Yes I've Killed Innocents - Interview With A Disappeared Soldier

Jay Shaft

A soldier with a heavy heart and a real tragic choice confronting him contacted me and told me a story of his horror in Iraq and how he would not go back again. He said he would not really be AWOL right away by the legal terms, but would instead be classified as non-reporting for duty or refusing to comply with an officer’s orders on the official duty reporting rosters and duty logs. If he does not comply within a certain time frame he is then AWOL. This is the same thing that shows up on George W. Bush’s military records, which were obtained by CBS and Dan Rather recently.

This is in his true words and it gives his reasons for not wanting to go back for a second time to serve in a combat zone of Iraq. He is a reservist who has been extended at least three times under stop loss measures to maintain troop deployment levels. He was not ever given a choice or a contract renewal option, and has no legal recourse or way out. He was one week from getting out of the Standing Ready Reserves when he was reactivated and sent to Iraq in 2003.

This interview was actually supposed to be released on 9/14/04, which was when this soldier told me he was obligated to report back for a second mobilization to Iraq. This is his true words and his reasons for not wanting to go back for a second time to serve in a combat zone of Iraq. The soldier has asked to be called Disappearing Soldier for reasons he will very clearly explain in this candid and very moving interview.

The open unstructured discussion sessions and the structured interviews were conducted during the last week of August with the final part of the interview being completed on September 5th, 2004. I was hospitalized with a life threatening illness on 9/6 and was just released to home health care on 9/17. I therefore was unable to get publish it any sooner.


Note of Explanation

This is going on record right now before anything can ever be supposed or asked about my character or the character and veracity of these interviews and the soldiers involved. I want to be completely on the record from the beginning and get the facts established.

I do not know any identities of the soldiers I interview. This will be explained below. I am unable to reveal or endanger any soldier if I really am unable to do it.

As part of the some rules and agreements I have made to get these interviews, I must abide by these certain obligations to actually be able to protect the soldier’s identity. Each interview, or set of interviews with an individual soldier is done on a one time use, pre-paid card style cell phone which has a limited amount of minutes and then it is of no use. That phone is then destroyed so as to prevent any phone records from being subpoenaed or traced back to anyone or any organization that might have helped arrange these interviews.

I am not aware of this soldier’s identity or that of any recently interviewed soldier’s identity. The knowledge of the line unit or actual company or platoon they were attached to is also unknown to me. I do not know the unit of any soldier but do have a general idea of the parent Brigade or Division.

That is to know if certain battle field/counter insurgency activity details are really a correct picture of a whole unit or one man’s view. It also ties in along with specific losses and casualty claims, verifying if they are correct along with the dates of actions being in line with the story as it was told to me. This is in cases of extensive detailing of heavy loss of life/limb due to bad Intel or equipment for instance.

These Reserve and Guard troops are going to Iraq without proper combat training. Many troops do not have one single day of actual situational security force training, which is killing soldiers at a horrendously stunning rate. I am hearing horror stories and nightmares beyond even my belief or experiences to this point.

A soldier calls me on a prearranged number, and we go about doing an interview at their discretion and only talking about what they choose to discuss. There is a set of questions I try to ask after a loose conversation that can last for an hour or more. I do a more structured style interview if they can make it that far emotionally.

I don’t rearrange things to fit a way I want it to sound. I never change a soldier’s wording or the way he phrases his responses. I put the questions and responses in exactly the order they occurred. Now no one can cast any doubt or accuse me of holding out or skewing my facts or fabricating my own story. I am being right up front and open, that’s all folks.


The Interviews

The following is the free form/interview sessions it they took place with the days noted when there was a break or a day or two in between contact. Some personal details and other small details have been changed or excluded to protect this man’s identity.

On 30 June 2004 the Army announced plans to order 5,600 Soldier in the Individual Ready Reserve to active duty for possible deployment with the next Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom rotations. Those Soldiers called up will have 30 days from the date the orders were issued to take care of personal business before having to report to a mobilization site, officials said. The orders call for 18 months of active duty, but that could be extended for a total of 24 months if needed, they said. The IRR call-up does not impact retired Soldiers, contrary to several civilian media reports.


