This was written by Jonathan Bartlett, one of the veterans interviewed in "Alive Day Memories." This is excerpted from his blog, which can be read here:
Someone messaged me this today, Read it and I shall respond to it question by question.
I've read some of your stuff and in it you don't mention your stand (for or) against the war. Are you not allowed to? are you afraid? or is it that you dont have an opinon?
How do you feel towards america and the government? it seems like you internalize it all. A part of me would want to blame them for putting you in that situation. As an individual that was directly affected, how would you say you feel? was it worth it (would it even be fair to ask)?
Personally, i dont really try to think about it, although Im not for the war, or any type of war for that matter.
Now, being home, do you feel like the government has done their part to make it as comfortable for you as possible. Have they helped in normalizing your life? and even then, have they helped you find a job, have they helped you make a future?
I guess these are all questions ive always wondered about (without trying to sound political). It would be nice to hear from a person directly and not though some interview filtered through the media. I wonder if there are any repercussions for stating your true opinion? i dont know if i would be paranoid if i were you.
More then losing your limbs, i think the worst part is the psychological affects. I wish people would be warned about these things. Im clueless. i dont know what its like to be in the army.
sorry, i hope this isnt too much and i hope i havent crossed the line. all i know is to be honest and hope that you can talk about it. thanks.
Thank you for reading, I do have a stance about the war. I seem to be in the unenviable position of being for the war but against the administration. I am allowed to have a stance about anything just as you are. While we still have the right to think and feel as we will, free from governmental or interest group control, I encourage everyone to think and feel as they wish. I do. Am I afraid? To have an Opinion; No. The only thing I am afraid of is that I may not be up to the challenge of being responsible with the power I possess and the power I gain everyday. But then I understand everyone makes mistakes and they must learn from them so I will too. Also, I have at my right and left men and women who will kick me something fierce to remind me of my duty and my responsibility.
No, Its not fair to ask. This is something an empathetic human being should know. I am deeply ashamed of my government and the people whom elect it. I am still quite hopeful about the vast majority of America, but not the people who vote. These are the stupid assholes whom seem to want to trade ALL our freedoms away so they can feel safe. There are days when I want to see it made better and then there are days when I am of the mind to burn it all down and watch the trees grow in it's place, maybe start over, maybe not. As for putting me in that situation, I am pissed that the commander in chief and all his lieutenants were implicit in outfitting the soldiers, marines and other combat troopies with the worst there is to be had so their business buddies and good old boys could make a buck off this war… that I am pissed about. But I was a trained killer, It was my job to go wherever they sent me and kill whoever I was told to kill. I signed up for it. Sides, I liked my job. I was good at it and am happy to say that I probably always will be. It's a state of mind you see, it's never left.
There will always be war, conflict, violence and strife. Please, get used to it. There will always be pain and woe and grief and tears and blood, probably all over the place and everywhere for all time. Humanity will continue to kill each other off when we cant get along and generally be bitches to each other till one group or an individual can put everyone in their place and lead us on to something better. All one can do is be good at war and violence, survive, try to make the world better and hope for the best. Hiding your head in the sand, preaching nonviolence and hoping bunch of people who want what you have and will kill you to get it see your point of view will only get you and yours killed.
The government goes out of their way to make sure vets of this war are well fed, taken care of, given a lot of help and opportunities and all the medical attention they could want. They also give us lots of money and education. However, they do need to be kicked into gear sometimes. The government is a giant and slow bureaucracy you see sometimes the gears need to be greased with the blood of an incompetent bureaucrat, but then I am thinking wishfully out loud again. Some say they don't do enough for they are slow to respond and need encouragement of various kinds but they keep us fat and happy. It's a good political move on their part because they are having very little trouble keeping the vets quiet about the shit pulled in this war. Also, I doubt very strongly they are going to do much about me expressing my opinion on a public forum. And if they do come to shut me up then my plans will be accelerated by a few years. That's all.
As for the psychological aspects, it wasn't the army's fault really. The army itself is like a Giant Ant colony. The ones who do most of the work and take all the fire from the enemy are guys and girls like me. The ones whom make all the important decisions are the ones sitting in the middle of the nest having their every need met; those are the ones I have issue with. There is really NO psychological preparation that is available to make you deal with getting blown to bits and put back together again. They can prepare you for death, and dealing death to our enemies. But not dying and coming back as I did.
So. Have I answered you sufficiently?