Crude Facts about Combat

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War is REAL

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

Monday, May 23, 2005

to answer some questions

it seems as though my site has attracted a lot of publicity in the past few days, likely because of a link from metafilter. that's all well and good with me, and i appreciate the supportive comments that i've been getting today, but i also wanted to address a few concerns that are being brought up underneath my posts before things get out of hand too badly.

1.) i'm not anti-unit. i love my unit. well, mostly. i love the history, the decorum, and the attitude that goes with kicking ass and taking pride in our jobs....when there's a good reason to be prideful. 99 percent of the things we did in iraq last year were awesome. this unit is a fearsome fighting machine and it's amazing to watch it work, especially if you believe in what you're doing. unfortunately, there's some concerns that need to be addressed that never will be, and that's because of the political game that goes hand in hand with any military unit of action. i could never sit here and tell you that i believe in our mission in iraq at this point., though that doesn't mean that i didn't believe it at one point. i'm simply here to do a job and get out. i'm simply a cog in the machine, but i'm a cog with some very real concerns that need to be addressed before the next generation of soldiers suffers in the same way we do.

2.) that being said, i'm sick to fucking death of people telling me that i need to "man up" and "get back out there". ptsd is a sickness, not a weakness, and it's sad that most people in the military are too concerned with appearances to actually take a stand and do something about it. instead of medicating us (which they are altogether happy to do, and i'm almost-living proof of that), why not get to the root of the problem? yeah, i've been in counseling, but all the counseling sessions in the world of the army are simply dedicated to getting you back to work so you can be enslaved. yes, i take zoloft, ambien and minipres, and the only thing it's served to do is make me a zombie. yes, i work hard and i work long hours and i don't really complain, but that's not natural because i have a million complaints in me and none of them are being fixed, only coated with a nice layer of narcotics. at some point in the next month, i'm going to mental health and telling them to stick the medicine up their collective asses, because it's not helping me and i want my fucking soul back. and if they have a problem with that, if they'd rather just have a zombie working for them instead of someone who has valid complaints about the bullshit they pull, then they can kiss my ass, because i'm done being medicated.

3.) as far as this being a "scam," i would have to say that's extremely shortsighted. and also stupid. i've already said that npr is one of the few media outlets i'm going to utilize over the next year, and i'm being extremely picky about even that, as well. i have no desire for publicity, and even if this site were still being read by an audience of one, i wouldn't care, because i'm writing it for myself. the fact that my audience has just increased exponentially doesn't change anything, nor will it changed what i write about. this isn't a soapbox though it may seem that way (usually when i'm doped up on ambien), and i'm simply wanting to write what i feel so that i don't have to spend an entire day thinking about it anymore.

that being said, i do appreciate that all of you are sharing this with me and have been so supportive in sending emails today. i even had a gentleman ask where he could donate money for ptsd research, and while i can't help with that one, i'm guessing at least one of you readers probably can.

i'll check back in tomorrow with a regular post. things have been pretty low key the past few days, but that'll all change once our line troops come back from the field at the end of the week. thank christ for four-day government holidays, one of the few very real perks about working for the department of defense.

posted by warisreal at 8:18 PM
(use the links to read the comments)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Never, EVER take Ambien. If the doc prescribes it to you for sleep, tell him to suck a nut and walk away, It's supposed to help you sleep at night, but it doesn't, and before you go to bed you encounter all kinds of acidwash movements that you don't want any part of, It's quite similiar to refined peyote, and I know a few things about that. how about instead of telling our soldiers to take medicines and more medicines to clear them of the horrible stress we endure over there, we get them teamed up in focus level groups where they can talk about the things we SAW over there. Don't listen to the majors, don't go to mental health. The only "treatement" they're going to give you is a one way ticket down zoloft and ambien avenue

posted by warisreal at 5:42 PM

i just realized that there's a lot that the army has in common with "the shawshank redemption."

typically, i'd be excited right now. or drunk. or excited, and well on my way to being drunk. it's friday night, after all, and i should be planning an entire weekend of doing nothing and sitting on my ass. instead, we have to report in to work tomorrow because the rest of our unit is in the field and so thus we have to work. nevermind the fact that the rest of the entire division doesn't train on the weekends. we're different because we're hardcore, i guess.

