06 January 2006


Just as assuredly as smoking rots the lungs, wallowing in this shit rots the brain. Simple as that. Heard about this? Guy is home on leave, all giddy-n-shit, partying it up and somehow decides popping off a couple-a-rounds is the way to go about it... and one of his celebratory rounds kills a mother of two. Popped off a weapon on the wrong side of the plane ride. Shoulda saved that shit for this side of the pond homes. Not many give a fuck or two how many rounds you go poppin' off on this side of the peanuts and inflight movie. Poor dumbass. Honestly.

Course, he's gonna suck it down hard. Is gonna have to. And the sweethearts who cooked up this whole thrill ride are gonna skate the skate. Ribbons and medals and awards and promotions and laughing it up at cocktail parties and all, all serious and shit and dumbshit Joe poppin' off a few rounds back home in the hood one night on leave long, loooong forgotten. And how'd Joe get so fucked up again? And what was his point anyway? He's gonna have the rest of his life to agonize over that one.

One bullet, one life. On the wrong side of the pond. Fodder for cops and detectives and prosecutors and judges and dailies and blather radio and the entire social event around it. A trial they call that shit. Weighing the whole thing. In scales. Months of yapping. And judging. Assigning guilt and blame. Contemplating it. Debating it. And the tragedy of it all and yap yap yap yap yap.

This side of the pond bullets splode heads with the regularity of the solar cycle, which is to say, a near daily basis. No fanfare, no commotion, not much by way of drama or discussion or debate. Just physics and causality. Debate that shit? War is hell. There. Debate concluded. Cool as fuck in'it? Think Joe can use the War Is Hell argument and skate on it on your side of the pond? Maybe Joe can use brain rot as a defense. War blackens the brain. Maybe Joe can claim he wasn't quite sure which side of the plane ride he got off, claim geographic and situational disorientation or something like that.

General Assucker will claim nine-hunded-ninety-nine thousand troops done go home with nary a scare and it's all good and this nasty shit falls squarely on Joe's shoulders. Is what generals say most days. Cause they're leaders and responsible and In Command and take responsibility at all hours of the day, cause they understand the principle of leadership so thoroughly and they never EVER fuck up, NEVER and if they do, wasn't their fault, shit's complicated they'll say. Cause that's the typa leaders we got. Awesome motherfuckers who'll bend over backwards for the troops. Check out all the medals those fuckers got. How can they NOT be awesome with all that glimmer. Fuckin' A. Fucker's are so awesome... I wanna run outside and find me some occifers to salute RIGHT NOW... Ask Pvt. England. She knows. Knows all about it.

Wonder how many more Joes gonna be trippin' down the road, outside the box, outta bounds, so to speak, over the next ten, twenty years. And when they do, not if, I said... WHEN they do, not gonna see me pointing any fingers. There but for a whim of the Great Sadist Deity go I... is what I learned.

Side scribbles:

Some great emails and words of encouragement from a lot of fantastic people. Finally had a chance to update the blogroll. Wanna welcome Julie Anna, Sarah, Brian and that old warhorse Sergeant Hardcore hisself, T-Bone to the blogroll. I had to consult with the short-timers on T-Bone's enrollment, I mean, voluntarily associating with lifers-n-shit strictly being a most egregious violation of the Code-n-whatnot, but the committee ruled in favor of the link for the sake of spreading short-timer's disease. Taking one for the team so to speak. So sarge, welcome on board man. You can chew my ass out across the vast stretches of cyberspace all you want. You wrote that you were a short-timer at one point... I figure, you didn't get the right help in time so the Machine sucked you up in the end. Being a Senior Widget Master-n-all... I feel your pain sarge, I really do. I'm here trying to make sure that shit doesn't happen to other short-timers. Give these guys a warm welcome. Check out their blogs in addition to the other fantastic stuff listed here. Good reads!

Just in:

Got an email from a reader goes by the name of Guts. He started his own blog, guts on parade recently with a real passion for it and writes with a fever. Some excellent shit and thoroughly enjoyable. His January 8 post is just fucking EXCELLENT. All this awesome stuff online created by fantastic people and there are still dullards out there who plunk down cash for fifty pages of Madison Avenue crap and Writers' Shop fluff. Unbelievable. You guys are all awesome! Keep at it!

