Over the past few weeks I have been in contact with a current member of the U.S. Army. I asked him if he would be willing to answer some questions for my blog about himself and his involvement with the United States military. This is how it went:
How old were you when you decided you wanted to join the military?
I was seventeen when I decided that I was going to the army.
When did you enlist?
I enlisted August 27, 2007. Immediately after finishing summer school and receiving my diploma.
What were the motivations and influences behind your decision?
I played way too many video games when I was young. After a recruiter talk to me and my mom, it was pretty much written in stone. I was fast, strong, and a bit reckless, so it sounded perfect. Also, I could not afford, nor do I think that I would have survived, college. I wanted to help fight terrorism. In addition, the bonus ($30,000) was too tempting to pass up.
What were your pre-enlistment beliefs of the United States and of the world outside?
I still believed in the country and the government at the time. I was extremely naive, and knew nothing abut the world around me at the time that I joined. In short, I thought that America was the best and most righteous country there ever was.
Can you give me a description of what your biggest influences were growing up and how they effected your beliefs of your country and the world outside it?
I think that my biggest influences were video games, television, and society in general. School was an amazingly efficient indoctrination center in that, the lies of omission were astonishing. Television hardly portrayed life outside of the United States, so thinking about other countries was not common. Also, America is nearly always portrayed as the "good guys" or in a positive light, so to speak. The general consensus (though it sounds farfetched) is that if you were not born in America, then it sucks to be you, and it is your fault.
What was your opinion on the military, specifically that of the United States, and your thoughts towards war in general?
I thought that the US military was made up of the bravest men and women of the country. I thought that folks in the military were tough and all about the team. I knew nothing about the unbelievable sexual assault rate in the military. Also, I thought that wars were always justified. I never would have guessed that War is a Racket.
What were your beliefs on 9/11 and the "War on Terror" prior to your enlistment?
I thought that 9/11 was an evil attack on the American people and justified the war on terror. I had no idea how many foreign civilians were being killed; or that three buildings actually fell on 9/11.
What about the countries the U.S. was fighting against?
I had never heard of Iraq or Afghanistan before the wars and I knew hardly anything about them until I joined. I honestly thought that they were just crazy Muslims attacking America out of hatred. It never dawned on me that they might be slightly upset about us invading their countries; or that 9/11 could have been a false flag operation.
What was the extent of your knowledge of 9/11 and of the reasons your country was at war upon being enlisted? How did they differ from pre-enlistment beliefs?
Before I enlisted, and at the time of my enlistment, my beliefs about 9/11 remained the same for the most part. I still thought that 19 Arabs hijacked planes and attacked America unprovoked. I never looked at any of the evidence for myself or tried to figure out exactly what happened. I believed everything that the media said. I did not listen to the mainstream media because I recognized their fear mongering at an early age; but I got my information from others that only listened to the mainstream media.
Upon joining the military, what were your intentions?
I wanted to get some action like I did all the time in the video games. I needed that bonus to buy what I wanted in life. Also, I needed the money for college, if I were to decide I wanted to go at some point. I wanted to serve the country and earn my citizenship, in a sense.
Why did you enlist? Why did you choose to fight overseas?
I enlisted because my options were extremely limited and it seemed ideal at the time. I knew that I would be sent overseas upon enlisting and I was glad. Upon learning more about what was really going on, I wanted to avoid going to Iraq and hit Afghanistan instead; as I felt that war was more justified. Later on, while in Iraq, I realized that no aspect of the "War on terror" is justified, even remotely.
How long were you in the military for before you were sent overseas?
I was in the military for almost two years before I went overseas. We did a lot of training and stuck together a bit. After hearing so many stories about Americans being killed overseas, Muslims seemed less and less human. Thinking back on it, the racism almost seems systematic. We were trained to disregard the Iraqis' civil rights. In a sense, we were their masters. It seems logical (though not moral) given that we had the bigger guns.
Where did you first serve and for how long?
I did basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia for 14 weeks. Then I was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where I did most of my training for the previous two years. I am currently in Baqubah, Iraq. Our tour was for a year, and we have less than 90 days left.
Has anything occurred that may have altered any of your beliefs? If so, what has changed and what caused the alteration?
My beliefs changed profoundly after I started reading about a year into my service. Initially, I mainly focused on Black History, war, and philosophy in regards to the books that I looked for. I became utterly disgusted with the US government as result of what I learned. I felt that it was even more odious I did not learn any of this information in school.
Funny enough, when I arrived in Kuwait, which is a mandatory stop for all soldiers on the way to Iraq, I happened to watch the renowned Loose Change documentary. To put it lightly, it blew my head away. I started digging deeper to see if the information was valid or just nonsense. What I found was surreal, to say the least.
What would you say about the military training and information given in accordance to the "War on Terror"? Was it accurate?
The training and information that we received was fairly decent. We were prepared to defend ourselves and do what we thought was right. We had no idea who owned KBR or when the war would actually be won. We were told very little about the culture of the people, right up until it was time to deploy. At which time, we were informed on some basic do's and don't's. We were never told why the people are really attacking us; or that they might just want their country back. They never asked us to come get rid of Saddam, even though it is my understanding that we put him in power.
What are some events, people, books or videos that may have, opened your eyes so to speak?
IVAW is one organization that I would credit. Various people that I have talked to on the internet; who suggested topics for me to look into. Also, I would credit Alex Jones and Ron Paul to an extent. Two books that really changed my life: Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. As far as videos I would strongly recommend the latest version of Loose Change to everyone; especially those with Friends and/or family in this war. There is a myriad of articles that have left me stunned. One that I feel everyone should read is called "False Pretences"; it is about Bush's 935 lies in regards to Iraq.
