Charlie Foxtrot

September 4, 2011

Drew,

I’m not sure what to say to you. I have thought about writing to for months, years now maybe, but I didn’t know what I could say that would be constructive, or if I even wanted to say something constructive to you. I don’t want to pretend that your fears are unbased, that I forgive you or that I have somehow separated in my mind who you are from what you do. I haven’t Drew, and when I look at you I do see the soldiers who bulldoze homes and murder children, and murder the fathers and mothers of children. That’s the whole point of the uniform, right? To make you indistinguishable?
But you are distinguishable Drew. I look through your photos on Facebook and I can’t stop crying, and I am forced to remember that the men and women standing next to you in uniform have friends at home looking through their Facebook photos and crying too.
Its easy when immersed in the struggle for things to seem simple. I often tell people that there is nothing complicated about US imperialism, and I firmly believe this so on the levels of history, economy and even morality. But it’s not true on the level of Facebook, on the level of memories and friendships and the pain of knowing that someone you love is doing something horribly wrong. You should know that in some ways you have made this war as complicated for me as I make it for you.
I don’t know why you are in Afghanistan Drew. You say that you “have no regrets, because with this place came the kind of knowledge that would be impossible if you languished in safety.” What makes me so angry about this is that it’s only about you. What difference does it make to the people whose country you are occupying what you have learned from the experience? Can you really be so selfish as to value your own learning process over the lives of other human beings? To talk about “languishing in safety” as if it were the only alternative to imperialism is equally frustrating. Are we “languishing in safety” when we stand side by side with Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans fighting or freedom, justice and human rights?
I don’t want to preach at you Drew. I don’t want to tell you that it’s not too late, that you can still go AWOL and refuse to submit to their orders. I have always known you have the courage to resist - the question is whether or not you are willing to face up to your own responsibility as a comrade and a human being.
You say that we “find ourselves on opposite sides of this wall that others have built for us,” but the truth is that we build this wall every day with our choices and actions. There is no US imperialism without its military, and there is no military without its soldiers. I was not born on this side of the struggle, I chose it, despite the fact that most of my family stood staunchly on the other side. Every day you make a choice too - to fight a rich man’s war or to put down your gun and begin the real fight. At the end of the day, the choice is always yours. You are a free man Drew, and with freedom comes responsibility. Only you can absolve yourself of the crimes you commit.
In struggle and solidarity, and with hope to soon stand arm and arm again against injustice and oppression,

-M
Jun 24

September 4, 2011

Drew,

I’m not sure what to say to you. I have thought about writing to for months, years now maybe, but I didn’t know what I could say that would be constructive, or if I even wanted to say something constructive to you. I don’t want to pretend that your fears are unbased, that I forgive you or that I have somehow separated in my mind who you are from what you do. I haven’t Drew, and when I look at you I do see the soldiers who bulldoze homes and murder children, and murder the fathers and mothers of children. That’s the whole point of the uniform, right? To make you indistinguishable?

But you are distinguishable Drew. I look through your photos on Facebook and I can’t stop crying, and I am forced to remember that the men and women standing next to you in uniform have friends at home looking through their Facebook photos and crying too.

Its easy when immersed in the struggle for things to seem simple. I often tell people that there is nothing complicated about US imperialism, and I firmly believe this so on the levels of history, economy and even morality. But it’s not true on the level of Facebook, on the level of memories and friendships and the pain of knowing that someone you love is doing something horribly wrong. You should know that in some ways you have made this war as complicated for me as I make it for you.

I don’t know why you are in Afghanistan Drew. You say that you “have no regrets, because with this place came the kind of knowledge that would be impossible if you languished in safety.” What makes me so angry about this is that it’s only about you. What difference does it make to the people whose country you are occupying what you have learned from the experience? Can you really be so selfish as to value your own learning process over the lives of other human beings? To talk about “languishing in safety” as if it were the only alternative to imperialism is equally frustrating. Are we “languishing in safety” when we stand side by side with Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghans fighting or freedom, justice and human rights?

