTer forgets to carry the remainder, and drops a mess of mortars on the village your supposed to protect. Maybe the big Iraqi running at you screaming was just mentally ill. Of course, you won’t know this until after you’ve but seven rounds through his ribcage, and his wailing, ancient mother is cradling his body, spitting at you.

Maybe when you get back to the FOB, the Platoon Sergeant tells you you did the right thing; next time, it might be a suicide bomber. They tell you it was an honest mistake, it wasn’t your fault. They tell you to go get some chow, take a shower if the water works, and sleep it off. You did good work that day, apparently.

During chow, the TV is on AFN, and they are rebroadcasting some Fox News show, and you’re hearing about drone strikes, and all the great things we’re doing, and you can’t help but see that poor dumb assholes face, looking past his mother as he bleeds to death. He’s in pain, obviously, but he has the most perfectly confused look on his face. He doesn’t comprehend what’s happening. Little more hot sauce on your eggs doesn’t really help.

Then you realize you haven’t seen anything to support the idea that these poor fuckers are a threat to your home. You look around and you see all he contractors making six figure salaries to fix your shit, train Iraqis, maintain the ridiculous SUVs the KBR dicks ride around in. You consider the fact that every 25mm shell costs about forty bucks, and your company has been handing those fuckers out like shrapnel flavored parade candies. You think about all the fuel you’re going through, all the ammo and missiles and grenades. You think about every time you lose a vehicle, the Army buys a new one. Maybe you start to see a lot of people making a lot of money on huge amounts of human suffering.

Then you go on leave, and realize that Ayn Rand has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. You realize that Fox News and Limbaugh and John McCain don’t respect you or your buddies. They don’t give a fuck if you get a parade or a box when you get home, you’re nothing to them but a prop.

Then you get out, and you hate the news. You hate the apathy, and you hate the murder being carried out in your name. You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you.

Maybe your heart breaks a little every time some asshole brags about a “successful” drone strike.

Your statement is correct enough; if all of America was one dude, that dude would not give a shit about the little brown people we’re burning and crushing and choking to death. We aren’t all like that, but it makes me incredibly, profoundly sad to see what my country actually is.” – Daniel Crimmins

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Medical Marijuana – Yes I Can!

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Medical, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by Drogo

“ok this is my blog what grind’s my gears

– by SFC Peter A Manuel United States Army Ret.

“Ok there has been a huge debate over medical marijuana ,well here is mine. I suffer from combat related PTSD i have been to a number of programs for this where they used both counseling and medication to try to help me with this, none of which worked at one time not to long ago the Veteran’s Administration had me on trazadone, seriquil, xanex, lisinopril, prozaserin, lithium, welabutron, and a number of other’s . the results were i still had nightmares, social anxiety, and hyper vigilance, hyper tension, and still had sleep issues and i still was in a great state of deprssion but what these med’s did do was cause me to gain weight my triglisrydes were high and so was my blood sugar and i lost all interest in the thing’s that i enjoyed to do and turned into a zombie.

So me being one to question and critically think i decided that i was going to do an experiment on myself b/c i figured i had been a lab rat for the VA, that what would it hurt at this point, so when i left the VA i stoped all med’s immediately, i went to a friend we will call him Cleidus and purchased some marijuana and started to smoke 3 small hit’s puff’s whatever you no what i mean in the morning and did the same around 9pm. I regimented this b/c of an article i read by an Israeli doctor and the result’s were i slept better my deprssion went away and lost all the weight i had gained and even my nightmare have decreased or i have none at all, so what i am saying is that for me this plant is a miracle drug that has not only helped me but may have saved my life , now i am not saying go get blazed up all day long well unless you have nothing to do; then well whatever floats your boat; but it has helped me and remember holistic is always better and prescibed drug’s only weaken your immune system. i am no longer on any medications.”

“And that’s what grinds my gear’s”
SFC Peter A Manuel

Fight For Your Right To Wear Your Own Uniform

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, Military with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by Drogo

Mis-Matched Uniform Freedom

As a former member of the military, released with an honorable discharge, I have some opinions regarding my rights to wear my own clothing. The military has attitudes about our uniforms, based on regulations, that to me are like a gang mentality. I have had two random female soldiers tell me publicly that i cant wear my uniform or other service uniforms as i want to, saying ‘its offensive’. I find that attitude to be more offensive than my representation that i wear proudly. The interesting thing is when i remove or mask the badges, like with gangs, they cant say anything.

