Wednesday, May 28, 2008
now im going to take a break and go check out a couple bands play.
my favorite one so far...
"Do you self-medicate?" No. i don't even drink...but i think i should start.
Monday, May 26, 2008
heavy metal in baghdad?
i have to go get my dad soon and have a bbq with the family...wish me luck! or just come witness the madness. yesterday at 8am i woke up to my mom hammering an army flag into the ground, with curlers in her hair and yelling, "katie come help me! you're stronger than me! it suppose to be windy...make sure its in there good." wtf.
and to all the assholes who don't even really realize why they have the day off and are just getting wasted or shopping, fuck you. i hope your day is shitty.
Friday, May 23, 2008
two days ago at work, some girl was talking about how she wanted to join the military (she wasn't sure what branch)...i told her i was in the Army...she looked at me and asked..."but you're not a soldier right? like you don't carry guns?"
Friday, May 16, 2008
WAR: My Informal Essay.
A letter to Sigmund Freud from Albert Einstein...
"Dear Professor Freud,
Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?...that small but determined group, active in every nation, composed of individuals who...regard warfare, the manufacture and sale of arms, simply as an occasion to advance their personal interests and enlarge their personal authority. How is it possible for this small clique to bend the will of the majority, who stand to lose and suffer by a state of war to service their ambitions?...because man has within him a lust for hatred and destruction. Is it possible to control man's mental evolution so as to make him proof against the psychoses of hate and destructiveness?..."
What exactly is WAR?:
1. armed fighting between groups: an armed conflict between countries or groups that involves killing and destruction. (Encarta ® World English Dictionary)
2. a Just-War Theory: The principle of a just war states that war should only be waged as a last resort and after all nonviolent options have been exhausted. Just-war theory also holds that a war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. no matter how honorable a cause, war waged by individuals or groups other than a society's legitimate authority is not considered just. Just wars can only be fought in self-defense or to redress a wrong. Wars fought with ulterior motives, for example, to redress a wrong but also to gain strategic land, are not just. A just war can be fought only when there can be some realistic expectation of success.
(Encyclopedia of Ethics, Terkel and Duval).
3. Nicholas Timasheff (Sociologist, who studied war): Three essential conditions of war. One; Antagonistic situation in which two or more states confront incompatible objectives. Two; Cultural tradition of war. A nation has fought wars in the past, the leaders of a group see war as an option for dealing with serious disputes. Three: "fuel" that heats the antagonistic situation to a boiling point, so that politicians cross the line from thinking about war to actually waging it. The seven such "fuels"...1) Revenge 2) Power 3) Prestige 4) Unity 5) Position 6) Ethnicity 7) Beliefs
(Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-earth approach, Henslin).
War can be describe in many words but those who have experienced it often avoid attempting to fit it neatly into a well thought out sentence with comma and periods...sometimes there are no words to describe it. its just war. and its personal.
Why do we make war? Why do people volunteer to go to war? Why, as Einstein asks, does the majority bend at the knees for a "small clique"?
Is it human nature to want to destroy...to control everything you think you are entitled to...to dehumanize persons or a culture because it is not like our own? If it's not in our genes, the way of our world and our thoughts, depends on our environment. Its safe to say, we have a natural instinct to protect. We want to protect each other from what we consider evil, anything that will bring harm to our families, our lovers, our neighbors...does our "natural instinct" push us into war? "Instinct: An innate (unlearned), biological pattern of behavior that is assumed to be universal throughout a species (Psychology 7, Santrock)”. And can something so natural, be taken advantage of...feed with words, promises, lies, hypocrisy...to the point that the only feasible and natural way to secure protection for ourselves and our families, is through war? Human bodies pill up in the name of freedom...democracy, destroying terrorist, insurgents...defending our way of life. We have a right to defend ourselves...but when is it natural to go against nature and realize our natural instinct is being taken advantage of by "a small clique"...the elite?
The Elite...a relatively small dominant group within a large society, which enjoy a privileged status at the expense of individuals of lower social status. Who have easier access to capital and political power. Who have the power to make the decisions that shape our world and force millions of persons into situations they might not necessarily agree with. Situations, like war, have the ability to transform a human being...a nation.
Do human beings contain a gene for aggression? for hatred? for destruction? Does it take a single man to throw a match to the "fuel" and initiate the most organized form of aggression in existence? If aggression, hatred, and destruction are so deeply rooted in all of us, every human being should unite and carry the flame of war, there should be no questions...our guns should be loaded and our boots hitting the ground in sync. History suggests millions of humans have and will continue to volunteer their life for war. Why? From the hunters and gathers to industrial states, war has been present.
