I reclined in the driver's seat, listening to the occasional boom of a controlled detonation as we were out and about, cleaning bad shit out in some area. Y'know, good shit, throwing a wrench in the Bad Guys' plans and whatnot. Felt pretty damn good about it. I wasn't doing shit, mind you, but I was there, involved in SOMETHING other than a goddamn meeting. And I started thinking.

Yeah, I hate Iraq. I hate being here. This place is one big long shit-smear if you ask me. But let's look beyond my simple opinion and look at this whole mess for what it is.

"I hate our President."

But you elected him. One way or another.

"I hate this war and I think it's not solving anything."

But it's already well underway, with no sign of stopping. We're COMMITTED now. You can't keep debating it. Once you commit to something like this, you have to see it through. It's like everyone WANTS us to just say, "Fuck it," and quit. Throw in the towel. Oh well, we tried.

Fuck that. We leave, and this region turns to shit, and the guys we buried are in the ground for nothing. We already stepped in this turd. Our boots already have the shit on them. Why back away now? Finish the job.

Ever wonder what happened to that American Ideal? Weren't we untouchable? The new great power, standing for all sorts of righteous and good and kickass ideals? A nation of John Wayne, hard-working shit-shoveling hardasses? Guess we've lost sight in a few things.

So maybe instead of pulling out, and succumbing as a nation to Dr. Phil sensitivity, we should pull the fucking plug on the shit spraying from the TV. All those shows geared to making you stupid? What do you need it for?

Your penis is too small, and you are too fucking fat. You aren't beautiful and glamorous and you need to drive this big fuckin' car. Buy, consume, fear, spend, succumb, stop thinking. Wouldn't that be great? Lovely.

Sean Penn doesn't know a goddamn thing. Neither does Bono. Give them a nation and watch it crumble. The news flash is thus: It's an ugly world, kids. Sometimes we have to get ugly with it. Especially when we've committed ourselves to this region, for whatever reason, the reason doesn't even matter anymore, because it's US standing in that Fatal Funnel, and you gotta fight through that shit, son, or else it's your ass.

So pull the media out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop with the sensationalism, because that TOO has a fucking dollar sign attached to it. You bitch about this all being for oil, monetary greed and corruption, but everything you can even FATHOM has a price tag on it. Such is the folly of civilization.

Stop being lazy and cowardly. Better yourself, in whatever way. Become stronger, faster, SMARTER, more determined. Create something.

How many times do you see Americans acting like they're ASHAMED of being an American? You slap a ribbon magnet on your car, doing your part for the war effort and supporting the boys and all that, while tucking your tail in between your legs because the rest of the world doesn't like us so much, cuz we're just too aggressive.

Wait, no we aren't. We're being monitored by the media. So they can twist and edit and cut out this detail for that. To sell the big story. Prostitutes, every last one of them. You don't trust a corner-whore, why put money in the pocket of these bottom-feeders?


When I was a kid, I always thought that America never submitted, never took shit from anyone. That no matter what, we rose above whatever was thrown at us. We're an incredible nation and we're afraid to admit it. I say fuck anyone who doesn't like it. I'm a goddamn American, and I am PROUD of that. Sparta doesn't have shit on us.

Take a goooood long look at the people we're up against. Are we really so bad? Fuck Bono. Fuck Green Day. Fuck all those call girls who soak up YOUR money just to badmouth you. To patronize you. Fuck 'em all.

We may have been dealt a shitty hand, but goddammit, you PLAY that shit. You play til you're out of chips. Because we weren't raised to be quitters and whiners. By showing interior weakness, you do nothing but empower the people who want us eradicated. Sorry, but your kindergarten teacher was full of shit. We CAN'T all get along. Nice try, Ghandi, but I live in the real world, and it's cold 'n' ugly, but there's plenty of good in it as well.

"But the People have a right to know."

The People also aren't going to understand it all when they aren't there in the thick of it. I don't care about spreading democracy or looting for oil or whatever the fuck we're doing. But I damned sure don't want to come home only to find in a couple years that my time was wasted here.

So, please, America, or whatever is left of you, turn off the TV. Let go of the reins. Let us do it and do it RIGHT.


Burned Out

Someone pokes me in the back until I wake up and I roll over.

I fucking hate this place.

All I do is lay there, for about ten minutes or so, until I know that I can't spare another minute without being late. Late to wait. Late to be a presence on a truck for a day and come back having accomplished nothing.

Shouldn't have believed the commercials, there, stud.

The wind chills the back of your neck while you stand in the air guard hatch watching shitty cars pulled over to the side of the road as you pass. You're going to go somewhere and wait. There is absolutely no question about it. You'll probably be back sometime during dinner time.

You slap a mag in your rifle and charge a round, and you have no idea why you're even bothering. Just doing it out of habit, to appease that tiny little voice that says, "Well maybe something will happen today..."

Mud clings to your boots and sucks up gravel and it hangs on to you like bastardly little stowaways, smears your seat when you stand on it, and that uniform that you just picked up from the laundry point gets fresh mud on the legs before you even leave the wire. Your nose runs because it's cold. God help you if you keep a calendar.

You don't even bother to curse the politics and the complexities of American Presence in Mess O'Potamia. It doesn't matter and it would drive you insane anyway. Remember, you're Joe and you don't understand shit.

When I'm a good dog, they sometimes throw me a bone...

It's the same fucking routine, all the time, and where the hell is all the distress and the chaos and the ka-boooom and the Oh FUCK and the bratttbratttbratt of small arms fire, shrapnel and debris and little fires, good guys vs. bad guys. Where the fuck is this WAR I was supposed to go fight?

Meetings with local officials? Are you fucking SERIOUS?! THIS is what an entire day is devoted to? And the day after that? So that in the end, we're spending weeks and months for MEETINGS and bullshit sessions?

I am fucking SICK of your chai. I'm sick of your mandatory hospitality. I'm sick of your rugrat little bastard kids chasing my Stryker demanding footballs. Fuck, they'll beg for them when I'm out walking around. I pat my pockets, patronizing them. "Nope, no football here."

Sick of your mangey dogs and your shitty construction, and I am DAMN sick of your police and your soldiers and your local militia. Sick of sitting in a courtyard during a meeting while your cronies and underlings surround me and ask me questions in Arabic.

"Blah blah hubba bubba bling blong," one babbles.

"Shway Arabi," I answer. Little Arabic.

"Mumbo jumbo, dae wonna wonga, kun casa Han Solo."


"U tini?!"

