An Iraq War Veteran's Quest for the True Meaning of Liberty and Patriotism

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Going into high school in 2001, I had no idea what the future held for me. Then 9/11 happened. I had the Bushian mentality (being raised in a staunch Republican household) of “let's go get some,” and since he had said that I could either be "either with the terrorists or against the terrorists," I wanted to be against the terrorists like every other American. My motivation and will to live were at their highest they had ever been after I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I thought to myself, "I am going to make a difference in this world. I am going to fight for our freedom!" I graduated from high school a semester early in January of 2005 to attend Marine Corps Basic Training. I deployed twice to the killing fields of Iraq, and I was completely oblivious to the fact that the war was based on total lies. I had friends who were maimed and murdered all in the name of nothing genuinely patriotic. I wish more of them were able to read the articles at lewrockwell.com and campaignforliberty.com before they made the fateful choice of enlisting.

I barely made it out of my first deployment alive, after a few close calls with IEDS and mortars (I was a M1A1 tank driver and later a gunner), which in turn lead to the collapse of my morality. I guess it is a little difficult to keep your morals when you witness the carnage most of us have faced there, like children running out in the streets getting their heads blown off, and suicide bombers blowing themselves up and killing my mentors. I came back from the war a soulless degenerate. I started hating Muslims for what I thought they stood for from my experience in the Middle East. While on my post deployment leave I would drive past the local mosque and look with pure disgust. I would think to myself, "Look at all of these terrorists," as I held a death grip on my steering wheel. It is amazing what war and war propaganda does to the mind. Man, was I wrong.

At that point, my morality had sunk into the abyss. I started drinking heavily to help numb my hatred towards life itself, which helped pass the time until my next deployment to Iraq. My next deployment consisted of wondering around the desert aimlessly looking for "bad guys." This was kind of a metaphor for what was going on in my mind. I felt completely lost about everything, and I thought to myself, "What the hell are we doing here?" I was discharged, somehow honorably, in 2009 and I still felt completely lost. I moved back to Ohio with my family, and I started praying like my parents always told me I should. I thought I might go into law enforcement like many veterans do, so I moved to Southern California to scope out a potential career.

After a few months of praying and cleaning up my act, I started finding answers. I was living in San Diego, where I was going to school at the time, and I wanted to work in the security industry for some extra cash. I was speaking to a Vietnam veteran who was giving a class for those who wish to get into the security industry, and he completely opened my eyes to a fact that had not been brought to my attention in the Marines. He said to all of us, “The reason the U.S. has so many enemies is because we create them by not minding our own business.” Right then and there it was like the veil of deceit had been ripped from my eyes. I went home and started searching for all things related to foreign policy, which is how I found Ron Paul on YouTube. I watched Dr. Paul's famous "What If?" speech, and I could not help but become furious. It was not because the Congressman offended me, but because he had enlightened me about just how wrong I was. I knew, as soon as I was done watching his speech, it was not a "What If" speech but a "What Is!" speech. After watching the "What Is!" speech, I was led to Web sites like campaignforliberty.com, antiwar.com, and lewrockwell.com. I started to become even more outraged after realizing that I had been lied to my entire life by my government, the media, and my history teachers. I really took a hit in the face while watching our former fearless leader President Bush jokingly say in front of the elite media "Those weapons of mass destruction gotta be somewhere." I wonder if the thought of my fellow veterans blood-curdling screams or the children of the Middle East getting blown to smithereens in the name of protecting us from those non-existent weapons ever crossed his mind. Probably not, just like the real sounds of war haven't entered the mind of our current chicken-hawk-in-chief, Barack Obama.

Veterans Day is no longer a holiday I will celebrate, unlike most Americans who thank our service members for "defending our freedom." I can only hope that someday all of the flag-wavers and veterans marching in the parades realize that the people of the United States have been manipulated into every war of the past hundred years, and are continuously being bombarded with propaganda to continue the wars today. Will my fellow Marines ever come to know that Major General Smedley Butler is not just the name of a war hero whose words we had to memorize by heart? Will they ever come to realize, as General Butler realized, that we are and were nothing but "musclemen" for the criminal corporate and banking cartels, and servants for the Corporatists who are perpetuating the destruction of the very idea they claim to be fighting for. I have come to this realization.

I wrote this article to give some truth to the concluding statement in Mark Crovelli's article "Kiss Honor and Morality Goodbye in the U.S. Armed Forces." In his concluding statement, Mr. Crovelli said, “May God protect us all from this group of people whose allegiance is to secrecy, immoral war, and lying politicians, instead of to defending the people of the United States.” I believe that some sort of divine intervention, in combination with a good conscience, has indeed shown me the light towards real morality and real patriotism through articles like the ones found at this Web site and other liberty-loving websites. Furthermore, I see that many more veterans have and will come to see the light of truth. My goal is to help highlight the fact that they, like myself, have sworn to “uphold and defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic,” and that our greatest threat comes from the state itself; not the Middle East. As long we continue to educate all of those who are and were serving in the military about the constant stream of lies our government spews, they will join the true patriots and the actual fight for the restoration of liberty.

Andrew Mason is a former corporal in the U.S.M.C.

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