by Zak Carter,
I joined the Army in the early months of 2001; my patriotism led me to the recruiter’s office. I had grown up in awe of my grandfathers and their stories of World War II, and their reminiscing became my dreams. When I got to basic training I did not talk about missing home like the other recruits around me, I felt at home in ways I never had before.
The weeks after 9/11 found me in Kosovo, part of C co 3/7 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, patrolling the border with Macedonia as part of our duties. We had ammunition to defend ourselves with and the authority to apprehend anyone crossing the border illegally. I will get back to why these details are important later.
Fast forward to 2003, I am rolling across the desert in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle, part of the spearhead into Iraq. Other than those first three weeks of “Shock and Awe” what I remember most about Iraq was the people. Crowds of kids wanting to know about Michael Jackson and Britney Spears, open-minded adults wanting to know about our social freedoms, and ninety some percent of Iraqis just wanted to raise their families in peace and did not hesitate to tell us. I really fell in love with the Iraqi people. My platoon and I played soccer with some of those crowds of kids, we had dinner and shared food with families in their homes, we even went to a few house parties, and my lieutenant and I spent one very memorable afternoon swimming in an irrigation ditch with five young women. It is all of them I think of when anyone tells me we need to turn the Middle East into a sheet of glass or that all Muslims are our enemies.
I remember thinking on this briefly when I was there, but more so since I’ve returned, usually when I’m day dreaming behind the wheel of my van, but what we were doing when we were doing our jobs, patrolling the streets, conducting road blocks vehicle searches, bodily searching individuals, and searching houses, couldn’t be helping our long range plans for winning hearts and minds. I really have to wonder, how long would it take me to move from a position of thanks for my despotic government being removed to feeling like I lived in a conquered and occupied country if I saw foreign troops on the streets of my hometown, Tallahassee, everyday? Add to this our having bases and troops in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia, ( I may have missed a few, we have approximately 700 bases in 130 countries ) some of them for decades, our Navy off their coast, our fighter jets in their sky’s, the CIA in business with monarchs, dictators and thugs, and our State Department treating their leaders like irresponsible children, it’s no wonder moderate Muslims take to the streets shouting “Death to America” and a minority takes action against us. I would expect we would be doing the same thing if say, China had bases on our soil, and her Navy patrolled our coastline and Chinese fighter jets streaked across our sky. In short, this is all hard to admit, but our actions do have consequences.
Fast forward again to the present day, I am out of active duty, and in the Army Reserves. (I wanted to stay active duty, but my wife said I would be single, so we had a compromise.)To be honest the reserves has bored me to tears and I haven’t felt like I’m giving anything back to my country, so I looked into getting attached to a National Guard unit on our border with Mexico for a tour or two. However, when I learned they don’t have the authority to apprehend illegal border crossers and can only call up our overworked and overstretched border patrol when they spot illegal activity, I got myself in trouble again by thinking – about what I had done in Kosovo and about what I knew our military had done to our own people in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina (disarmed law abiding civilians only trying to protect themselves when the police had failed to do so). To add insult to injury, our Guardsmen and women on our own border don’t have ammunition and have, on several documented occasions, actually had to retreat when facing fire from Mexican paramilitary groups. Now why would I want to sign up for that? To be witness to the violation of America’s sovereignty? No one in the Executive branch of our government is doing anything about it, and it makes me wonder why I am even in the Army at all.
Why are we the worlds policeman when our own country is being openly violated? Why are we borrowing money hand over fist from nations not exactly our friends, just to spend it on our out of control foreign policy? I am starting to feel like the powers that be do not have America’s interests in mind at all. It’s starting to feel like our ruin is their objective. From our factories closing and moving overseas, to the plunging value of our dollar, America is crumbling. Yet I love her far to much to watch her fall apart.
This is why I am taking my personal revolution and joining forces with Dr. Ron Paul’s revolution. His “bring all the troops home” non-intervention foreign policy and plans to put America first again are just what we need at this time in our history. I don’t expect you to agree with everything he says, but I do hope we can all put our differences aside and join him in seeing that ALL the troops come home, the Republic is restored and America saved. Thank you and God Bless.
Zak Carter served active duty Army in 3/7 INF, 3rd ID with an 11b MOS from 2001 to 2004 and in the Army Reserves in 3/485th, 108th Training Division as Range Cadre from 2004 – 2008.
Zak currently serves as the Marketing Director for Veterans for Ron Paul 2012.
Contact Zak at email@example.com