8/29 - First Interview

Interviewer: First off let me get you to tell me a little of your background and what your recent history with the military has been.

DS: Well I have to just be careful of what I say about home, and how old I am, and that kind of thing. You will go back and really look it over? Clean it up if I slip or it looks like it was a mistake to say?

Interviewer: Yes. That’s the deal. I don’t know who you are right now, so be careful if you don’t want to tell me or give too much away. I made you go through the routine you did so we would be able to keep you safe, and I am going to have to admit I want to be safe too. I can’t be in real trouble for not knowing a damn thing. I have to be able to talk to someone else.

DS: Right. I know, but I’m still nervous, you sure they can’t tap your phone or trace it?

Interviewer: No! I just got it this morning; I didn’t even know the number until about 30 minutes before the call you got. You are as safe as I can make it. I don’t know how else to do it.

DS: Sure. Next item then. I need to keep moving this forward. I hate just throwing around an idea and it’s already been done.

Interviewer: Your recent history with the Army?

DS: I was just called back for my second tour in a combat zone of Iraq. Well, I’m pretty sure it will be in a combat zone or area where there has been heavy fighting. The whole country is gone to a daily incursion or bombing, some kind of attack, a complete loss of what little control we had. I can’t see it getting better.

Interviewer: You already did a year in Iraq? Were you Reserves or National Guard?

DS: Technically in the Reserves, but by a very fine line they drew on my papers. I was sort of Standing Ready Reserves, um, but I can’t go too much into that. Uh, I will answer the next one now.

Yes, I was just in Iraq for a year. Over a year, and there was an extension of my duty twice in that time. No wife or kids, my parents are. uh, um, um, gee, well no that’s off limits. NO! They are not in this interview; it might get them somehow involved. I explain them later maybe.

Interviewer: Okay, sure it’s your interview, keep going.

DS: Back to this. Deep thought here, gee, um, all pretty much to the first year I did. Yes, good for a point to how I am now about to probably go and do what I thought about.

They just called me back! AGAIN! TWO TIMES! I have to go to combat and kill people again? I have to watch the soldiers around me die and get blown up again? I know that I can’t do it! OH! Why me or anyone else?

Interviewer: So are you going to report back? I really am not trying to encourage you to go AWOL or not report but I will not say that I would try to stop you. I think that it might take some courage that many would never understand or want to understand for that matter.

DS: You wouldn’t be able to stop me, you wouldn’t be able to make me do it either, no you don’t have a thing to do with it. You are just lucky to hear me talk about it. I could hang up and you would always wonder, and it would kill you to want to know what that guy did. But you haven’t tried to get me to pull some big time press publicity stunt; glory seeking, camera time crap, and you don’t want me to tell you too much. Keep it like that and we’ll keep talking until the last day before I’ve got to make up my mind.

Interviewer: Fair enough. From what you have heard, how many soldiers do you think have gone AWOL or not reported when they were ordered to? Any rough idea or number?

DS: I really don’t know for sure. The rumors go around and you really don’t know what’s true after a while. I know that I have heard of over 300 of the ready freddies, that’s the IRR (Individual Ready Reserves) who did not show up at the active duty base where we do our ship outs and mobilizations from. I know they were saying some of the Individual Ready Reserve reporting stations had as much as 50-60% of the soldiers who did not report by the date on the call up notification papers. I really can’t tell you if that’s true, but watch the press and the Military reaction when they don’t report and see the feathers fly when it hits the fan.

Just wait till the end of September and see how much more this is in the news. It won’t be a story that anyone can hide, but they’ll try the hardest to drown it out or leave it out.

I can only be vague about that because I was ready to revert to IRR but I never got a chance to get that far. I just don’t know enough of how it works; they changed it all by executive order after 9/11 anyway. Bush made it easy to just slip us right in to a base and onto an airplane. I did over 8 months of airport security after 9/11, and then settled back to my life in school, then Iraq came up.

Interviewer: Without being specific, where would you go if you didn’t report?