Let me clarify first, that I am not wearing my uniform to impersonate someone else, an officer, or otherwise. I am not trying to pretend I am something I am not. I am simply wearing articles of clothing that have personal meaning to me.

I wear my berets proudly. I was given an army beret by a friend of mine in the Army while i was in the Air Force. My grandfather wore berets, so it is a family tradition. Those that find it offensive have been brainwashed by military standards that should apply only when on duty. I am proud to have served our country for 5 years, and even more proud to have all my rights as a citizen again, to express myself just as other Veterans have from other Wars. If you wanna talk about being insulted, I have also been called out for wearing my father’s army jacket, an item that has particular honor for me to wear.

I do hate the official attitude about the uniforms, it really upsets me and i never forget the times I am confronted and harassed by those that should be greeting me as a brother. I was diagnosed with PTSD by the Air Force, and i remember every time someone in the Air Force gave me crap about how i was dressed. Usually its strangers that dont understand, and dont care to. One benefit to not wearing uniforms, is i dont get harassed and threatened by soldiers. Really, the only people that ever gave me trouble for wearing uniforms or parts of a uniform are military people that want to assert their authority like a bully. Thats the only reason i dont wear mis-matched uniforms more often. Because despite the grief i get, i feel by being who i am i do deserve to wear things that mean something to me. I usually got top marks from my sergeants for how sharp my uniform was, despite the verbal shit they push.

Being told i cant wear my own clothing, or have not earned the right to represent our country through fashion, is more offensive to me than all the insults about my height I got during basic training. Shit im more hard core about why i wear the things i wear than most people are, even in the military. I think those foolish enough to give me crap assume im just being a ‘jester joker’ and are shocked when i tell them that what i wear im willing to fight for.

I have also published my opinions of the rights we willingly give up (by choice) in 2 books: BDU (my boot camp journal) & Operation 10 COW (Ten Conscientious Objections to War). I have always considered myself a patriotic warrior, and still do, despite the fact that there is no military branch for an artist like me. I did the best i could to conform, but i already felt strongly about who i am before i joined. I am proud that an individual like myself can serve and not be shot for not fitting in.

I was proud to wear my mis-matched dress uniform to the funeral of a punk rock friend of mine i went to school with, and he starred in my films. I knew he of all people would appreciate my right to wear symbolic ‘bling’, and to him also it meant something deeply personal. He taught me about the meaning behind punk rock styles of dress.

My wife thinks there is a reason it’s been women soldiers that publicly challenge me about my mis-matched uniform. She could be right, since most men dont want to get into a fist fight over it, so they are wiser than to insult a veteran that may be psychotic. I never looked at a Vietnam War Vet that was homeless and thought they were a disgrace to the dusty old tattered uniform they wore. Any doubt I had about their right to wear their uniform was annihilated after watching RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD. In that film, a Vet is harassed and beaten by local cops. Then he goes RAMBO on their asses.

Honestly you gotta be stupid to pick on a soldier and tell them they haven’t earned the right to wear what they want. The right to wear what you want is one of those freedoms some of us are willing to fight and die for. Live and let live, that’s the way i try to be.

My friend Pete “War” Manuel of the US Army had this to say about it:

“Coming from someone who went to war for this country i will say you have the right to wear whatever the hell you want, and anyone who say’s different never had any concept of what freedom really is or what they swore an oath to protect. Well truth is most who flip about that kinda stuff are more the non-combat types from my experience. In my line of work we rarely wore rank unit or any other patches other then the black or american flag, we didnt blouse our pants and wore beards and stashes and often didnt wear our acu tops. Alot of brass in the usmc thought we were some kind of vikings but our lack of uniform distingushed us as elite.”

Some Prefer the Familiar, Others the Exotic.

Posted in History, Military, Philosophy, Uncategorized on August 12, 2011 by eposognatus

Recognizing the effect a martial art’s cultural background has on its teachings, how it is taught and understood is an important aspect for both teacher and student. Bob Orlando cites as his “central truth” in his work Martial Arts America, that the “philosophies and methods of instruction must match the culture of those being instructed.” In his work he argues for recognizing the differences between East and West and assessing relevancy to the American student in modern society. In such an approach it should not seem far fetched to recognize that an American claiming European ancestry might find more inherent romantic attachment and understanding in the teachings of a 15th century Franconian fencing master than any number of Asian schools which can present unfamiliar languages, religions, and philosophical concepts.