"Oh, yeah I get ya! Haha, right on man! I don't understand a fucking WORD you're saying! And I don't care, isn't that great? I hate you and all of your friends, with a blind passion! I really do, hahaha, oh ho HAAHAHA, isn't that a fucking TRIP?"

"Unga bunga blah blah hullabaloo etc etc etc wonk."

"Gotcha, your boy Rico Suave here, with the gelled hair, is cheating on you with that guy by the door. That's a damn shame man. In my country, one of you is bound by honor to run from that anguish by doing pitiful off-broadway productions."

They leave my friends alone, because my friends don't say shit to them. But no, I start off being a decent guy, and I regret it. Every fucking time. I've never had my ass saved by any of them. I'm missing my brother's 18th birthday and high school graduation because they don't have the balls to police their own country. What the FUCK do I have to say to them?

One of them hands me a cup of steaming hot chai. As I take it, for a brief second, I consider splashing it in his face, scalding the shit out of him. Maybe headbutting him right in the nose for good measure.

I don't see any war here. So what am I doing here?

"...for the security and the continued prosperity and..."

Don't even bother explaining, I'm not listening. I freely admit that I am Joe and I don't give a shit, and I don't see the big picture. But these Big Picture planning types don't see the little picture either. Difference is, they're in charge, and I'm not.

A kid waves and holds his hands up, "Mista! Football!"

I reach into my sleeve pocket and toss out an empty can of dip. Have a hockey puck.

If I get stop lossed and deployed again, I'm going to puke blood. Why deploy me a second time? We need to waste MORE fuckin' time out here? Nothing I have done in MONTHS has meant dick. Other than being a presence here.

"But you're here to help them stabilize and--"

Ah ah ah, hush. Maybe at one point I was bleeding-heart enough to care, but you wanna know something? Society will always find a way. We're supposed to prevent their inevitable civil war? Is that it? Why? Because the democracy we're spoonfeeding them is so much better? Give me a goddamn break.

Either we're here, bored, until that freak occurance happens where we lose someone, and have no one to strike back against, or we're back in the US, watching CNN with a case of beer and sick, sadistic gut-laughs erupting from the depths of our selfish, black little hearts.

The Trade Towers! The WMDs! Saddam! Stabilization! Foothold in the Middle East!

None of us ever cared about any of that. We all signed on to go to WARRRRRR.

To sling lead downrange, cold stares and loud bombs and dead bad guys squishing under our feet. To fuck the world with the big dick of democracy. Wreak total havoc and be hailed as heroes for it. That's what we wanted at first.

Next thing I know it, I've been here for way too long and everything is way too dull and the world is moving on without me, and I'm at the outpost talking to a friend of mine, and he says something that makes a lot of sense.

"This is all bullshit. All of it. I could understand if we were like, on our borders or beaches or harbors or something kicking ass and fighting back an invading force or something, then I would be behind this a hundred percent, but this is fuckin' BULLSHIT man."

So all those romantic notions of kicking down a door and pouring into a house with your buddies and fighting in close quarters, fighting for your fucking life and nothing else, filling that zealot bastard full of lead and letting him bleed out on the floor while you take off your helmet, light a cigarette, and strike a pose, it ain't there.

The boys who did all that serious Oh FUCK fighting, they'd be the first to tear away every romantic notion of it and expose it for the nonsensical clusterfuck it is, but for everyone else, every young Joe who's trained up for two fuckin' years to go fight it, what the hell do you expect from them? Fill their heads with all this shit about intense fighting and testing yourself in combat and all sorts of other boner-inducing cliches, then send them to be a mere PRESENCE in the aftermath of this bumblefuck and watch them scratch their heads.

And watch them get cynical, quick, fast, and in a big hurry.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I still don't want more than I can chew. I don't care if I never fire my rifle again. But if we aren't FIGHTING, then why keep us here? Let the fucking POGs patrol these areas, give us new spots to go kick ass in, or else just send us home.

"It's not that simple."

Bullshit, I say it's that simple. I'll go back to being trigger happy on a fucking X-Box, where there are no consequences, where that shit belongs. Boozing and bullshitting and shamming and romancing and being a good ol' American boy going batshit crazy gorging myself on a well-cooked Turkey, surrounded by extended family, not worrying about a damn thing. That's where I oughta be if I'm not putting my ass on the line for a real fight.

We signed up for a fight. Not to play Day Care for this god-forsaken wasteland. Every day I ask myself, "THIS is what I put my life on hold for?"

I'm going to be sick.


Exodus Vs Institutionalization

I’ve been away for a long time. A really long time. Almost a year, non-stop.

A YEAR in the wastelands. A year in a place that only exists in headlines for the rest of the world. A mythical terrible place where all kinds of horrific things happen. But you know, this place isn’t so horrific to me. Nah, this is normal. All of it. Me looking the same as everyone else. All of us, wearing the exact same thing. The only caste system is the rank system. There’s no rich or poor among us, not visibly. We all have jack shit.

None of us are driving nice cars. None of us are well dressed or eating at expensive restaurants. None of us are getting into the exclusive clubs. NONE OF US ARE ON YOUR FUCKING A-LIST. None of us blow coke with the Brat Pack. Apparently we compete for headlines though.

Nah, we’re all a step above transient, and we’ve pretty much forgotten that.

We aren’t stuck in traffic like you. We aren’t wearing suits and ties. We aren’t carrying briefcases.

Mr., we deal in lead.

We barely remember what red lights look like. What the fuck is a shopping mall? QVC? WHAT? What the hell are you TALKING about?

Y'see, most of our guys have already been on leave. Most. I can't imagine what it's like for them to go home, then turn around and come back to Iraq. Pick up and do it all over again. Tearful goodbye at the airport, again. Going home for leave, seems like a masochistic cocktease to me. Dangle it right there in front of you, give you a little taste, then snatch it back, fill your nose with the shit-smell of the Raq once again. Probably over faster than a dream. And twice as faded out and dissipating with each minute.

I've been here for almost a YEAR. How does one go back to normal for such a short period of time? I won't do it. A friend and I are going far, faaaaaaaaaaar away and not looking back until we're on the bird again. [Those of you who know where I'm going, do me the favor of not mentioning it in comments or anything, not til I'm back here.]

For three weeks, it's nothing but boozing and sight-seeing, gawking and staring and soaking it in, a controlled experiment to see just how we handle civilization, with a healthy degree of insanity and recklessness. Minor consequences be damned. I'll get my R&R, you can be damned sure of it. Sensory overload in every sense of the word. Suck it dry.