DS: Canada, or maybe somewhere in the south, I’m not telling you, it’s sounding silly now but I have to think it out. It’s silly now that I think about it, but some guys did it and they hid out right here in the US. No more on that, uh, enough of that. Um, heck, why even leave, it’s probably going to be crazy with so many people to find in the next month or two. They won’t know where to start or who to look for.

Interviewer: So you think you’ll be in a big group of soldiers not even going back at all?

DS: Yes, there’s no doubt. No doubt at all in my mind or anyone else in the Reserves or Guard who got a double tap this time. We made it back alive and unhurt physically, but with all this burden of stop loss, and extensions, and pay loss or no pay for six months. We did our Vietnam and they can stick it up their, um, backsides. Uh, Iraq, um, no um, way, that is one that you got me going back to that you are really, um fu… um oh crap.

Interviewer: You don’t use profanity at all or you stop yourself right before you say it. Why? Just curious because the guys I talked with so far almost didn’t notice after being to war.

DS: I am devoutly religious and I do not swear if I can help it. In Iraq I did, and I have tried to atone for that. I asked that God take the language of war and killing from my tongue and he did. I still slip but it’s a lot less now over a few months time back home. I started to heal up and then I got the notice and it ripped it all back open. I had a scab on an open wound. I keep putting a band-aid on it and they tear it off and let me bleed.

(He then openly weeps and cries for several minutes and asked that I remove some very violent and vulgar swearing. He did use some words that showed me he had just been in a war and in some form of bloody combat on a daily basis.)

Interviewer: Are you okay? You want a break?

DS: No, but I think people might wonder about this soldier who doesn’t swear and uses such correct grammar and tries to be so proper. I don’t want to be the mean assed killer who didn’t and couldn’t give a fuck!

(He then lost control and screamed the next part over the phone.)

Okay! Okay! There! Is that real enough! It hurts! Ah! It hurts! Fuck yeah it hurts! Jesus forgives me for that, but this is my pain! I came back, I want to stay here damn you! Fuck you! You can’t send me back to that place!

I killed people you stupid fucker! Do you know that? Do you? Do the people who send us to Iraq know how that feels? Does Bush? Does Rumsfeld or his dumb fucks in the pentagon?

I killed people who were there at the wrong time! Fuck the war! I have to live with this now! I killed innocent people! Do you know that! Fuck the Iraqis that were trying to kill us! They were fighting us! I did the only thing I could! Yeah it’s easier to live with that, but it’s still fucking death!

(This was left in at his request, but the interview was stopped till he could better control himself. We both needed a break after this. The interview was resumed after he called me back after about an hour.)

DS: Sorry, I couldn’t help myself, uh, I lost it. My God is there for me, um, this is hard, it God’s will, but it’s hard. I will explain that as we go through this but I don’t want to identify my specific denomination, except as Christian based, but NOT the type of Jerry Falwell holy roller Iraq is a heathen nation stuff they keep showing on Christian Television Network and on those cable channels. I worship the God of love and caring and kindness.

Interviewer: Okay go on with that, I want to hear about how a religious man, or one who believes in God, goes to war.

DS: My faith believes in the sanctity and sacredness of all human life, and any living creature is God’s creature who he loves unconditionally, no questions or rules. All people are sacred be they Christian. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Taoist, Pagan, Satanist, Atheist, or anything you choose to accept as religion or worship. It does not matter what you are as long as you are a human being. You have a life and it is sacred and beloved by God and that is all that I care about. It is of the same value as mine even though I am an American and you might be an Iraqi who is not like me.

Interviewer: Wow. Okay I was not ready for that. What did the war do to you with that kind of belief system?

DS: Destroyed it and made me a part of the carnage and not just a part of it but a willing tool and a participant. It made me take another human life, after acts of rebellion made me go in the Army. It made my parents mad, um yeah, and uh, it hurt them. I also wanted to get away from the homestead and um, not go back ever again. I was too poor to make it another way into college.

Interviewer: Do you think you might have killed any civilians accidentally? If you don’t want to answer that we’ll end it for the day.

DS: No, I’ll answer that. That’s why I don’t want to go back to Iraq. I won’t go back if I do what I am planning

I won’t do it I tell you! No! I won’t go back again!

I won"t go back! I killed people! I won’t go back!