The majority of us were taught to be polite, to treat others how you want to be treated...raised with a sense of peacefulness and the ability to love. However, during war human beings will push these simple life lessons to the side but they are not forgotten. An alter-ego comes to life… hostile behavior comes full force, hatred for persons who harmed your peers, destruction becomes second nature, a lust for success burns within…its now our natural instinct to fight to the death, even if we believe the cause is not just, because if we don’t our lives are on the line.
The environment of war, is not exclusive to just males. Females are not only bearing arms but civilians…women and children are also caught in the crossfire and at times are giving their lives because they believe so strongly in the cause. Why is this such a shock to the masses? With all inherit our sex…we are born with it…the biological characteristics that distinguish males and females. However, our gender characteristics are social not biological. Gender consists of behaviors and attitudes a group considers proper and appropriate for males and females. Gender sorts us…by assumptions made by a group, males and females are destined to have different life experiences. Females are raised to nurture and be submissive…while males are viewed as aggressive and rigid. Anything outside of this mindset is consider taboo. Cultural norms are changing slowly…however, in a time of war, females will take on new roles and push the norms…it doesn’t mean their hearts don’t have the capacity to love and nurture…the predetermined gender roles, are just that…forced fed and out dated…and not satisfying to every female. If biology were the principal factor in female behavior, all the women of world would be sort of the same person…right now our society is realizing some females prefer the traditional gender roles and some prefer the not so traditional gender roles…they want to go to war.
“…Is it possible to control man's mental evolution so as to make him proof against the psychoses of hate and destructiveness?…”
No, because man's mind can be so easily manipulated.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
someone from the Pentagon...
being a veteran has its benefits...
State Assemblyman Greg Ball (R - Carmel) held a press Saturday to announce that his landmark program to create a tuition remission program for veterans had been included in the 2008-09 State Budget.
The budget was passed by both houses earlier this week. Effective July 1st, the measure allows combat veterans to attend SUNY graduate and undergraduate institutions at no cost.
"This program is very good news for our veterans, especially the young men and women who are, right now, returning from overseas. It is important that we remember that there is a war going on in which these brave soldiers are defending our freedoms - when they get home, we should thank and honor them for protecting our quality of life and do everything we can to ensure they have the best possible future. Passage
of this important program is a great step in the right direction of honoring the present and future of our troops," stated Ball, a former Air Force Captain.
Ball serves as Ranking Republican Member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. His legislation was originally introduced in May of 2007, and in reintroduced in January of 2008, after former Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his support of the measure in his State of the State Address. A group of officials from the New
York Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, and NYS Council of Veterans
Organizations testified before the Assembly in Albany to support the measure, and it was included in Spitzer's proposed executive budget in March.
Following the Governor's resignation, the fate of program was in doubt, but Governor David Paterson decided to keep the measure, and provided $2 million in funding for the program, which became Part N of Article VII of the State Budget. New York State veterans who served in the hostilities of Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Persian
Gulf will be eligible for tuition assistance benefits equal to the cost of SUNY
tuition, or the equivalent at any other New York State higher education institution. Previously, the State's Higher Education Service Corporation (HESC) offered tuition awards of $1,000 per year.
theres more but who cares...college for freeeeeee!!!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
back into the...
before i even made if home from my unit, i got a couple phone calls…my “battle buddy” called, she’s excited that i’m coming back…she was a little lost without me. she filled me in on some unit gossip. “girl, you don’t even know…so and so, just got married to this girl, who just got out of basic and she’s two months pregnant. he doesn’t know if its his. he asked me what i thought, and i said if you gotta ask me what i think, then you know that kid aint yours.” Classic. another family friend called me (who recently went into the Reserves and drills in my building), “you sucker! you came back in? you got scared, huh? just wanted to give you some shit.” Man how i’ve missed these characters.
so i'll write about my drill weekends, going back to college, life in general...i'm suppose to go to Annual Training in July but because of school, i'm pretty sure i wont be attending. so i'll be stuck at my unit for two weeks doing nothing but paperwork.
WHY DID I JOIN THE ARMY AT 17!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
University at Albany!
Tribeca Film Festival: Lioness.