I've got to pile the foreign on. Can't let myself be teased with a little normality. Normal isn't normal to me anymore. Not for now. When it's all said and done, I'll do my readjustments, and permanently. I'm not trying to switch it on and off and on again.

Hey man, I've been keeping up as best as I can with what's going on back there. Sounds like everyone's doing good. Me? Yeah I'm doing really well too. Counting days, taking it easy, you know the drill.

Oh, no, nah, I don't think I'm going to come home yet. Got too much other stuff to do. Y'know, wanted to see this other place and all. Thought I'd just get it out of the way now.

Ok, yeah, you caught me. Here's the truth then. I'm not ready to come home dude, sorry. I'm not ready to see all the old things I left behind, not for three bullshit weeks. I don't want to be on those same streets, except be looking for dudes with guns on rooftops or in windows. I don't want to cruise the main drag thinking, "Fucking Christ! This bastard is WAY too close to us! 100 meters, you dumb cocksucker! What's he trying to get lit up? That car could be loaded with explosives! What? I'm back in the World? Ha, oh man, ha ha ha, that's right. Good thing you're driving huh? FUCK DUDE, LOOK OUT MAN! DID YOU NOT SEE THAT SHIT IN THE ROAD? Oh yeah, things don't explode here. I forgot."

I guess I'm just not ready to see you guys and hear, "What's it like?" when I know at most, you want it all summed up in thirty seconds, and you'll just nod and change the subject, sorry you even asked. After all, you support the troops and not the war, even though you don't even know what that bullshit means. I mean fuck, you heard some face on TV spout that bullshit off, and you hopped right on that fucking bandwagon with the rest of them, cuz goddammit, it sounded REEEEAAAAALL good to you didn't it? You fake motherfucker.

What's my problem? Are you serious? It's not obvious to you? You got your prying, curious eyes on me, looking for that Vietnam Stare and all the Hollywood bullshit about us Fucked Up American Troops, the hidden casualties of war and all that other verbal pornography for headlines. Fuck you dude, I didn't get so much as an email from your sorry ass.

Shit man, you can keep it. You keep your Hot Topic and American Idol and Survivor. Keep your Doc Martens and Skoal Bandits. Keep your digital cable and high speed internet and your nice new car. Stay just as stupid as the rest of them.

And that's when you tell everyone that I've changed, that something's weird and I'm not the same. And I go back to Iraq.

That's the worst case scenario, anyway. I won't do it. I'm taking time off, like we're supposed to, to forget it all for a while, let loose, to be no one, to have been nowhere, to know nothing. Just an outsider with no history or background. Just for a few weeks. Then come back here and finish up.

And then come home. For good. Take the time needed to readjust, and close the book on this shit once and for all. The people back home deserve that much from me. And in time, I'll gladly reassimilate into the World.

The car, the job, the big fuckin' television. The 12 year old kid on Xbox Live claiming to have relations with my mother while he stomps me in the new Tom Clancy game. The despicable horrors of reality TV. Of traffic and pedestrian laws. Finding the last dying remnants of The American Dream. Scratching my dog's ass. Mouthing off to my dad, challenging his manhood. Re-learning how to fish. Taking the trash out. Working for minimum wage. Acting stupid with my brothers. Driving around in cars with no armor. Sunshine and happiness and a pair of sunglasses that aren't ballistic. Real breakfast, restaurants, bars, casinos, movie theaters, godawful shopping malls. Holidays.

Being one with you assholes again. Here's to you. My first drink in a foreign land of leisure is dedicated to all of you.


A New Hope

Alright, before I bust another literary nut with reckless abandon and no consideration, I think I owe some of you an explanation.

I'm not a hateful rebelious little bastard 24/7. I've still got the ol' priorities straight, I still stay as sharp as I can out in sector, and I know better than to get myself in trouble with my superiors. It breaks down like this, chief:

This was a nice, heartwarming little blog all nice and generally innocent and tongue in cheek. But shit started to catch up with me. I was having nightmares about Iraq every night, not sleeping for shit. Getting stressed the hell out over stupid shit, losing my patience, damn near having anxiety/anger attacks. Heading towards a level of crazy that Pink Floyd could never fathom.

It got to the point where I said "Fuck it." I told my platoon sergeant that if he could let me stay back, and count it as an off day, I had something I needed to take care of. I didn't tell him what. Then I took my raw nerves and rabid ass to see the combat stress docs. I filled out paperwork, answered literally hundreds of questions, I threw it all out there for them. Opened the floodgates. Talked about explosions and whizzing bullets and dead bodies and losing guys, the kind of guys you wish would always be around. I straight up popped a verbal X-Lax and went to town on these guys.

They stood there, nodding, and then they gave me fucking BENADRYL as a sleep aid. I could have gone to the PX, bought some myself, and been done with the whole ordeal in a half hour. When I came back for a follow-up, they told me I have some PTSD symptoms (nothing too extreme thank god) and a strange case of depression in which I have absolutely no feelings of sadness. Granted, the questions they have you answer on paper don't leave much room for explanation, so I brushed that one off.

Here's the kicker. You know what they told me?

"Suspect, what you should do, is you should start writing about what you experience here. You'll find that it's a great outlet and it's very therapeutic."

I'm reminded of A Perfect Circle's "The Package" as I nod and nod and acknowledge and try to get them to get to the point, the end result, so I can go on about my business. Where they stop jerking me around and tell me "This is what's going to happen." I nodded my head through two hours of foreplay to find that it was all just a cocktease.

The Benadryl left me groggy and feeling like shit the next day. All that horseshit about Combat Stress Control being a great program and really helping soldiers, all the pamphlets and smiling Joes shaking hands with Majors and everyone's completely carefree, it's all just another handjob for the mind. In the picture, everyone's happy and having a great time, but where are the guys that were killed out here? Where's all that baggage that brought Joe in there?

Maybe I just wasn't sent to the right exorcist.

I finally just got fed up. I sat down at the computer one night and realized that I wasn't even being honest with myself, and as a result, I wasn't being honest with anyone who reads this. So, ladies and gentlemen, the gloves came off. I stopped pulling punches and I let it all out, full bore, Shotgun Journalism, raw and full of piss and vinegar, with a LOT of ignorance and lack of wisdom, because that's what Joe is. He's uninformed and sees only the little picture, and it's a fucked up little picture too, and he gets pissed, and he bitches and fumes.

This shit-for-brains blog became a drain, and as a routine, I'd sit down and cut open that putrid vein and bleed all the bullshit out. And you know what? Since taking off the Disney label, I haven't had ONE nightmare about Iraq. I've slept like a baby, and I haven't come even CLOSE to losing it.