(Breaks down crying)

Yes! Oh God, Yes! Oh God Forgive Me! Yes, I’ve killed innocent people. I will live with that forever. Oh God forgive me, grant me mercy, please forgive me.

(At this point he cries, and prays, and asks me to pray with him. He really was in total agony over his recent tour of duty, this was a raw wound just reopened by his second recall.)

God, I’ve killed, and it will never be all right, no matter how much I pray about it. I’m a man of faith and I know that God has forgiven me, but I can’t go back and do it again. No! I won’t do it. It’s a SIN! And I won’t believe that it’s right! It’s wrong to put us in this position. Its murder to needlessly kill innocent civilians who keep getting caught in the crossfire.

Not only is that murder and a war crime, it’s a crime against God’s word! Thou shalt not kill, blessed are the peacemakers, and beat your swords into plowshares.

What’s George Bush making us do?

Making us commit murder by sending us to Iraq! We are murdering these innocents! God please forgive the American soldier! I ask again. What’s George Bush making us do? Kill for his stupid holy oil war!

Interviewer: What about the civilians in the line of fire. How is trying not to shoot them coming into play or is there even time to think in the middle of a battle or attack?

DS: AH! You just have to hear it? I told you to ask me the hard questions, and we really getting into some hard stuff. This is really bad, you are going to hear some things none of us will even tell each other. We won’t talk about this after action. Our after action reports and the paperwork get done, but we will not talk it over even doing the hump stuff writing it up.

I tried a few times, but it is something you can get the heck beat out of you for. Not to go there now. It’s just not what one of us wants to talk about after it’s over. We might still be shaking and have a buddies blood on our face or hands. You just jam it down and keep moving to stay alive.

It’s a sin! A sin if you kill an innocent child, or because you turned your back your friend got shot, or your sergeant got killed because you pulled back after you saw a woman on the street. I missed a shot because a woman and a kid stepped out down the road from a full on firefight. We were taking heavy fire for over an hour and then a break came up.

A bunch of people started running around and crossing the road. I saw a bunch of insurgents, yeah you can tell some because they wear some scarves and face masks, or ski masks or something to cover their faces. You see them down the street setting up for another RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) attack and you start shooting. I aimed at this one guy with a rifle mounted round (RPG shell that can be fired from an AK-47 style rifle) and then a woman and kid ran out there right in front of him.

I had to hold my fire for a second, and a shell came in on us and my sergeant got frag hits and part of the explosion blew his face off. I could have shot that fucker but I held back just for a second. I had him clean, dead shot, no way I miss, he was dead. Now my sarge is dead and I am still alive. I wake up and see his blood splattering on the wall behind me.

I had a choice and I would not have shot a kid or a woman. But I didn’t shoot the fucker aiming at my people, and my sarge died, I got hit, and one of our new kids lost an arm.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!! No more! I did that! It’s my fault! Now you ask me why I won’t go back? Why? You want to go for me?

Uh, oh my God I didn’t want to do that. I’m going to stop making myself hurt and feel any worse.

That is what this war keeps doing to the soldiers, um, uh, those who can still have feelings. The reservists and guardsman are stuck doing this again and again and we got to go back now. The men and women of our country are going to have their own years of therapy and nightmares and the suicides and alcoholics or pill heads. We’ll pay for this for long years down the road.

Uh, I have to stop now. I’ll call you tomorrow or the next day, um, whenever I feel ready.

Interviewer: Okay, get some rest.


8/30 - Second Interview

Interviewer: Let’s get to a subject that should start us out on a safer area. How far did you get in school? Also how long were you in the Army?

DS: I did three years in the Army on Active Duty and then of course I was on my deferred Reserve duty while I went to college. I made it through two years of college and received a degree for my troubles. I was in my junior year of university when all Iraq broke loose and the Bush hit the fan.

I had a week left on my Standing Reserve papers, and then I would have been back to an IRR list. I was still kind of Reserve that was on ready call mobile orders, but I just couldn’t figure out what the rules they were going by. So close and I thought I made it, and they wouldn’t have been able to do a thing to me. Well, the same tale of woe as the thousands of others who had it happen to them. Now you are in a Reserve or Guard unit ready for deployment and you have a few weeks or maybe a month and a half if you’re lucky to get it all together.