Anyone else with a blog or a web page and an interest in exchanging links just drop a line and I'll get you linked as soon as I can get around to it.


Blogger charlie said...

Tremendous stuff yet again AST and 'on the money' as many folk with no originality keep saying nowadays. Hey, the job I was in once gave me, pinned on my uniform damn near through to the skin, in a ceremony full of pomp and circumstance, a base metal medal for 'Long Service and Good Conduct'. I surely was proud... proud of the fact that they hadn't ever caught me being anything other than 'Good', conduct-wise, that is. You're gonna get yours one day AST. Hope you'll be as proud :o)

07 January, 2006 03:23  
Blogger Diane S. said...

That's always been one of the great mysteries of soldiering to me. How does one trip the "Kill" / "Don't Kill" switch?

Is that covered in a service manual? Does it just come off with the uniform?

I woke up thinking about you this morning (which was about a thousand lifetimes ago), about how the news sometimes says Not.One.Fucking.Word. about the war, and about how it seems that so many of us are completely removed from it. While I don't argue that point, I do want to remind you that there are those of us "in the world" who - on some level - live with the war every minute of every day. This damn war is my first thought every morning and my last thought every night.

God, I hate Bush. God, I hate Stop Loss. God, I hate the War Powers Act and the Patriot Act, and God, I just want you guys to come home.

Sorry to veer so wildly off topic. Just a long day with the war for me. Know it was for you too man.

07 January, 2006 20:06  
Blogger Guts said...

You know, I was watching this show on the Discovery channel "I Should Not Be Alive" and it's all these stories about people who lived through just crazy shit -- crashing in the desert and breaking both your legs, lost at sea and thinking about eating people to stay alive -- and these folks can't believe they made it. This blog is like that. Only funnier and there's no sharks or lions.

07 January, 2006 22:04  
Blogger The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Guts makes a good point.

We should start shipping sharks and more lions to the Raq, immediately.

08 January, 2006 11:16  
Blogger julie anna said...

You are so right. I know of a few guys from this post alone who came home from Iraq, tripped out, and ended up killing thier wives or other civilians. I can't stand to think that the military law is so strict that they won't even take into consideration where they have just come from.

Thanks for the welcome! So, uh...when's your book coming out?

08 January, 2006 15:25  
Blogger Sara said...

Just so you know, I have to consciously think of how to properly pronounce the word "officer" thanks to your blog and your use of the term "occifer." Thanks. ;-)

08 January, 2006 20:58  
Blogger Middle Child said...

There would have to be a period of desensitising... masks, helmets goggles..the other not us.

Have you checked out Micheal Ruppert the author of "Crossing the Rubicon" makes sense of so much thats happening...

alos a dvd or video called "Blowin' in the wind" about the sickness form the nuclear material depleted uranium used in the warheads and how it spreads and effects soldiers cicilians and circulates round the hemisphere... see http://www.bsharp.net.au/

08 January, 2006 23:08  
Blogger TBone said...

diane s. said - "This damn war is my first thought every morning and my last thought every night."

For me, the first thing on my mind in the morning is coffee, and the last thing is sleep. I don't want to sound flippant, but I try not to focus on the silly shit. War is silly shit in my book. The policeman in Compton has more worries than most soldiers in Iraq but the American population doesn't put him in their prayers.

I'm also worried about my kid getting addicted to methamphetamines, or getting busted for trying to manufacture MDMA, and not graduating high school. I wonder once in a while whether I will be old and alone...that really could suck. I am not scared of the ghosts of Iraqis past, present, or future.

Homeboy who cracked off celebratory rounds wasn't thinking too clearly...prolly was well into a few 40's when he squeezed the trigger. He handled his business the way he was predisposed to do it. I sat on the couch in a bathrobe, drank beer for a month, and played X-Box while my wife was at work. I finally exorcised my demons after a while. It's all about choices.

PS. Thanks for the vote of confidence in me AST. I'll try to take care of you the best I can. Maybe your boy "snag" had me figured out after all..."brilliant parody".