The downside is, as great as I feel, you hardly ever get to see it. You get the Hate, the dump. Because if I wasn't writing about that, I wouldn't be writing at all. Nothing interesting has happened lately. So there you have it. With that said, let's move right along for your Feel-Good Moment.

I was behind the wheel of a god-knows how many ton green monster, flying down the road past districts and towns and villages, eyeballing the sides of the road, avoiding anything that might even be confused as something suspicious, checking out the people outside, looking at the rooftops, the windows, pretty much everything you can take in while traveling forty miles an hour.

We turned a corner and passed a bunch of Iraqi Army vehicles, something we normally look down on, when something dawned on me.

They had the area cordoned (blocked) off, and they were clearing an entire village. By themselves. No Americans helping them out. And it looked like they were doing it right. I was blown away. I did a double take and damn near went off the road.

It wasn't monumental, but dammit, it was SOMETHING. I felt good about that. So who knows, maybe there's still hope for this hellhole.


Suspect's Creed

You won't see me kissing ass. You won't see me putting on a show bitching at other Joes to impress higher-up. You won't see me at an NCO board, because I've definitely scrapped the idea of shooting for Sergeant. That ain't me.

I won't be a Yes-Man. I won't take shit and smile about it. I will do what I can to keep myself out of trouble, generally. I won't fuck my buddies. I will always look out for my own. I will never take menial Garrison Bullshit seriously. I will do what I have to in order to scrape past said bullshit. I will take it all a day at a time.

I will hang on to my anger and my bitterness. I will not re-enlist. My deal with Uncle Sam was four years and I will do everything in my power to ensure that it stays that way. I will suffer assholes and idiots and leaders who know what's best but still piss me off. I will take it all with a grain of salt and will laugh on the inside because I know I'm being paid to endure this, and because I know that I will be out of the army in a year and a half (GODWILLING).

I will bask in my disdain for the entire experience but will not take my buddies for granted. I'll enjoy my time with the greatest band of miscreants I will ever meet, and will be thoroughly bummed out when its time to bounce out for good.

I will party hard, I will blast metal at high volume. I will keep up a steady flow of my antics, unapologetically. I will maintain my degenerate character throughout all. I will continue to walk the thin line between Overall Good Guy and Shit Bag.

I will do what makes ME proud. I will own up to my mistakes and embrace them because they will make the best memories. It'll all be over soon enough and no matter what, upon looking back I will regret not causing more chaos.

I will stick to what I feel is important and will humor the rest, in my own good humor. I will not be here forever, and will act accordingly.

But most importantly of all, I will take this strange life of mine and squeeze every last drop out of it, ravenously. It's mine and no one else's. I will not forget that. No one will break my spirit. An abrasive and defiant Fuck You, in whatever form, awaits anyone who suggests otherwise.

I will not lie down for anyone.

Wherever you are, in whatever situation you're in, maybe YOU need to throw a subtle or not-so-subtle Fuck You out there. No matter how big or small. A win is still a win. So that boss, that teacher, that neighbor, that stranger who cut you off or took your parking spot, that service provider that fucked you, that paperboy that smashed your window, that co-worker that undermined you, whoever or whatever it is that's getting you down, maybe they need a cold can of Fuck You. After all, Fuck You makes the world go round. It's the American Way, the last prevailing remnant of the Great American Dream. The people deserving your Fuck You have Fuck Yous for someone else.

I've never been without someone or something deserving this treatment. So fuck you, and fuck me, and fuck him and her and this and that and everything in between. It always feels better afterwards. Small victories are still victories.


My Friends Are Assholes

"Suspect! Wake up! Wanna go to chow?"

I mumble something incoherent, along the lines of "eat shit". I drift back to sleep.

"Suspect! We gotta go man, daylight saving's time."

I groan and tell him that I don't want to. And then it's quiet in the tent. And the tent is empty. I sit up so fast my brain almost crashes into the front of my skull.


I'm throwing on random clothing articles, half-assing everything in a Tasmanian Devil tornado and run out the door. My watch says we have ten minutes before we roll out. For the love of God, tell me the trucks are still on the line.

They are, and no one is around. I'm still not even awake, running on auto-pilot survival instincts. Are these bastards so low that they'd all close up the trucks with them inside to fuck with me? I've got a key to the truck with my gear in it anyway.

I open the back and it's empty, and everyone's gear is still inside. About this time, the shit-faced-tired cobwebs are starting to clear out of my mind, and to no one in particular, I say,

"....It's January. JANUARY! Daylight savings time...?"

I look all around me.

"I'm gonna kill that motherfucker."


Caged/Who Is Joe?

If you saw me every day, you'd never think it was me writing this. But the aggression has to go somewhere. Just thought we should get that out of the way straight off and in a hurry, since them headshrinking geniuses say that writing is thurapyootik and all that. Well shit, let's tap the vein and bleed that nasty shit on out while I'm still here then huh?

What in the fuck are we doing here? The Infantry, the fighting machine and all that rock solid hooah horseshit, reduced to common police. Fucking cute, really. I haven't kicked in a door in ages. I haven't fired a shot in anger in millenia. I'm starting to MISS Baghdad, if that makes any sense, and I'm quite sure it doesn't.

Guess I owe you an explanation then, huh? Weren't we supposed to come here to fight a war, you know, represent America and kick the shit out of some motherfuckers and call it a day? Because when I spend hours and hours sitting in a stryker while higher ups have meetings with local officials and whatnot, I get a little sick of it. As a Joe, you are not a politician, you are not a diplomat. You aren't shit. You're there for security or something.


This goddamn country can't pull itself together and go figure, it's America's responsibility to rebuild and hold their hand, and that's all cute and fine, with one little exception: it's MY friends that have been getting fucked up out here. So look the other way if I come across like I don't give two shits about this country anymore. I really don't.

I'm not even going to BOTHER jumping on the bandwagon, to spout off idiotic shit about how such-and-such company profits off of the "war", because it doesn't change the fact that I do not give one liquid shit either way. You could spend all day sitting me down and explaining to me in great detail why our presence here is important and strategic to the overall benefit of America, and when your voice finally gives out, I'm only going to yawn and walk out, cursing you for wasting my time. I'm not going to listen, I have no reason to.


Yes, lap up the pity-party poor Joe attitude, because here's the next news flash: your average soldier doesn't give a shit about this place. I'm not alone here. If we don't have someone to fight, we don't have a purpose here. So we're jerking our dicks while the whole world watches and wonders if this place will ever unfuck itself.