Yes sir, gear up, mount up, and ship out, no warning and only about eight days of any type of training for combat/hazardous conditions. To say we get trained to do security patrols or do IED removal or anything that an active duty soldier is highly trained for is a joke. It’s not true at all.

Not true America! Do you hear me? We are going to keep dying because of this!

Let me get into this question because it was the main reason my friend put me in contact with you. We have zilch for real training before we get to Iraq, and the newer units have nothing at all. NONE! Check the casualty rates for the new units or those who rotated in after the beginning of this year.

Interviewer: Okay this is what I want to get into really deeply. The families are exposing this who have lost loved ones in Iraq, they have been giving me shocking details in my recent interviews. Some soldiers, ones who were severely wounded have also spoken up about this. Let me just let you go at this. It’s your time, tell me what you want to get out there.

DS: You’ll just let me tell it like it is? No censorship? You said you wanted this for an interview, but I thought it was an angle to just get close enough to trick me into something else. You really are going to do this for us soldiers aren’t you? You really want the truth to help us serving soldiers? Wow, I get it now; I see why you take your time, uh, yeah, and do this the way you do it.

Interviewer: This stuff is killing men and women and costing children and families their mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sons, daughters, and dearly loved ones. I have spoken to the soldiers, and also to the families. I have to tell you it is not a neutral issue for me now after all the pain and sorrow I have seen and heard. I have to admit a personal interest and ties that other journalists would run from and the story would not come out because of it. It is something you have to live and breathe or it’s just not real.

DS: So you really will tell it like I tell you? All right, game on my man. You got it straight from me about how some of what I’ve seen has been killing us in large numbers. I can only report what I’ve seen and what other soldiers and people have told me.

First off about our choice of whether or not many Reserves and Guard really want to be over in Iraq. Not really many at all, I would say a very small and dwindling portion. That’s right now and over the last few months, well, uh, gee, let’s really say since the extensions of duty started keeping us in Iraq.

That has been the real big factor in making us really scream and holler. Make a soldier stay another three months or longer after he knew he was supposed to go home, watch a bunch of the extended soldiers die right after they announce the extensions and extended rotations, and a real wake up started.

Uh, well, say you were just plugging along and knowing you were going home for good, or keeping your eyes shut and making it your only reality, get that? Still feel good about being in the military? What is that going to do real fast when they give you 90 more hot days under fire in the desert, uh, in country, like my top said? You got no out, no choice, and now you are that much more on the ball to die? Uh, what would that do to you, and your morale and your family’s, what would you do?

What would you think when it happened? If you haven’t been there you have no right to ask me to think like that or to deal with it. Then when we finally get back home get put right back on call up orders for an 18 month to two year tour of duty all over again.

Let’s be real clear about this, 5 by for us grunts and mud eaters. Let’s say this as clear as you can.

This is George W. AWOL Bush’s war. HIS! HE MADE US GO! He alone had the power to invade Iraq. Congress did not have any way to stop it even if they had wanted to try.

His war our soldiers dead! So many people in Iraq dead! Fuck Bush! Sorry for that, but fuck Bush. He killed my friends, yeah the Iraqis shot them, but he killed them. He did!

Oh, um, da.., uh. Shit, I keep swearing but I try to keep it clean. I made my mind up not to but I can make it better later when I pray. Yes I know that’s silly for you to hear, but my soul is so dirty right now, I am trying to wash it clean. My mind can’t keep believing I asked God to take it away and he did. I fell away from my faith for so long and then it came back so hard. God shook me awake and saved me.

Interviewer: Wait, tell me about the suicide attempt. Can you go into that?

DS: AH! Um, my man you kick me in the balls when you keep that stuff up. I know, I know, we talked it over before this twice. Okay it’s going to be real quick and not a big deal.

I got back home and the second day I tried to eat my gun. I almost did it and it was really an act of God. It was a miracle to be here now. The trigger spring had froze shut because I was gone over a year. My own gun we are talking about. I just went in the case and pulled out my 9 and put it in my mouth and tried to blow my brains out. I heard a snap and I actually felt the bullet and thought I was dead. I fell over and laid there on my floor.

