Thursday, April 19, 2007


What Every Soldier Should Know

To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will;
it is at best an act of prudence.
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

If you hear gunfire on a Thursday afternoon,
it could be for a wedding, or it could be for you.
Always enter a home with your right foot;
the left is for cemeteries and unclean places.
"O-guf! Tera armeek" is rarely useful.
It means Stop! Or I’ll shoot.
Sabah el khair is effective.
It means Good Morning.
Inshallah means Allah be willing.
Listen well when it is spoken.
You will hear the RPG coming for you.
Not so the roadside bomb.
There are bombs under the overpasses
,in trashpiles, in bricks, in cars.
There are shopping carts with clothes soaked
in foogas, a sticky gel of homemade napalm.
Parachute bombs and artillery shells
sewn into the carcasses of dead farm animals.
Graffiti sprayed onto the overpasses:
I will kell you, American.
Men wearing vests rigged with explosives
walk up, raise their arms and say Inshallah.
There are men who earn eighty dollars
to attack you, five thousand to kill.
Small children who will play with you,
old men with their talk, women who offer chai—
and any one of them may dance over your body tomorrow

Brian Turner, an american soldier

The NEA initiative Operation Homecoming brought distinguished writers – including Tobias Wolff, Tom Clancy, Jeff Shaara, Marilyn Nelson, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Mark Bowden — to conduct writing workshops at 25 domestic and overseas military installations from April 2004 through July 2005.
Operation Homecoming also offered an open call for writing submissions to troops who have served since 9/11, along with their spouses and families. That call resulted in more than 10,000 pages of submissions and produced an anthology of the works. Andrew Carroll edited the anthology, OPERATION HOMECOMING: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.


Mother of Invention said...

Wow! Really hits home in our everyday language what it must be like. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be in their shoes. That will be one amazing anthology.

steve said...

If anyone were to follow any of the links from the last coupla days, there are more pieces written by these young men and women that are in Iraq and Afganistan.

Water Baby said...

Over 15 of my good friends are going into the military.

Most of them have requested to be placed over seas when they graduate from boot comp.

Mother of Invention said...

Yikes...that must be scary for you, Water Baby. Our generation kinda missed all that stuff..up here anyway and I'm a bit young for the Vietnam nightmare.

David said...

Very, very powerful piece of writing by that soldier. We need to so get the hell out of there.

Old Lady said...

I never thought that in my life time, I would see two wars of the same nature. Not much difference between this and Native Americans, just an ocean.