I headed down to the city with my friend Natalie (I'm sure you've all realized, I drag her along with me to pretty much everything) to check out Lioness. After we left Grand Central Station, we jumped into a cab and headed to the theater. However, before the cab could even go four feet, some lady punched the side of the cab and another pedestrian yelled, "lets go ali ababwa." Natalie and I looked at each other and mumbled...did that guy just call our cab driver the prince from Aladdin? He did and I felt so bad for him. We just encouraged him to keep on driving and said, "fuck that guy." Anyways, we finally made it to the theater, got our tickets and waited in line (the line was about five people long). A few others finally trickled in...a man with an Obama pin was behind me. He looked really excited...not for the film, he just seemed excited about life...really smiley and non-threatening. I asked him what brought him out to see the film... and he said, "it seemed interesting." He then asked me the same question, I told him I was a vet and was really excited to see a documentary that just focused on female Soldiers. He thanked me for my service and asked how long I was there. I thanked him for thanking me for my service and told him I really appreciated that...I think this confused him but he said you're welcome. The door guards finally let us in...the theater was beautiful. We kind of had to sit in the nose bleed section because several rows were reserved for people with "badges"-only a hand full of these special people showed up. There were about 40 people in the audience...we were the youngest (well, some guy, who was clearly a vet-he sported his camo jacket and his wife brought their four year old daughter with them)...everyone was in their early 40s to late 50s. The film started with a fawn staring at the camera, then took off running through the woods...she was scared, innocent, and perfect. Then it jumped right into the audience meeting the five females. They were all part of the 1st Engineering Battalion, stationed in Ramadi. I had no idea before seeing this that there were groups of females nicknamed "Lioness", who supported raids. They went out with male Soldiers to search female Iraqis and to ease them while their houses/husbands were being searched. This is obviously controversial because females are banned from direct ground combat...but I suppose they can get away with this because it isn't exactly "direct" combat. The combat they encountered came to them. And if the Military or Congress or whoever, tried to ban females from jobs, missions, situations that could put them in harms way...well there would be no female Soldiers in Iraq. I suppose there is a fine line between all of this. Throughout the film, you learn about each females story and struggles. They all engaged in fire fights, some have killed, they had to prove themselves to the male Soldiers, and you get a glimpse into what war is like through a females eyes. One female, Shannon, was the "best shot" in her platoon and was sent out on several mission...she now collects 100% disability from the government...she has PTSD (she wanted to go to college but she was advised by the VA hosp, that she’s not ready for that and that would reflect in her grades). Another female recently had a baby and her husband was sent back to Iraq, if I can remember correctly two females are still in the Army and one has gotten out. The film is definitely worth seeing...if you don't come out of this film with a new appreciation of what a female can withstand, something is clearly wrong with you. The film itself is delicate, the music is soft, the shots are artsy and make you take everything in (overly long shots on one of the females baby), the directs don't let you forgot that women play multiply roles in society and now they have to find their place again. Whether, they are now out of the Army and become mothers and wives, still in the Army, pursuing careers, or bare the emotional scares of war...America has a new breed of females on their hands.
After the film was over the directors Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers answered questions. Two guys sitting next to Natalie and I got up and left. I don’t really know what one of the guys could’ve asked…he took a nap during the film. Natalie wanted to throw popcorn at him but I told her not to. Maybe that’s Americas problem, everyone’s asleep! Some guy asked the first question…something about a specific group that helped fund the film. He wanted full details. One of the directors answered…she seemed completely annoyed, like…you just watched this documentary and that’s seriously your question. She responded with a one word answer. Loved it. Some lady asked…do these women get respect now? Another guy asked, how are these women treated in the Military? They asked the directors if they were ever in the Military? They weren’t. Someone asked, where are these women now? Another question…are there still Lioness groups now? Which there are. That was pretty much the gist of the questions. I’m sure I’m forgetting a really really brilliant question that was asked, so I apologize.
I learned that one Lioness had died while out on a mission. This happened the same day Anna Nicole Smith died, that’s why America probably didn't hear about it. Gotta love our media!!!!!
If you get a chance, please go see this film!
*After the documentary we headed back to Grand Central Station to go home. However, we were derailed when we saw a huge gathering for May Day… “International Working Class Unity and Independent Political Action.” I won’t go too much into detail…but this pretty much sums it up…“protesting imperialist war and domination, capitalist exploitation and all form of oppression.” I got a ton of newspapers and flyers, took a bunch of photos, saw some band play, listened to people speak (couldn’t really understand too much of it…I’m not really fluent in Spanish), there were tons of Sean Bell posters everywhere, some guy had a huge sign that had President Bush’s face on it with swastikas all over…this caused a few arguments…one girl was yelling about her people dying and how the swastika was disrespectful, another guy was giving the sign holder the middle finger then proceeded to “hail Hitler”…thought there was going to be a fight, met some guy who asked why I was at the gathering…told him I just saw a documentary about female vets, he asked why I went to see it, told him I was vet and then he asked me if I was part of Iraq Veterans Against the War…told him it wasn’t that black and white for me…he seemed confused…I asked him if he has served in Iraq, he said no…I smiled and walked away. Across the street was another gathering…I’ll call this one a protest. It was about 10 strong. They were protesting illegal immigrants. Some crazy lady with red hair just kept on yelling, “Move back to Cuba” over and over again. Funny thing was, they had two cops protecting them…one was Latino and the other Middle Eastern. The day was eventful!