those of you emailing ptsd links to me...thanks, but i've already gotten a ton of information on it, and i'm in a support group, and nothing really helps. even zoloft. to all you soldiers coming home from iraq...don't let them put you on zoloft. it steals your soul.

posted by warisreal at 4:00 PM

Thursday, May 19, 2005


i have something called viral conjuctivitis. i don't know what it means, but i think it's called pink eye, and they've confined me to the house for 72 hours so that no one else will be exposed to it. it doesn't hurt, but it does itch and burn and i wake up every morning with my eyes crusted over. yeah, gross, but it could be worse.

i'm using the time wisely by watching movies and reading books. i also promised a few readers that i'd expound a bit on my ptsd post from a few days back, since it was obviously a bit confusing and erratic. i did it on purpose, which most of you seemed to understand, but i wanted to clarify to those that emailed that no, i was not high on crack. or pot. or anything else. i was trying to write in a stream of consciousness manner and i guess it came off a bit disjointed, but most of my stuff tends to do that anyway since i write off the top of my head instead of thinking about it first. that might get me in trouble someday, which is why i'm writing under a fake name in the first place.

i'm getting wrapped up in the books of tim o'brien. i'd never even heard of the guy until i was browsing half price books a few weeks back and saw "the things they carried" on display. since it was only $5 and was a pulitzer nominee, i picked it up and read it in two days. absolutely amazing stuff, i thought, so i picked up "july, july" and "in the lake of the woods" yesterday. i already finished july and it was breathtakingly good, the story of ten college friends at a 30th graduation reunion and the stories they lived and the heartache they suffer from seeing all the old folks they used to hang out with. great, great stuff, but i think i'm going to take a break from o'brien and read "the tommyknockers," since that's one of very few king books i haven't gotten around to reading. oh, and there's also that book about the o.j. simpson defense that i want to tackle. i had bill clinton's book, but it's now being used to prop up my couch after a fat ass private broke it the other day.

posted by warisreal at 6:42 PM

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

part two: how i stopped learning to kill and take the pill

she says to take one of the blue pills in the morning and another in mid afternoon and oh whenever i feel severe depression coming on take on then too. i'm wondering what all these chemicals will do for me and i'm feeling very much like a lab rat. the army has one treatment for PTSD, and that drug of choice is Zoloft. despite the fact that i can barely even exist on zoloft, i started taking it and oh also the other stuff that's supposed to help with nightmares i've been having. body parts flying apart and landing all over my shoes, my face, the blood mixing with the rain and soaking my hair red, eventhough my stitches are holding up pretty well so they can't be from me.

she says, go ahead and take these little white pills. they supposedly stop nightmares before they happen, which is complete and utter bullshit just like every other time something is supposed to prevent something from happening before it begins. they don't work, Major, and so what am i left with?

she says to me, you could always go back out there, man up and be a true soldier. bitch, i was there once and i need some FUCKING HELP before i can go back and see those things again. are you not comprehending this? do i need to spell it out for you? i fucking hate the fact that i'm required to kill evil people who are only evil because our president wills them to be.

yeah, i'm going back to iraq. if i get shot at or placed in danger, i'm going to kill everything that moves on the other site. i won't enjoy doing it, but it's my job, and my battle buddies are more important to me than life itself, and THEY are the reason i'm going. screw iraq, screw bush, screw the army -- just remember that it's me and my battle buddies out there, and we are the ones fighting a sham war just so we can come home and get a nice welcome reception for being heroes, and then six months later nothing changes and we're back to being grunts.

change the cycle.

posted by warisreal at 7:43 PM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

life can be hell sometimes

i've always considered myself pretty lucky in that ever since i came in the army, i've had a pretty good set of leaders and nco's. they've always been tough but fair, and we as a platoon work extremely hard when they need us to do something. i have no problem working, because that's what i signed up to do and when something has to get done, it just makes it easier on everyone involved if we get it done right and fast the first time instead of lounging around and half-assing stuff. our leaders have also been able to foster a real aura of friendship around the platoon; depite rank, we're all friends and can shoot the shit with each other without fear of disrespect charges or things of that nature. other platoons have nco's that try to act like we're still in basic training, and i've always been glad that i haven't had to deal with that.