Is there anything else you want to add in regards to:
To say that the current public education system is a debacle would be a detrimental understatement. Students learn how to obey orders. Critical Thinking is overrated. Independent thought is shunned.
There is so much History left out of school nowadays. The average student has no idea what the Gulf of Tonkin incident is; that both Kennedy and MLK were killed as a result of conspiracies, or MLK was murdered for his anti-war rhetoric rather than his demands of Civil Rights; what the Bill of Rights are; that we funded the Taliban at one point; etc. It is simply odious. Also, children learn absolutely nothing about Black History in regards to before Africans were forced to come to America. It is asinine, in my humble opinion.
The government is completely out of control and has no restrictions. The Constitution is essentially null and void. If people knew what the Declaration of Independence actually says, and the Truth about who controls the economy (Federal Reserve Bank) the government would likely be overthrown immediately.
To Quote Ron Paul: "The roll of government is to defend our Civil Liberties. If we have those intact, the rest will fall into place." Right now, it would be impossible to think of any aspect of life that the government does not reach into. The government is simply too big, and the foundations of America have been all but forgotten. It is literally mind-boggling. People are afraid of the government which is completely opposite of how the country should be. The government is supposed to be afraid of its people.
3) Mainstream Media
The mainstream media is likely the most despicable corporation in America. They are essentially the Fourth Branch. The average citizen learns most of his/her information from the mainstream media. So if the mainstream media vehemently refuses to report on the collapse of WTC 7, then we will have current estimates of about 5% of Americans even knowing about WTC 7. The American people are so unbelievably gullible, and the mainstream has perfected their propaganda techniques. People turn to the mainstream when they want to know how they should feel about matters. If the American people knew the Truth, there is no telling what they would do to the corporate media whores. In theory, their job is to be objective and tell the American people what others would rather they remained ignorant about. In actuality, the media is merely a mouthpiece and is controlled by only a few people. There is no free press. One will never see a 9/11 first responder, family member or survivor on FOXNews talking about why they do not believe the official story.
For more information on how the mainstream media screws the American people, and ultimately the world, please see War Made Easy
4) Any other subject that can be related to this.
One other matter that I feel needs to be stated here is that the soldiers currently "rebuilding" Iraq and Afghanistan could not care less about either country. We are only here because rank dictates. It is commonly known that if a lack of interest could cancel missions, then we would never roll outside the wire. There are people losing their homes and jobs in America while we pretend to care about a foreign country. It completely defies logic and common sense. Nearly everyone is open (at times) about how they cannot wait to get back to states; how much he/she misses his/her family; and just general disdain for Iraq. Soldiers are frank when they state that they are only doing this for their family. Yet, one has to wonder if we would ever do missions if my fellow soldiers knew the Truth about this war. Luckily, there are rules preventing me from sharing what I know. At any rate, most of them remain willfully ignorant.
What personal transitions have you undertaken since joining the military and serving overseas?
Personal transitions that I have undertaken since joining the military. I like to think that I have started exercising Critical Thinking a lot more. I focus more on mental strength as opposed to that of physical. I realized that the cliche about Knowledge being power is true. I have become much more critical and untrusting of the establishment. I do not care about money as much now that I know the Truth about the US economy and who controls it. I try to avoid obtuseness and still enjoy life at the same time. Take care of the people that I love and have fun. At the same time, I know that the future depends on what we do now, so I continue to speak out against the war and inform the public via facebook for now. When I get back from Iraq, and eventually out of the army, I plan on being extremely vocal and active in communities.
What are you doing now?
I am currently doing what I can to awake the public and maintain my sanity while in Iraq. Sometimes Friends of mine and I will take over fan pages with a lot of young people. Essentially, we flood them with information that we feel they need to know, all at the same time. I continue to find out for myself what is really going on in the world, and share the information with anyone bold enough to ask me my opinion. It is extremely rare to have an intellectual conversation with someone in the military. Also, when I do not have work to do, I try to take a break from the world and spend time with my lady Friend.
How did the military treat you during your time in service? Did this change at all?
I was treated fairly decently throughout my service because I did not question the system; I was highly motivated; and I was extremely fit. There was slight racism due to my dark skin, but I handled it accordingly. Once I started to think for myself and question my spoon-fed reality, I began to really sense the unwelcomeness. One would think that the government was infallible from where the other soldiers were sitting. Needless to say, they had never heard of the Tuskegee Experiment; PFC LaVena Johnson; 50 million dead Africans in the Atlantic Ocean; the incarceration rate of Blacks in America; etc. Neither are these matters important to them. Once I learned the Truth about 9/11, and had the audacity to talk about it, I was essentially ostracized. Some of it is due to fear, but soldiers seem to generally hate anything that goes against the grain. It is difficult to fathom, whilst I am even living it!
To close, the Youth are the future, the key, and the only hope. They are tomorrow's military. The hand that rocks the cradle truly does rule the world. If people want to change the human course at all, they have to focus on the Youth. My personal motto is to: Above all else, Awake the Youth (aka The Sleeping Giant).
I was hoping to ask Malik more extensive questions on his experiences but as he was recently given a gag order from his chain of command, being directed to cease being opinionated and to keep "controversial" facts to himself, as he has recently begun sharing them across Facebook. He is now unable to post as he wishes on Facebook and must follow these orders and not continue sharing facts with others as he chooses to do so. These are facts - Funny how things work. Regardless, in less than three months he will be home.