News and opinions on situation in Iraq
22/09/04 F.T.A. 2004

FROM: hEkLe, Baquba, Iraq


“They paint the walls to cover my pen, but the Shit House Bandit has struck again!” —Shit House Bandit

The US Army loves a good robot.

A soldier who takes orders obediently without thought or question is considered a good soldier.

Each automaton is expected to take to gospel any ideas or beliefs held by the authority over him. Any thinking that would contradict the absolute omnipotence of the army as a whole is considered heresy.

The intense mind control starts very early in a soldier's career. Once a person enters into the ranks of the war machine, that person will be subjected to inane mind games and deprived of human spirit and character.

An installation of fear will break down his free will, clear it of all pride and self-respect, and replace it with fiber-optic bloodlust. The average soldier soon discovers to always be the yes-man, always stay motivated, and always know that the army is steadfast in its supremacy. Never again would that soldier think for himself or question authority.

Those few of the enlisted who would dare display any traits of individuality or independent thought are immediately singled out and dealt with.

These such “black sheep” are subjected to ridicule, ostracism, and idle threats in order to conform that soldier back to the standardized way of thinking. Trepidation plays a huge role in keeping the lower ranking in line, thus smiting any desires for an individual to speak out for himself.

Valid complaints of ill treatment are expected to pass upwards through a long, bureaucratic chain of command, usually brushed off repeatedly and almost never reaching the authority needed to deal with the problem at hand.

Robots are expected to receive orders and process them without thought or feeling. Killing is the robot's task. Emotion is not tolerated. Fear is processed into hatred and hatred is turned into motivation. The drone is expected to eat, sleep, and to mindlessly serve the High Command.

The army loves a good robot, but the army consistently neglects the fact that its soldiers are human, displaying every feeling and emotion that a person normally would.

Deployments are a long and hard trial of negativity, doubts, and horror. Soldiers in Iraq are incessantly faced with the extreme conditions of a searing desert, a constant paranoia of their volatile environment, undue stress caused by the despot authority over them, and imminent death around every corner.

The soldier will make every attempt to keep these problems to himself, to deal with them on his own terms. Talking to friends about these problems can only help so much, and an attempt to express these issues to his superiors prove to be futile…one can be accused of cowardice only so much.

Angst and frustration fill the bottle more and more everyday, until the time comes to ignite the greasy rag. With no one around, and the all seeing eye of Big Brother out of range, the soldier makes his stand within the confines of a restroom stall. Marker in hand, freshly painted white walls his canvas, he explodes and sums it all up with one rebellious thought…


It goes without saying, an American soldier is not privileged to the same constitutional rights he defends with his life.

The soldier cannot come and go as he sees fit; there is no such thing as a “two-week notice” in his line of work. Limitations are placed on what he says, and free speech is certainly not free. Incorrect thoughts are to be kept silent, and dire consequences await for those who act on their convictions. Due to the absolute privacy found in bathrooms, what was once suppressed frustrations suddenly become an open forum of ideas and acquisitions. The latrine walls become what The Combine dreads the most, a podium of free speech for soldiers.

You will not find too many of these such restrooms or portable toilets on smaller camps. The fear of authority in such places cuts too deep. However, on larger forward operating bases, usually consisting of many different units, the shit will hit the fan. You can join in on the open-ended debates, if you remembered your marker. I for one have made a black permanent marker an everyday part of my uniform.

Most of the time, you will see unit rivalries going back and forth, sort of like a dog marking his territory:

    “1/8 Cavalry was here…too damned long!”

    “HHC 854th ENG all the way”

    “B 1-7 FA don't know their asses from a hole in the ground!”

    Or you may see valid complaints from the front, such as National Guard units who were extended past a year, or soldiers who were stop-lossed from leaving the army:

    “One weekend a month?! BULLSHIT!!”

    “Thank God I got out of the army…SEVEN MONTHS AGO!!”


    “FUCK IRAQ!”

The most interesting toilets I have found in the past have been the ones containing politically heated debates, going back and forth from one scribbled statement to the next:






    …and then there's always something from the incorrigibles:




    …or one of my personal favorites:

    “FIGHT FASCISM! (insert [1] well drawn anti-swastika circle)


Bathroom graffiti is never a pretty sight. The language is always horrible, certainly not spoken through the mouths that kiss mothers. One thing should be made very clear right now: soldiers talk like a bunch of sailors, bottom line.

One thing very interesting is that of the FTA.

This is an almost underground cult within the ranks. The members of this secret organization refer to each other as Joe's. Soldiers will know who is FTA just by looking at him.

He will immediately understand that “Joe” hates being oppressed by his superiors, disagrees with the army's stupid rules, and resents the army for taking him to crazy 3rd world countries, only to try to kill him.

The actual graffiti “FTA” can be found in almost every portable toilet or restroom where others have left their opinions. It's almost never written fancy or artistic, just three bold, simple letters…


One can surely assume what it means.

It's a safe guess that “lifer's” or high ranking officers see this kind of subversive swill and become rather angry about it.

The whole façade of “one big happy army” disappears right in front of their eyes, and their petty little fantasy world of structure and order come crashing down around their ankles.

The only way to counter the bathroom graffiti is, of course, painting over the walls. Or take a can of spray paint and omit the slander quicker than G.W. Bush can black-out his sham military record.

The fallacy of treating soldiers like tools is that the soldier will eventually speak out in one way or another. No matter how many times a bathroom wall gets painted over, Joe and his pen will strike again…

“I will never run out of ink as long as there's bathroom walls to write on!” —anonymous

I strongly believe in and support bathroom graffiti.

Whether it helps to vent frustrations or simply express opinions and ideas, the free speech of the shithouse will always live on. Quick little shout-outs against the system are always good, and sometimes you feel entertained by what someone said.

Other times the graffiti isn't too intelligent, but it helps to gauge the soldier's overall feelings for the army and the war.

Obviously, the dissension is rampant as the message is literally on the wall. A good tag will remind you that you are not the only one that feels the war is wrong or your “president” is a complete joke.

However, it is the graffiti that speaks The Truth that always leaves the lasting impression:

“The loss of diversity is the degradation of effectiveness.

Submission to conformity is the deprivation of creative expression. The inability to form a personal opinion leads to the lack of self worth.


Author's Note To The Above Article: 9.24.04

From: hEkLe, Baquba, Iraq I want you to know one thing about the piece, those quotes I wrote in there are all 100% guaranteed genuine quotes I pulled off the walls of porta-johns and other restroom facilities. I write down the good ones when I see it.

And a very interesting point of view from our resistors. One thing everyone should remember is that the people we are fighting are just like any other freedom loving Americans back home, and there is no “army” of resistors as the Pentagon ignorantly assumes, it's more like a movement. I've got respect for them.

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