now, though, it's a different story. in the span of the past four days, we've gotten a new platoon sergeant and two new staff sergeants, and my life has never been more miserable. the platoon sergeant is cool, calm, and collected, and it seems like he's going to fit in quite well. one of the staff sergeants came from a support battalion and is winding down his final year in the army by spending it with us. he's 50 years old and harmless.

the other staff sergeant, however, is going to be a real pain in the ass. from the first day he got here, he's tried to make his mark by being as much of a hard ass as possible. he immediately instituted a "no cursing" rule (which i talked about earlier) and is going as far as making us ask permission to use the latrine. he's changing everything that we've done for the past two years, and implying that our standards weren't high enough and we haven't been doing a good job. which is fine and all, except he came from a tradoc (training) unit and doesn't know jack shit about what goes on in a line troop.

posted by warisreal at 3:22 PM

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

we're going through the process of getting a new platoon sergeant. i've had the same PS since the day i arrived here over two years ago, and he's been awesome and i can honestly say that i wouldn't have learned how to play the army game as well as i have if it weren't for him. he's taught me a lot, but now he's retiring and heading back home to san antonio to smoke marijuana and sit at home by a pool that takes up his entire backyard. more power to him, i say.

but anyway: the process of getting new leaders is always painful, because you've got a myriad of inspections, more inspections, and a general feeling-out period where no one quite knows what to expect and no one knows how the new guy will react. granted, he seems nice and all (which may not be a good thing with this group), but he laid out his one single rule for us today and told his his biggest pet peeve. turns out he's one of those types who despise cursing, and he would appreciate* it if we wouldn't use foul language around him. so yeah, that's not going to go over too well with a bunch of guys who kill for a living and hate their jobs.

regardless, things are still progressing nicely for the iraq deployment. we're going to get block leave after all, and i plan on using my time wisely by doing a little traveling to california.

** by that i mean, of course, that if we do it, we'll get counseling statements written up.

posted by warisreal at 7:57 PM

Saturday, May 07, 2005

media, this blog, and emails

i've enjoyed the varied correspondence from folks around the world concerning this blog and my upcoming 2nd tour of iraq. i've had letters from mothers, wives, husbands and kids who are maintaining a high level of interest in what we do and the personal touch they're able to get from this thing. truthfully, i don't write this thing for anyone but myself because i've found that it's extremely cathartic to have a place where i can vent frustrations, feelings and fears and just because someone else is able to read them, it doesn't take the release away. i did it the first time around because i wnated to keep family aware of what was happening, but it spiraled out of my control and i ended up getting in trouble and even censored because of it. that's not going to happen this time, and so that's why you'll never see my use my real name or refer to my real unit. i can't take the chance of putting myself or my buddies in danger, and i won't take the chance of getting pulled into some bullshit meeting where they try to spin my writing to make themselves look good. if you look good and you care about your soldiers, it's going to reflect in what i write, and if you're a shitbag who's only trying to get promoted to full-bird, then it'll reflect that too.

i had an offer to appear on NPR's On The Media, but my field training got in the way of creating a timely response. NPR is one of the few media outlets I will use this time around, because they tell the truth and don't have a slanted agenda that forces you in line with the rest of the rah rah troops. I did some press last time around, and it ended up getting me in more trouble than anything else so fuck it, i'm sticking solely with NPR and perhaps the guardian.

we've got ntc (national training center) coming up in a few months, followed by some block leave and then our deployment to iraq. i have exactly one year and seven months left in the army, and i'm telling you, it can't come soon enough.

posted by warisreal at 9:54 AM

Last entries before the blog ends:

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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

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.

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.

Friday, October 21, 2005

8:52 PM -

i have cq. cq sucks.

About Me

My Photo Name: warisreal

i'm a soldier by choice and a writer by necessity. i've been to iraq once already and i'm currently getting ready to deploy for a second time in the fall of 2005. these are my stories, my thoughts, and my fears as i prepare to go to combat and then finally make that long plane trip to the sandbox.

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