A martial system developed for persons of another culture arguably ignores fundamental instincts or tendencies of those raised in other cultures and influenced by their own traditions. This does not make it less effective a martial art, but perhaps less implicitly understood by someone whose understanding of combat is fundamentally different, and perhaps better served by a different style of teaching or training system.

By contrast, Western Martial Arts align themselves very handily with the same such individual seeking to reconnect with their European ancestry. The languages, religions, social habits, even the foods their historical counterparts knew are still familiar today within their own cultural sphere. If the philosophies and methods of teaching must match the culture of those being taught then by going straight to a martial art of one’s own culture this requirement is met much more readily then by traversing not only time (as must occur in any historical study) but culture as well (through East and West).

Art as an Avatar for My Life

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military, Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by Drogo

Reflections on the Film Avatar by a Veteran of the War on Terror

Dances With Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Last Samurai, Fern Gully, or whatever you want to compare Avatar with, its all good shit. Avatar had some great new special effects. It moved science fiction to the next technological level.

Now for my personal thoughts. I didnt need to see it right away, at least when it came out, since the plot and the fantastic alien imagery is pretty much what goes on inside my head since i can remember. heh when it came out, i was too depressed by my real-life military vs pagan conflict, and was afraid the re-enforcing energy i would have gotten from the film would depress-anger me further into something drastic. As it is, i barely made it out without Hulking out totally. If i had been free at the time, i would have gone to see it with friends, hell i would have organized it. i was too drained… feeling better now though 🙂

‎5 years of tolerating military intolerance was a huge sacrifice for me, my ways were “wrong” and the more i expressed myself the harder it was. The ideas defended in Avatar were in direct opposition to the War on Terror and martial laws that i had to learn and practice. Now that i have my citizen liberties back, i can enjoy my life more through these movies that i like; art and life as one. I may have had more direct influence on the military from within, but i have a wider range of influence with citizen liberties fully restored. For example, James Cameron could not have made that film if he was in the US Military. Enough said.

As one friend put it “It’s really good, as long as you don’t think too much about it. :)” That recommendation works for the complex experience of Avatar. It works in part for me, because I DO THINK about things too much, often. As I found myself inevitably analyzing Avatar (as i knew i would), understanding the story and relating it to my own feelings; I realized just like in real life, I am most at peace and happy when i can just relax and enjoy the experience. As soon as i find myself not coming to satisfactory conclusions about certain points, its time to shift. Sometimes the only satisfactory conclusions on issues are the satisfaction that there is not much I can do about anything except to share my thoughts with anyone that will listen, in their own time. So I can just leave things out there, to share with others.

I think comparisons are ok, but i feel like while we get the messages about multi-cultural acceptance, there are perhaps not enough movies like it to counter the amount of population that loves to hate other cultures and praise military action above all else as though it was just a sports game. That is why i am not usually harsh on fiction that has some lessons, regardless of how ‘cool’ it is. I hate to say it, but for many people no amount of lessons about cultural sharing will be enough to stop Wars. I dont blame films for that. Films like Avatar may change the minds of some, perhaps, and for that they may help to avoid real life suffering, especially if the values get passed on. Entertainment has effects on culture, for better or for worse.

If I take stories too seriously, I blame Joseph Campbell. The fact is I like stories, and love powerful fiction stories very much because we can talk about serious real issues that we can relate to, without the trauma risk that makes non-fiction too personal for debate. So I will go into the issue progressive people have with the “White Male Hero”.

What Avatar has in common with Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and Last Samurai; one “White Male Hero” is the catalyst embracing the underdog culture. It may be silly but that is the tool to engage traditional white viewers that would not be able to bridge the cultural gaps any other way. Sad, but true.

We progressives of course would be able to see a film where the aliens win, without having a saviour that is ‘one of ours’. In reality it often happens that negotiators and important figures can relate to both sides… being of mixed blood or simply mixed cultures. I do feel the “White Guy” character was over-used when Last Samurai came out years ago. An important detail to note about the “Last” movies, is that the last of the Mohicans and Samurai had figures from those cultures that actually were the “Lasts”; its just that they were the secondary characters. So it could be argued in those films that the white actors were not really the “lasts” and their importance in the plot was overblown for the sake of engaging a white audience.