Well then I must have passed out or blacked out. I woke up and was still alive and breathing. The trigger broke because I pulled it so hard and it cut the mess out of my hand. It slice half my finger open to the bone. I must have tried to pull the trigger and just locked down on it in fear and broke it loose. That’s how much I wanted to stop the pain. It hurt that bad and it was close for me to not just go get another pistol out and try again. I had to do it quick because when I stopped to clean up I could not do it or think it again.

No more of that. God saved me for a reason. I won’t dirty and ruin my new life by going against his word and killing or letting others kill around me. Not with my life almost taken three times. No it was not to be. That is all on that, it still puts chills in me.

Interviewer: Okay, I had to ask you. Thanks for being honest. Now back to what you had been saying about Bush making the war happen. What were you explaining?

DS: Yeah the push to go blow up Iraq and kill off almost a thousand troops. That is Bush’s fault. He went and made this war happen. He had the only control over it and he did this. PERIOD! HE DID IT!

That’s something Bush took by Executive Order that he wrote and Congress just sat back and let go into law. It can’t be taken back now. No it’s way too late, we are at over 980 or more dead and uncounted thousands torn into pieces, hurt, disabled, um, gee, um they’ll be crippled, no arms, no legs, brain damage, without insurance.

Who can be made to be accountable? This is the blood of our heroes and our best and bravest, um, oh God, help them, please give them guidance, healing, comfort, rest. Um, this is too much, no, um, not any more for now.

I got to stop now for a minute to get my mind clear. I keep losing my breath, it um, it is real bad, it really hurts. You kind of need to direct this, um, I am really out there on this, uh, I did all right I think. Did I go too far or was that okay? I mean you said this was my words and my story.

Interviewer: Yeah, you are doing more than okay. You are doing a fantastic job, just tell me and we can stop. I don’t know what’s going to come out till you get to it and feel that it needs to be out there and exposed. It’s your show, all yours, this is the time you can tell it like it is.

Anytime you say stop it is over. You need a break we take one for however long you need. You decide to quit and not go on that is also fine. It is your call all the way. If you decide later to tell me to not write this up and publish it, it is never mentioned again. End of story, never happened, because it’s your story, I just help you put it in words.

DS: Okay, break time for five. Stop the tape and just talk to me like a person.

(Interview resumes in about 15 minutes time, after the soldier has had time to talk about a completely different topic besides war and death. He said it’s okay to put it in the interview as a contrast. The talk was about puppies and kittens, little farm animals and how they smell when you are a kid. Being on a farm and the animals and the hayloft and a lot of kid stuff. That is the innocent human side of this man I spoke to. I found he had great depth and intelligence.)

Interviewer: Let me ask or state something here, I’m not sure if you can answer this but you will have run into this situation possibly. There were many units that came back before the extensions came into effect, but many of them or the soldiers in them are up a second time. These were active duty units and they might be on the third tour if you count Afghanistan and various post 9/11 security deployments.

Have you heard an uproar or grumbling or anything like the stop-lossed/ extended Reserves-Guard forces have experienced after the fallout of the last several months of high casualties and heavy fighting?

DS: Yeah, they have had some real problems with almost being forced to re-enlist or extend their contracts, go for more stateside duty, or um, other attempts to keep them in service and on the duty roster or to maintain troop levels. I have some knowledge of this from being around an active duty brigade in Iraq. I hear it from being near a huge military base that has deployed troops in Iraq and more going every day, that’s after returning stateside anyway.

Well, um, let’s see, uh, gee, I don’t want to really get the guys I heard it from sent back again or put on even worse duty, so it’s just going to be hearsay or rumors from my end. I know some stuff is going to come out in the next few weeks with some orders or papers, almost iron clad, that will force active duty soldiers to extend contracts or go to a unit deploying to Iraq. Some threats are being made and it will get in the news, mark my words, it will be exposed, they will not stand down in the active ranks, not on this stuff.

