You will be killed
I asked him whether he was in danger of being recruited into the marines and he told me he’d already signed up and was going to officer’s training in July.
You can imagine how much I learned about this young man in two hours of conversation. And how much he learned about me.
But first, let me tell you that looking into his eyes was like looking into a deep pool of liquid nite sky, they were so black and so profound. He was tall, unbent and soft brown like new willow bark, full of sparkling potential and bursting with life.
And he listened carefully, as carefully as I listened to him.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things that happened was the hurried appearance on the scene, when we first began speaking, of his sergeant. This man I did recognize, for he’s a soldier with orders not to speak to us. And he’s been successful – until today – to not only not speak, but not listen either.
Today, he rushed out to tell Eduardo not to speak to me. We continued our conversation for a few more minutes when the sergeant again, totally focused on Eduardo, told him not to speak.
I asked the sergeant why is he telling this young man not to speak to me? He wouldn’t answer and I insisted, asking them both has Eduardo already given up his right to speak?
Eduardo told the sergeant, okay, but we continued speaking, inching a little away from the door. The sergeant again tried to butt in, doing that hey man, buddy-buddy hand and body language. I asked the sergeant what he was so afraid of that he had to keep interrupting our conversation.
He looked at me for the first time and claimed he was afraid of anything.
Eduardo and I were at the point in our conversation where we had been talking about (his) mentality “we have to get them before they come over here and get us”.
I asked him if he knew what country has gone to the most countries in the world to “get them”? I asked him if he knew how many countries in the world we had bombed since the end of WWII.
I noticed (discreetly) the sergeant observing me. I was able to ask them both, how many of the 25+ countries we’ve bombed, occupied, attacked have been countries full of white people? I saw the sergeant lean a little forward with as open and engaged a face I have ever seen.
Eduardo told me he has always wanted to be a soldier – actually an officer, an FBI agent or a drug enforcement agent – since he was little. And he told me he didn’t want war – but war is inevitable.
Inevitable because there are bad people in the world – and he wants to rid the world of these bad people, the terrorists, the ones who hurt women and children.
My goal, as he talked further about who these people were, and his role in eliminating them because he believes they are “bad”, was to get him to see that whatever reasons he has to shore up and excuse his willingness to kill people – so those people he sees as ‘bad’ believe just as strongly, just as righteously, they are killing for good reason and think HE’S the bad person.
Sue joined our conversation towards the end, when we soon had to go although Eduardo would have stayed on to speak some more. I hope he will be willing to be interviewed for our documentary.
Sue pointed out to Eduardo that there are not really bad people: all people have the ability to do good and bad things, which he agreed. I added that some people also have the superior weaponry and arms to do those bad things.
We made sure he knew we were speaking of the U.S. corporations and military, which he is joining.
I asked him, 20 years old from East Palo Alto, graduating from San Francisco State, how he thought the fact that we’ve been at war/occupation for at least 1/3 of his life contributed to his decision to join that war?
And I asked him how he thinks his peer in Iraq, who has lived under foreign troop occupation for 1/3 of his life is going to treat him as that occupier in Iraq?
He called the horrific killing of civilians – the facts of which he thinks we are foolishly accepting the word of the media – “unfortunate” and those soldiers who now are suicides or have PTSD as “not soldier material”.
He thinks he is soldier material because he knows civilian deaths are necessary for him to win this war and he will be able to carry on after being the instrument of that death.
Sue asked him if he’s ever witnessed violence or been involved in violence. He admitted he hasn’t really and surprised us when he owned his excitement connected to the power of a gun, shooting people, and the dangers of being shot.
Sue asked about his mom, his girlfriend. They are both against him going because they don’t want him to be hurt or killed.
He has all the positive knowing of a 20 year old non-combat zone privileged youth that he will not be killed in this conflict.
I left him with the guarantee that he might not die, but he will be definitely be killed if he decides to go to combat – that precious, human part of him inside that is his number one duty to protect as he goes thru life – will be killed.