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From an American Airman in Iraq

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The below note was sent to writer Mike Palecek who has given permission to share it with you:

Dear Mike:

We have read your articles, and when I say we I mean myself with my fellow soldiers, and to be blunt, your (sic) pissing us off. You talk about war, the military, and government as if we're just screwin' the country and out for some laughs.

First the thing about oil in Iraq, GET A f*cking CLUE! We found 100% pure pesticide...know what that's used for? BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS. They were moving the stuff out before we got there...well, most of it anyway. And a country that plans, encourages, or aids in any way to terrorism is a direct threat to the United States.

And on a positive note, the people over there are no longer under rule by a heartless dictator. Stop looking at the picture the liberals are trying to paint to everyone because they want the white house....people are happy over drive around town and they still wave and smile at you saying thank you.

If only Americans were like those people...because they know how precious freedom is. And we are fighting for your freedom. We just happened to get in there before it became a larger threat...that's the way its done. If you think that what we are doing over there is nothing more than trying to get ourselves some oil, then I suggest that you put your boots on the line, gear up, and charge into the frontlines with us so you will then fully understand.

But that's the problem right there. Nobody can fully understand until they have been in our shoes and know what its like. I thought I knew but I was wrong. So all we ask is for your FULL support, a thankfull (sic) attitude, and your prayers for all the soldiers that are standing fast in the path of the enemy ready to kill for you.

Because of us you will never know what it is like to hold a weapon in your hand and have to kill for your freedom.

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We don't enjoy killing, but we take great pride in why we are doing it. We are United States Soldiers (sic) and we defend your freedom wherever we go.

Airman Blake French
United States Air Force

Mike's response was:

"Blake, You and your fellow soldiers are murderers. Someone should have told you by now. Sorry to have to be the one. Mike"

My response to Mike and Airman French is...

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You know it's funny (figuratively) how many of these air force guys enjoy their work. It's odd how the human mind is able to rationalize all kinds of things like why it's okay to look someone in the eye and shoot them, in Baghdad, and get a medal when putting a bullet through someone's skull in the South Bronx gets you a one way ticket to death row.

It's a kind of psychological boot camp that soldiers go through that makes the marrow in their senses harden, and calcify with no hope of detoxification when they return to home soil, but only more deeply entrenched pathology for which we all take responsibility. We, their teachers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, classmates, pediatricians; we who replace the fillings in their teeth, and fill their childhoods with biblical axioms like "Thou Shalt Not Kill," we then turn them loose, and tell them anything goes in the name of protecting freedom; a freedom which has become yet another abstraction not unlike terror itself.

Guns and roses---no longer just a rock group, but a way of life, a mindset that eroticizes weaponry, and war, with a social infantilism that is as inescapable as it is chilling.

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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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I happen to be an avid watcher of Mosaic, and also... by Pat Herrick on Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008 at 2:34:42 PM
WE are the terorists.... by jeff prager on Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008 at 3:03:09 PM
We have become the enemy, we ARE the terrorists.&n... by Judy Ramsey on Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008 at 3:49:39 PM
"We found 100% pure pesticide...know what tha... by UncleSim on Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008 at 9:01:30 PM