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My Story

By Army National Guard Spc. Eleonai "Eli" Israel  Posted by Dan Merica (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   1 comment
Message Dan Merica

From Liberty Underground

08/30/07 "Courage To Resist" --- - Two months ago, I took a stand that changed my life forever. As a Soldier, a JVB Protective Service Agent, and a Sniper with the Army who had been in Iraq for a year (running over 250 combat missions), I refused to continue to be a part of the occupation. I regret nothing. This is my story. Currently, as I write this I am sitting in Kuwait, on "stand-by" to return to the States sometime hopefully this week. After getting out of the brig last week, I'm now scheduled to be discharged from the Army within the month. I'm looking forward to joining forces with anti-Iraq-War movements, such as Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

What led me to this place in my life?

Joining up, the first time

I joined the U.S. Marine Corps in the spring of 1999, the month of my 18th birthday.

I grew up in the custody of the state of Kentucky with little contact with my biological parents since I was 13. I had no family support system and ended up on the streets, doing what street kids do.

By 16, I had eased into hard drugs. I had not been to school since the first part of 9th grade, and I was short on about everything but street smarts, an untapped sense of ambition, and a tough guy attitude.

When I walked into the recruiting station I learned that in order to join the Corps, I would need either a high school diploma or a GED with a waiver-unless I also had certain college credits. When I told them that I was 16 and had only completed 8th grade, they quickly dismissed me, not expecting to see me again.

They were wrong.

Not only did I earn my GED, I also did a semester at the local college. A year and a half later the month I turned 18, March 1999, I walked back into the same recruiting station, spoke to the same recruiter, showed him my GED and my college transcripts and felt my first real sense of pride.

Thirteen weeks after arriving at Parris Island, I was changed forever. I graduated as the leader of a platoon squad with a meritorious promotion, and was now well on my way to a shining career as a Marine.

Then came September 11, 2001.

Re-enlisting for my country

Like many after September 11th I wanted to serve, again. I felt I owed something more to my country after my years of training. I trusted my president and my leadership to tell me the truth. I also trusted my own integrity. I knew that I would never willingly do anything that I knew to be immoral or wrong.

I re-enlisted in 2004-this time in the Army National Guard.

At the time I believed that those serving in the 'global war on terror' were doing so because they believed in what they were doing-not because they were under compulsion by a contract or retained by stop-loss. After having seen the situation on the ground, I now believe I was wrong. In 2006, I shipped out to Iraq.

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Dan Merica is a political cartoonist and opinion writer battling the right wing scourge now devastating our country. His work is posted on his website,
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