"Yeah, that's it, throw in the towel, real good, man..."

Shit, that implies that there was ever a towel to THROW. I don't want to give off the impression that I want anyone else to get hurt, because I sure as shit don't. But if we aren't here, then we aren't going to get fucked up. Get it?


We roll by a building scarred by bulletholes and part of me wishes I could be slinging lead downrange. If I'm not doing that, what am I doing here? Send some Greenpeace fucking organization down here to pass out hugs and smiles. Or let these bastards sink or swim.

If you don't get the point by now, don't worry, it's understandable. On to another point.

"Joe" is your enlisted no-one everyman. Most likely a one-time enlistee, cuz Joe gets sick of being shit on. Joe realizes he probably fucked up by enlisting, but most Joes suck it up til the army releases it's grip on their balls and lets them walk.

Joe does what he has to in order to get by. Joe gets bitched at, and Joe does a LOT of bitching. Most importantly, Joe doesn't know shit. And a lot of leaders like it that way. Cuz after all, Joe is a moron. If you don't believe me, just think of what my superiors would think if they pulled this menopausal little page of mine up right now. Sip of coffee and a sigh. "What a fucking dipshit."

That's me. I'm Joe. Short-Timin' Joe.

Joe is the one who gets fucked into doing details. Joe cleans toilets. Joe used to burn shit. Joe should be NOT heard, and only seen when appropriate, and when Joe is seen, Joe better be all prettied up and be ready for the dog and pony show. Don't like it? Tough fuckin' luck, Joe. You signed a contract. You MIGHT get your balls back when we say so. Maybe.

Joe is no angel. If all Joes could completely suck it up all Jesus'-Other-Cheek style, the brass would be pretty damn pleased. But that isn't the case, not with short-sighted prison-raped Joe.

Joe thrives on rumors, and Joe spreads them faster than the clap. Joe blows his money on booze and strippers and cars he can barely handle. Joe thinks he's a fucking rock star.

Most importantly, Joe is ALWAYS going to bitch. Sure, he'll do what he's told, but he'll be damned if he won't have some words to mutter about it. Joe's a green-collar worker. Lower than civilian. He doesn't belong with the sophisticated officer types, not really even with the relaxed Almost Joe officer types. Once in a while, Joe becomes a non-commissioned officer, but then he really ceases to be a Joe. Lot of times, the Joe is beaten out of him and he gets with the program. I don't have a name for these guys.

I'm JOE, remember?

Joe gets a big kick out of bashing in doors and breaking shit. Doesn't matter how nice and friendly Joe is, when it's time for mayhem, Joe is all aboard. After all, Joe just wants a piece of the action, that shoot-em-up Come Git Sum, Hollywood type shit that's been stuffed down his throat since he was a foot tall.

I sat in silence in the TOC last week for about 45 minutes. Then I casually turned to the NCO next to me.

"Know what I need to do? I need to get a BIG box of G.I. Joes, the old three inch ones, and a big spool of 550 cord. Tie all their hands behind their backs and lynch every last one of them, hang the string from the poles going across, so that when the commander walks in, first thing he sees is a dangling sea of strung-up GI Joes, hundreds of 'em. Like that kid's garden in the movie 'The Cure'."

Oh yeah, Joe's got a weird sense of humor, too.


Back To The Front

It's damn near 3 AM and not even a care-package ravaging mouse is stirring in this tent, the one that reeks of dirty socks and sweaty nuts. No, everyone else is thoroughly racked the fuck out, dreaming and snoring, pressing the Next Chapter button on this great DVD. Except me.

Yeah, that laptop glow is coming from my little hooch, my shoddily constructed cave. No desire to sleep cuz I've got no desire for anything that tomorrow holds. Works like this, chief: if it isn't R&R leave or a REDEPLOYMENT TO THE STATES, then I couldn't give one rainbow colored shit about it.

It's so quiet I can hear God laugh at Iraq's expense. I could put a large dent in one of my many unread books. Or watch a few movies. I could do ANYTHING right now. When all these other fuckers are passed out, wet-dreaming about their Jettas waiting for them, I own the night. No distractions. I could cure cancer and map out the human genome.

But most importantly, I can do a whole lot of NOTHING. Just sit back and enjoy the fact that I'm not doing shit. Savor it. Breathe it in. Cuz I got sick of sitting in front of that fucking radio, and I hollered out:

"Ey, Doc! How much longer til I can go back out?"

"Well you can have your medic change your bandage out once a day and you should be fine, there's no infe..."

My attention span lasts me just long enough to hear what I need to hear. So tomorrow, I go back to the old routine, driving a truck or standing out of a hatch or pouring out when the ramp drops. Walking through brown streets with kids screaming shit I'm not paying attention to while the adults hang around shops and courtyards and spend entire days smoking cigarettes and bullshitting and watching us crazy SuperPolice run around like a barrel of monkeys trying to fuck a football.

Yeah, that's the one, back to the machine, the broken record, the horseshit sandwich bite after bite and mmm mmmmm godawful. But for now? Now I'm chilling on my bed, devoid of any responsibility and too burned out to even pretend to have a political outlook on this charade.

And soon I'll put the computer down and roll over, possum defense style under the blankets and slam the ol' eyelids shut. Think and dream about any old regular thing.

Waiting in line at the grocery store, staring at a waitresses' rack, cold beer, hot steak, moving vehicles without armor, people too self absorbed to blow themselves up or put their idea of God before anything else, waiting at stop lights, being overcharged for everything, cussing up a storm every time I fill up my tank, relishing the anxiety and hatred that fills me from head to toe when I spend more than five minutes in a shopping mall.

Paying full price for DVDs, wearing whatever the fuck I want to, never making another excuse, having a 12 year old on Xbox Live call me a pussy and remind me constantly that he fucks my mother, cheering on the losing team, wracking my brain trying to get this babe to forgive me for being a dipshit, having the luxury of sweating the small things.

Going on about life as if I was NEVER EVEN HERE. Some'll tell me that that isn't possible. Whatever, it's my dream, kindly fuck off and I'll see you in the morning.

You stay CLASSY, America!

The Fobbitt

How long was it? A week? A week and a half? When that bastardly little scab was picked off and disregarded. Must've only been a couple days afterward when the scab was replaced by a swelling redness, right on the front of my upper leg.

Oh well.

So then how long was it before it started to hurt just climbing up the front of the Stryker? I can't remember, but at some point, I thought, "Damn, this is probably infected or something. I should get it looked at."

The Aid Station always has that sterile bandage smell. I walked in, signed up, and dropped my pants.