There was a line about “this isnt some pagan voodoo” that bothered me, because it seemed to be negating the point of the film in relation to reality; in other words explaining that things we have dismissed as “magic” or “supernatural” can be scientifically or psychologically explained as having functions; so i would have preferred Weaver to say “This isnt pagan voodoo in the WAY YOU THINK OK IT”, so to me it was either bad writing or it was written as though she just responded off the top of her head, in either case it didnt support translation to real world morality or comprehension regarding different cultures as much as i would have liked.

Another problem is about the “leg challenged”, and Avatar seemed to ignore the fact that we can be heroes without legs or virtual reality avatars. Unfortunately Avatar does not take that problem on. So a miss there.

I guess im saying the “White Guy Hero” issue and other problems are like dirty bath water, and the other strong issues about the environment, ecosystem, nature, science, communications, non-violent conflict resolution, etc are the Baby. So we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, do we?

So yes we should have more films with indigenous heroes. It was just impossible to go from the old school “We the Cowboys good, they the Indians bad” movies to “We the Cowboys bad, They the Indians good”, at least for a population made to say the National Anthem since they were kids, members of the military, or politicians etc. The message we want probably is NOT suicide. Right?

So of course we need to find a middle road in the real world, between Good and Bad, where 2 cultures can coexist without War. Ongoing War across the Globe is one of the great challenges we face, and minds must be opened to peaceful options with peaceful tools like film entertainment, video games, and other modern engaging forms of stories. More direct political or religious approaches often seem to have less effect on War than ART. We should not give up on Peace, and we must use all of these thought-provoking tools, despite the fact that the most important messages may be lost on many.

If you can make a better film than Avatar, do it. Or if you have something already that meets the most important moral messages for our time, name it. So we progress to the next level of evolution through cosmic awareness, let’s get it on!

– Drogo

Memorial Day Ghosts of Veterans

Posted in Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2011 by Drogo

Ghosts of Veterans: Blood Stains of War

No rain can wash away the memory of all the blood spilled in the name of War.

All those who have felt the physical pains of violence, fighting, combat, battle, or war also feel the mental pains that bleed upon the guilty, innocent, pathetic, and sympathetic alike. The memory of conflict and loss in the brain box is like a blood stain on black velvet, because you cannot bleach the stain out, without turning the whole material white. You cannot remove the blood stains of War in a human mind, without a lobotomy. Likewise, you cannot remove the memory of blood stains of War on a battlefield. Long after the bodies decompose, there will remain a natural energy there that will affect all life that goes there. Sometimes nature whitewashes the past, but other times there will be an entropic scar on that land for eons. Even when nature, with her flowers and grasses, makes things soothing again; there will be some animal that will tap into the past. Some human will remember, something about the violence and death that happened there. Even from across oceans, humans will remember, so long as there are humans on this Earth. So long as humans can record history, recall history, and teach history, they will remember the blood stains. War has left countless Blood Stains, and these are the Ghosts of Veterans.

Perspective

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Military, Politics on May 18, 2011 by eposognatus

Relative cost of a few items. Figures are adjusted for inflation or are near enough to estimates made sometime between 2005-2011. I generally insist on thorough citations, but these are readily verifiable. And really, when the numbers get this big, what’s a few billion?

A Boeing 747:  $318 Million

Boston’s Big Dig: $14 Billion

The Channel Tunnel: $17 Billion

The Manhattan Project: $23 Billion

Three Gorges Dam: $25 Billion+

Bill Gates’ net worth: $56 Billion

International Space Station: $157 Billion by completion.

The entire Apollo Program: $188 Billion

U.S. Share of cost for WWII: $288 Billion

War in Afghanistan (2001-present): $405 Billion

Vietnam War: $686 Billion

NASA’s entire budget from 1958 to 2008: $790 Billion

War in Iraq (2003-present): $790 Billion

US Education Budget 2011: $880 Billion

Total US Defense Budget 2011: ~1.2 Trillion (GDP of Australia)

US Debt (as of 2011): $15.5 Trillion (GDP of United States)