08 January, 2006 23:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your sight via another blog. just want to let you know that I have been reading your blog for the last 2 hours and it just blew me away. You write so effortless and so smooth, all I can say is wow man. Wow. please keep it up and get home safe and in one piece and hope you do something with this blog.

09 January, 2006 15:18  
Blogger Puma said...

No Writer's Shop fluff there. You write incredibly well, and I hope you decide to write more when you get home. Shove the truth right up their Glimmering Responsible Leader Asses.

There's room at the top I'm telling you still
but first you must learn how to smile as you kill
if you want to be like the folks on the hill
Working Class Hero is something to be

Get back to where you once belonged soon.

10 January, 2006 11:44  
Blogger The Statistics said...

They are building homes for veterans here in the states. I have seen them up close. They aren’t to far removed from the barracks living conditions. And, just to help us adjust to the real world they disallow certain self destructive activities such as free will and independence. There is a jail cell waiting each and every one of us.

I got veteran friends who are unemployed, homeless, in prison, institutionalized, hooked on drugs, alcoholics, habitual bar brawlers, beat their wives, beat their children, beat their girlfriends, afraid to leave the house, afraid to drive a car, afraid to return to America and some that have already swallowed their celebratory fire. These names will never be on any memorial wall.

The Heretic

11 January, 2006 13:19  
Blogger One Veteran said...

It's hard to leave the war behind. Tbone is being flippant, of course, and projecting the image of the hardcore NCO that he is, which is cool, but the fact that he has a blog about the war leads me to believe that he thinks about the war too, maybe just a little. I don't know if any Compton police officers have had RPGs shot at them, or been mortared, or IED'd. I think about the war every day, maybe after my coffee. PTSD is such a narrow notion, a convenient way of diagnosing and categorizing a very broad and very human reaction to seeing people engage in coordinated insanity. Every sane person who really experiences war is shaken up by it. Every single person. Some poor souls will let it get the best of them. They are casualties of war, and they aren't being taken care of adequately by our government. It is about choices. When someone falls, help them up. At least try to understand why they fell.

12 January, 2006 12:58  
Blogger TBone said...


You're right, I was being flippant. After my first tour, I was okay; but after my second tour I was a shaken. Noises set me off alot at first, I had weird dreams, and I nearly slapped my wife once when she woke me up by shaking my shoulders ...she ended up shaking my foot from the end up the bed in order to wake me.

I sometimes think about some of the things I saw and did, and wonder if I could have done things differently. I think about faces at a funeral I attended and feel very sad for the family whose Daddy won't be coming home. The fucked up part is he extended (his retirement paperwork was already accepted at DA) to go to Iraq "one last time". Well, it was his last time fo sho.

That kind of shit sucks. Look folks, I ain't no hardcore. I just keep doing what I'm doing so I can make it to retirement. Most of this shit doesn't bring me any pleasure anymore...it used to, but I am really fucking tired now. The only thing that kept me in was the people I work with. I have worked with some of the best people any man can work with...true friends who would give their lives for me. That kind of shit means something to me in a world where most people don't give a fuck about anything but the paycheck. Yeah, people say they believe in things, but when the time comes to put it on the line they come up short.

I think the military is a culture most people can't relate to, but I was fortunate enough to have some real good times. Where else can you get paid to travel, work, and get drunk in fucked-up third-world shitholes? I joined when I was 18, and except for a short break after my first enlistment (I couldn't let my short-timer's calendar be for naught could I?), I've been in all my adult life. That's why I say what I say...it's my perspective.

Okay, sorry for the rant.

13 January, 2006 00:13  
Blogger Puma said...

Actually TBone, that helps me understand your point of view far better. I can't imagine your not being tired, after all these years in. And you are right that many people seem to not "give a fuck about anything but the paycheck." There is an aspect of your job (the confrontation with visceral humanity and the immediacy of putting your life on the line for another) that is rarely reproduced in other kinds of jobs, and even so, is an experience that is unique. Once you have seen something, you can't un-see it. A soldier can't just paper over their experience and assimilate into a society that practically begs them not to talk about it. Most people in the U.S. fall into that "paycheck" mentality you describe, and it seems it's usually used as a way of avoiding having to think about their own visceral humanity.

13 January, 2006 07:40  
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