"Oh yeah, we're gonna have to cut that and drain it."

"You're gonna hate us man."

I leaned back and grabbed my camera, when they started sticking me with lidocaine. "Pinch and a burn" they called it. Jab jab jab, fill em up with the numbness.

Then the doc started cutting, and I didn't feel a damn thing of course, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. So I sat up and watched him slice a fucking trench in my leg and squeeze all kinds of delicious infectious waste out of my putrid sore.

They packed the hole full of gauze and wrote up a profile for me. A "profile" is a piece of paper that says you can't do this or that because the doc says so. It's an excuse you fold up and keep in your pocket to get out of work. The profile stated that I needed to come back once a day to have the gauze changed out, and it requested that they "please make him a Fobbitt for a while" about one week.

Now, where I come from, if you're on profile, you are automatically a "shitbag" and a sorry excuse for a soldier, and you receive (arguably) punitive shifts in the company TOC (think headquarters or something) where you sit in front of the radios for eight hours and do all you can to not chew through your own wrists.

Before starting my first TOC shift, I went to the aid station to have the gauze changed out. My leg had been pretty sore ever since the lidocaine wore off, making it feel like someone was holding a cigarette up to the leg.

"Ok man, now you're REALLY going to hate me," one of the medics told me. He ripped the gauze out good and fast, and I wondered why I was supposed to ha--


I looked down and stared at a gaping open hole in my leg, and the pus covered gauze dangling from doc's hand. This shit fucking HURT.

He threw the gauze out and grabbed new materials, and a long Q-tip.

"All right man, sit on your hands and look away."

"What? Why--GGGRRRRRRHHNNNNnnnnnn.....!!!!!"

Raw exposed nerve endings surrounding the wound, screaming and protesting, because doc here is using a Q-tip to forcefully pack a string of gauze into my leg. I've never been in so much pain that I was actually SWEATING before.

My body temperature fluctuated, eyesight blurred up, cold sweats, hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach. All signs pointing to the fact that I am a little bitch.

Dig after dig and horrible sweep after bastardly sweep, he finally finished up. I felt like I had just been thoroughly raped by a wooly mammoth. They cracked jokes, and I didn't even bother to acknowledge them. I was in a whole new state of Feeling Sorry For Myself.

"Ok, see you same time tomorrow!"

I groaned. They laughed as I walked out.

I've been doing this every day for almost a week now.


If you go to google.com and type "soldier blog pissed off bullshit fuck" in the search field and click "I'm Feeling Lucky", you will be immediately directed to this page?



The Rock

Hello readers. As the song loads, I'd like to give you a moment to adjust your ass, as it's about to be rocked off, with a sonic volume of awesome.

Unless your internet is as slow as mine (or you have your sound off), it's probably too late. Enjoy.

The reason I bring this up, is that I feel that you all deserve the same caring treatment that anyone riding in a Stryker with me receives. iPods, etc are a must in any Stryker. And more importantly, media players loaded with fuckin' METAL.

Metal that reaches through the speakers and whips your pansy ass into a puddle of goo, attacks you with sheer masculine animosity, and melts the face off of your bitch-ass friends, especially the hip-hop enthusiast types.

We got one of our old medics back, and he's on the truck for the first time. I'm driving, and I feel it's my job to brief him.

"Heya, sergeant. I just wanted to let you know, your face is about to be rocked off, and your ears are going to receive a merciless ass-kicking courtesy of old school Metallica."

He laughs. Good man.

On that note, I would like to include a short letter that I would like to extend to Metallica:

Dearest Metallicats,

In eager anticipation for your new album, I would like to point out a few things I expect from you, with the hopes that it gets you further pumped to thoroughly rock out.

Y'see, being pretty much the Godfathers of modern metal, it is your sworn duty to fix the state of affairs that our music industry is in, and breathe some life into GOOD metal, because Slipknot can't do it ALL on their own, and besides, you need to remind all them bands that you are the dominant one. It's like living in a primitive culture of gorillas, and that's why you must use your guitars and whatnot to beat those sad bitches into a pile of shit. And rock the entire time you do it.

I expect you to bitch slap me with sonic fury, and never once apologize when you neatly package my candy ass and hand it to me. I expect my balls to be stomped, figuratively, and for my mother to cry because you're kicking too much ass.

You will know when you have succeeded when the faces have been wiped off of Mount Rushmore and replaced with visages of you guys growling at people. Even better if there's a sculpture of a giant fist crushing some dweeb for sucking too badly.

Let's put it this way, if your new album has to be packaged with a pack of Depends because it's so unbelievably shit-your-pants-awesome, I will be most pleased. I require major hearing loss, a numb feeling in parts of my body, and whiplash from banging my fucking head until my eyeballs bleed.

I want an album that makes poodles explode when you play it. An album that makes bands like Nickelback give up and go back to pumping gas. An album that gives Courtney Love a sex change. A colossal wall of sound that is equivalent to the carnage one might witness when an army of cougars, wolverines, grizzly bears, pissed off pandas on PCP, cracked out steroid squirrels and ten foot tall gorillas is let loose versus a room full of Backstreet groupies.

This album should be so devastatingly awesome that when we blare it in the Stryker and drop ramp to step out into sector, children run in complete terror, the elderly crawl away in abject fear, and Ali Baba realizes that his music is complete shit, and comes over to the dark side where us kickass American types rock out. This of course will upset the "war profiteers" or whatever, but fuck them if they can't rock.

Please put me in a coma with your thrashing badassery.

Thank you. Your Pal,

The Usual Suspect

I think it's a pretty damn good letter personally. But good metal is very important for an infantryman. You have to get up early, something I respond to by blaring ear-bleed music much to the dismay of some. You have to drive off road, something that just isn't the same without thrashing chaos stabbing it's way out of the speakers. If you have to run around with a gun in your hands, you better have METAL reverberating in your skull, not some bullshit rap song about gold chains and women of questionable morals.

Metal is about being pissed off and aggressive, something we are very familiar with. Rap doesn't make you want to kick in doors and smash things in abandoned houses (something that is unnecessary to the uninitiated and those of rank above E4, who just don't understand that things NEED to be broken. In fact, back in Baghdad, that was how my squad leader kept track of me.

"Suspect! Where are you?"


"Oh, OK!")

Kids, I just can't stress enough how important metal is to your development as a human being. If you don't get a ten billion megawatt charge and an ear to ear grin/scowl from ass-bashing music at high volume, you might not have a soul. Or you may have an excessively high estrogen count, in which case I refer you to www.moby.com.