I don’t want to preach at you Drew. I don’t want to tell you that it’s not too late, that you can still go AWOL and refuse to submit to their orders. I have always known you have the courage to resist - the question is whether or not you are willing to face up to your own responsibility as a comrade and a human being.

You say that we “find ourselves on opposite sides of this wall that others have built for us,” but the truth is that we build this wall every day with our choices and actions. There is no US imperialism without its military, and there is no military without its soldiers. I was not born on this side of the struggle, I chose it, despite the fact that most of my family stood staunchly on the other side. Every day you make a choice too - to fight a rich man’s war or to put down your gun and begin the real fight. At the end of the day, the choice is always yours. You are a free man Drew, and with freedom comes responsibility. Only you can absolve yourself of the crimes you commit.

In struggle and solidarity, and with hope to soon stand arm and arm again against injustice and oppression,

-M

Jun 23

Home is the hardest part of war. We grit our teeth and march forward, foolishly, we are wounded, we kill and we die—but we are fighters.

The war ends and the veteran returns home; the rifle relinquished and the uniform doffed. Who will teach us to be the person you remember again, the lines of a lover’s body, or the unwieldy language of our antebellum joys?

The veteran’s new clothes are poorly fitted to the once proud frame, hands are empty and restless, feet unaccustomed to pavement and grass.

Friends and enemy have mustered out leaving no company to march with, or toward. 

Diane Arbus, eat your heart out.
Oct 29

Diane Arbus, eat your heart out.

Had I not known 
that I was dead 
already
I would have
mourned
the loss of my
life

-Ōta Dōkan
Oct 15

Had I not known
that I was dead
already
I would have
mourned
the loss of my
life

-Ōta Dōkan

No photos.
Oct 9

No photos.

The Army takes going green seriously I suppose.

Something has to be done to offset the use of jet fuel in humvees I guess.
Oct 8

The Army takes going green seriously I suppose.

Something has to be done to offset the use of jet fuel in humvees I guess.

Sep 25

ARI

Aug 5

ASHNA

Aug 3

DUNCAN

Aug 2

EMMA

Pugilism seems to blur lines; sex and killing, comraderie and antagonism.
Jul 13

Pugilism seems to blur lines; sex and killing, comraderie and antagonism.

Jul 4

These are the hidden places in my life; a corner of time and place that will disappear next time I return.

It makes me happy that they are so ephemeral, how dull life would be if we could capture small joys without worrying about their impermanence.

Packed stadium for Monday Night Raw. 

People paid good money; they are up in arms, in absolute ecstasy, in tears.

It makes you wonder what we all want, if we can show such dedication and emotion for something so unabashedly false. Maybe it’s the fantasy or escape. Maybe what we really want if for the unreal, the fantastically impossible to penetrate our world and reign over our little lives.
Jul 2

Packed stadium for Monday Night Raw.

People paid good money; they are up in arms, in absolute ecstasy, in tears.

It makes you wonder what we all want, if we can show such dedication and emotion for something so unabashedly false. Maybe it’s the fantasy or escape. Maybe what we really want if for the unreal, the fantastically impossible to penetrate our world and reign over our little lives.

I’ve done this before…

It’s so strange to play war in the woods, knowing that you will be warm tonight, knowing that no one will die today. 

Watching the next generation training to do what you did A year ago, It’s like looking at a photo of your young parents; you wonder if they know if they will have children, if they know that in thirteen years they will be divorced, if they look at their sons and daughters and hope for better.
Jul 1

I’ve done this before…

It’s so strange to play war in the woods, knowing that you will be warm tonight, knowing that no one will die today.

Watching the next generation training to do what you did A year ago, It’s like looking at a photo of your young parents; you wonder if they know if they will have children, if they know that in thirteen years they will be divorced, if they look at their sons and daughters and hope for better.

Moving on means accepting you will never be this young again.
Jun 22

Moving on means accepting you will never be this young again.