I can’t really say more than that, I won’t say stuff I really don’t see myself or know was said to a man I trust. Rumors run through this army like dysentery so I won’t make up any or further some that might not be valid. I said things that will be proven in the near future. Check the media; check the failure to report figures by the end of September. It will be there and they will have to make it a news event.

Interviewer: You want to say anything else today?

DS: No, I’m done. This might be it for me. I have a few more things in mind, and I’ll call. IF I don’t this is good enough. I had my say; I will stand by what I believe is right.

Interviewer: Thank you, if you call again we’ll finish with whatever you want to say, if not it will stand as is.


9/15 - Final Interview

On September 5th he called one last time. I was completely taken by surprise because I had not expected to be contacted again. After the first few days of not hearing anything I was pretty sure he was done, he had said a whole lot for a man of his strong convictions. One further note was that the phone was to be turned off and deactivated the next day. He called while I was fighting Hurricane Francis down in Florida.

Interviewer: Yeah, CFTM, this is Jay Shaft. Who is this?

DS: Hey, I had to call back once more time. I said I would. It’s safe, it’s all right to talk. I am almost ready to go on a vacation tomorrow. I told you I might call you back.

Interviewer: Oh, man, are you serious? Are you safe and can you talk freely? Nobody is there with you making you call or anything?

DS: Relax and take it easy. You are way too paranoid, what a pain in the ass. I’m fine and no one is with me now. It’s okay to talk to me. You do want to talk to me still right?

Interviewer: Yeah, oh yeah, I just didn’t expect to ever hear from you again. I waited a few days and then I figured you wouldn’t call. Damn man I was turning the phone off tomorrow and ditching it. Oh damn, I almost missed out on this one.

DS: Well I am not going to be long. I really have made my mind up. I will not be there when my name gets called. Put me down as disappeared soldier, hey I like that, that works, Disappeared Soldier. That will be me and hundreds more that I know will not show up. Failure to report for an assigned duty or emergency call up order. Fine, but I won’t be in Iraq, and no one will die because I killed them, or didn’t try to kill them. I won’t have to make the choice to fire my weapon into a crowd. I won’t be there to do something that is wrong.

Just watch what happens right before the election. Watch what happens. You’ll see.

Just call me gone. The disappeared soldier signing out. Hah Hah!

Bye bye, friend, stay safe yourself while you do this stuff. Thanks for this one, it did me good, and you watch your butt man. You keep fighting for us and telling the world our story. We can’t do it, we won’t fight this war, and we won’t do it for these sorry leaders we have. You never really knew me, but this might let everyone out there know who I really am.

I was proud when I was a Soldier defending this country. Nothing I did in Iraq had anything to do with that. My duty was not to be over there then first time, and it won’t ever be again. Nope, not me.

Be safe all you soldiers going and coming, I love you. Be safe and get peace Iraq, I love you too.

Bye Jay.

Interviewer: Bye, I don’t know what to say but be safe. God speed what ever you choose to do. I pray for your safety and you can get those folks that help to get you if it is needed. I can’t really say anything else, this is the most overwhelming interview I have ever done.

Thanks, I hope I can call you friend one day. You are a hero of a sort that is not easy to understand. Maybe the right people will understand and get the point you were trying to get across. There is nothing nice or pure about this war anymore. I have to go I am really sick. I need to go to the hospital real soon.

DS: Oh, okay, well I hope you are okay. You all right?

Interviewer: I hope so, I have a really nasty infection in my leg. No problems because I will hold off on putting this out for about two weeks.

DS: Okay, got to go. Bye. Peace. Get better.


Published Monday, September 20th, 2004 - 09:10am GMT
Jay Shaft is a freelance writer, and the editor for the independent news group Coalition For Free Thought In Media.

He has conducted many interviews with soldiers who have served in Iraq, in which service members exposed the issues of the military's failure to provide proper equipment and training to USA troops, and he has been on the forefront of investigating the price that soldiers are paying as a result.

He has also published many letters and interviews from parents speaking out against the death or injury of their children serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Contact Jay Shaft: coalitionforfreethoughtinmedia (at) yahoo.com

Submitted by the author to the World Crisis Web
This is the print-ready version of Yes I've Killed Innocents - Interview With A Disappeared Soldier

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