You want us to win the War On TERRRRRORRRRR? Then crank up some crazy insane metal and let us out of our cages. Or else learn to be more diplomatic, whichever. Regardless, metal is the path to all things awesome.

If this post left you feeling all sorts of motivated to rock out, please scroll down to the bottom of the playlist and listen to some Slipknot, to make sure that your punk ass can handle true mayhem.

Thank you.


The Idealist

Some media types were out and about today, drawing in the big bucks, chasing that elusive story, wearing their EXTREME GEAR WITH ALL THE POUCHES AND POCKETS, catering to every cliche I'd ever seen or heard of. So you can bet I was sure to steer clear of them. 'Specially with all the brass around doing their interviews and whatnot. 'Specially considering I was in the middle of an experiment (seeing how long I could go without shaving before anyone said anything to me), not to mention having NOT bothered to put on a clean uniform. It was a miracle I even brushed my teeth in the morning.

I half expected someone to pull me aside and tell me specifically not to open my mouth, but wait a second, how arrogant am I? WHO THE HELL WANTS TO TALK TO A SPECIALIST?! Hahahaha....

So as I wandered about, doing my hiding thing, ToySoldier approached me. I went off on a tirade about the journalists, since it's trendy and whatnot for us soldier types to look at them in disdain (and why not?). He studies me for a few seconds.

"You're burned out, aren't you?" he asks.

"Depends on your definition of burned out."

"You haven't even been on leave yet."

I think for a second. "Ok yeah, it's probably a safe conjecture then. I just might be burned out. Why do you ask?"

He laughs and says, "I read your last few entries."

"Yyyyyep. 'At'll do it."

I figured people would get annoyed and tell me to quit my bitching, but surprisingly, a lot of people like to hear the Curmudgeon it seems. And that's good, cuz since I took the gloves off to write, I've slept like a baby.

Out in sector, kids are crowding and playing by a long stretch of concertina wire (somewhat like razor wire, less sharp but will snag you up in a hurry). They reach their hands out for soccer balls, and a realization hits me:

Gunfire and explosions, concertina wire, foreigners in huge machines with Sci-Fi pulp comic equipment, it's all NORMAL to these kids. They've never known anything else. Their world is a landfill, in EVERY sense of the word. All of it, just an enormous brown mess, slopped together, the dirt to match the buildings. You have to look at the sky just to be reminded that there is more color in the world.

This "Cradle of Civilization" is enough to break anyone's spirit if you let it bore into you long enough. And maybe we're just going through the motions. That idealist in me, the one that's taken such a beating the past three years, the one that landed me in these boots and this ridiculous pixelated GameBoy graphics uniform, it starts to wonder what the hell I was thinking.

You see, this idealist in me enlisted to come to Iraq, because that's the ultimate support for troops, right? This idealist thought that we great Freedom Spreading Americans would be able to help out here. Odds are, we probably do, and it's just too hard to see most of the time. All I know is that I personally don't feel like I helped shit. All the duck noises I make at little kids to get a giggle out of them, all the handshaking and the "Salaam alaykum" and "Shukran" I can muster, it really doesn't measure up to what a woman said to us, back in Baghdad during the first half of our deployment. She was in a rough place, and gave us a lot of information, but we couldn't do anything in return.

We get ready to leave and she hugs a friend of mine. We walk outside, The Idealist is shaking his head, and I ask my friend, "What did she say to you?"

He clears his throat, "She said, 'Atleast you make me smile one more time before I die.' "

Yeah, but you also don't know what, if ANYTHING happened after you left. Regardless, you do what YOU can, most of this isn't even up to you.

All I know is that this is probably the only life these little kids are going to know. And still they smile and wave and ask for soccer balls. They're like this bizarre contrast to what this country represents to me these days. Hearts and minds, it's all about the kids, right? The generation we CAN win? Is that it? Kids tend to be innocent. Haven't been corrupted yet. Haven't gotten ugly.

So I blast my trucker horn four or five times, startling this four-foot-tall-mob and they all run away, out of my sight. Better that way. This is all way more bitter and difficult to swallow than this Idealist ever thought it would be.

Just pull security.



CIB. Noun. The Combat Infantryman Badge. This little doohickey here:

This little award is given to infantryman when they are proven by TEDIOUSLY WRITTEN SWORN STATEMENTS to have been engaged in combat, and maneuvered and strangled somebody and cut someone's balls off with a bayonet, and a slew of other requirements. In earlier OIF rotations, CIB was a blanket award, so you could get it without actually being in a firefight.

It's different now, with the requirements tightened up. I've been put in for it atleast once, and I know for sure that it's been kicked back once. Now, wouldn't ones first reaction to being denied this over-glorified piece of plastic be a little upset?


The majority of the US population has no idea what the CIB is, nor do they care. Until reading this post, my immediate family had no idea what the damn thing was.

Let's just break this bad bitch down right now, and rip the "glory" and all that horseshit away from this joke of an award. Get some rubber gloves and a plastic hairnet.

The CIB is hyped up the entire time you're in the army. They make it sound like a rite of passage, getting your combat badge, your proof that you are an honest to God hardass American, shitting bullets at the enemy and forcing an Democratic Moneyshot onto the face of any random Third World Country, in sprays of automatic fire.

Hurray! The CIB makes you look like a badass, a REAL soldier, it shows you've DONE THINGS!

Yes, on the surface it's all pretty and wonderful. But here's the truth about the CIB. A handful of my friends got theirs by getting killed. CIB or the non-infantry version, the Combat Action Badge. Either way, get killed by a stranger in someone else's country, and there's your glorious fucking medal. Lot of good it did you huh? Wear it proudly, son.

Well what if it isn't YOU getting killed? Then it's some other poor sucker on the receiving end. You're getting your pat on the back and your handjob for being a stone cold hardass John Wayne Motherfucker, and someone else isn't going home for dinner, ever. Spare me the semantics about whether or not the said sucker deserved it or not, because that's beyond the point.

To summon the Satanic Avatar of the CIB, shit has to hit the fan, and someone is very likely to die. Now who still wants their badge? I won't wear mine. In fact, now I understand why some grizzled vet types wear their EIB instead of CIB. The Expert Infantryman Badge looks the same, minus the wreath around it. And minus the body count. You earn the EIB by busting your ass, three days of trials. Fuck up more than once, and sorry, we'll see you next year. But more importantly, you won't get it posthumously.

"But Suspect, the CIB is a good thing, especially if you're looking to make a career out of the army."

Well I'm NOT. I never thought of the army as a career, not for a minute, not even in the beginning. I knew from the start that this was four years ON LOAN to my Uncle Sam, the guy with all the problems.

Furthermore, I do not need to involve myself in horse and pony shows where my character is judged based on whether or not I've got a Motherfuckers Got Killed Badge. Pretentious horseshit, and you can fuck right off with that.

If my CIB goes through, it'll go straight to a storage trunk. Or a trash can. Or to the first sad-sap New Guy who asks me about Iraq or combat or any of those erection inducing death machine components. I'll pin the motherfucker to his face and congratulate him, point to his buddy, and tell him "McCormick over here is dead for the rest of the day. Put him on a stretcher and carry him to his barracks room. Enjoy your CIB."

I find it so pitiful and disgusting that the CIB is looked at in such high esteem, now that I've thought about what lurks underneath the surface. Completely pathetic.

Thanks for your life, son! Here's a medal! Bright N Shiny! We'll have it engraved on your tombstone, for all those civilians to look at! You know, the ones who'll say, "What the fuck is that rifle with the shit wrapped around it? Looks dumb."

Let someone try to interfere with me going home, THEN I'll get that CIB hands down. Just a by-product though. Safety, security, going home. S'all I care about.

CIB is just a still frame from a snuff film. That's what I really think.



Let's not beat around the bush with this one and get straight down to brass tacks.

Here you are, deployed, young, dumb, and ugly. You've got to get to a point where you just say "Fuck it, fuck it all, I honestly could not give a shit less." And dammit, I maintain that THAT'S the answer we're looking for. Security and ETS date, for everything else, there's Fuccitol.

I'll tell ya, this whole army shindig, it's been great, really, but the truth is that we're done. Dooooone. Really, we just don't give a shit and we aren't thrilled by playing war these days. Like always, it's just time. That's all it is, and then we're out of here, back to the states to act like ravenous beasts without a shred of decency or self control. Unapologetically.

When you find yourself shooting at stray cats and dogs in your outpost with a paintball gun (y'know, to keep them from getting into the trash, not because it's FUN or anything....) there's a moment of relief. It's when you realize that you're doing nothing but fucking off, acting like a kid and cackling like a banshee while a yellow-spattered cat sprints for the gate. There's plenty of reasons NOT to laugh in a place like this.

But fuck that and fuck anyone who thinks it's even remotely weird or unprofessional that I'll gladly embrace this logical madness of just letting go. Safety out in sector, that's the ONLY thing one should worry about. The rest is all assclownery and blowing off steam and not giving a good goddamn who's looking. Cuz I'll tell you what, when my time comes to bounce out of this clusterfucking bullshit parade, I'll be grinning from ear to ear with my middle fingers extended, and I'll take that GI Bill, ah thankyou verymuch. Did my time, put in my four years, wonk wonk, and that's it, now I take MY life off of hold. You're welcome, America, whoever or whatever you are, for whatever it is I supposedly did, and have a lovely day. Never ask another thing of me again. Here are my taxes. Blow some shit up for me.

We leave here, and it's all partying and getting stupid, doing re-deployment paperwork and screening and other such peepshows, while we laugh in the face of it all, not giving one flying fuck about any part of the process, not about ANYTHING except for catching up on the things we missed out on.

The smart guys that only signed up for three years will come back, go on leave, come back, and outprocess. Other people, the re-enlisting types, the Odd Ones, will move to other units, other duty stations. Leaving behind those few of us, the ones with a little less than a year to stick out until we're done. That few of us that couldn't care less about anything, the few that will laugh at the new guys, patronize their questions, belittle their drinking abilities, dare them to do stupid things that will get them in trouble.

We'll be that group of Seniors that didn't graduate with their class. The Mad Ones. It'll be a miracle if we leave this Show with the same rank. I'm supposed to remain a Specialist for a year after being in Iraq? HAHAHAHAHAAHAH!!!!! GOOD FUCKING LUCK!!!

"Oh, cool, you thinking of going to the NCO board?"

FUUUUUUUUUUCK NOOOOOOO! Hahahahaha, you must've lost your mind. I don't want any responsibility, I don't want to be accountable for any new Joes, or any old ones. At best, I'll play along with the Charade for those months, just to get by, just to make it easy, but it's all going to be one long joke to me. I'll be gutlaughing for a year, at the audacity of it all, returning from Iraq and back to the pretentiousness of ordinary life, KNOWINGLY doing it, embracing every hypocrisy I can, being that average lowest common denominator no one average Joe, not giving a damn about anything, because I'm NOT in Iraq and there are bountiful amounts of alcohol for me to consume and real women everywhere you look (you won't realize this, but trust me).

They'll all shake their heads and wish I was still in Iraq, still a respectable young man, and not the outlandish, frighteningly indifferent, socially reckless smirking curmudgeon that'll return. Sheer lunacy, madness, sucking LIFE dry. The complete opposite of Fear and Loathing. Hungry for everything, burning with insane desire, and invulnerable to the everyday bullshit.

If it doesn't explode or travel a thousand feet per second, there's no reason to worry about it. I can't even hear you yelling at me for taking my sweet time in your fast lane, and I don't care anyway. After being in "control" (read: subjegated) in one world, this old world I might have come from at one point is in for a surprise when I seize it by the throat and shake it for all it's worth.

So you know what? You want to pile on seemingly meaningless missions, fruitless patrols, anything you want, by all means, please do. Because I'm just smoking and smiling and soaking up the misery, like a sponge, like I need it to breathe. I'll take it all in and savor it, like sucking on anything bitter you can get your hands on, just to make the sugar taste that much sweeter later on.

I don't care about the direction of this country. I have no power over it beyond simple SuperSoldier-to-Iraqi civilian interaction, so fuck it, anything I have no control over, I have no time to worry about. Couldn't give a damn less. It's all Britney Spears and Paris Hilton news to me. It may kick in my gag reflex, but I won't give it a second thought. Cuz I've got a cynical optimism and a big bottle of Fuccitol and I Just. Don't. Care.

Cuz if you seriously want to know, this is what happened:

I hit the bottom, rock fucking bottom, and I realized that it wasn't bad at all. Very underrated. Bullshit doesn't take fruit at the bottom too well, and there's no room for excess baggage. When you have nowhere to go but up, how can you NOT smile? A wide, cynical, diabolical plotting smile, like a convict who just had an epiphany, the perfect escape plan. In the end, that's all that this is anyway.

Rock bottom and not a single weight on my shoulders. They can't touch me. So tap the keg and start counting down the months and keep the Holy men on speed dial.