The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq

By Joshua Key, Lawrence Hill

 “Destined to develop into a part of the literature of the Iraq warfare . . . a considerable contribution to history.”—Los Angeles Times

Now in paperback, The Deserter’s Tale is the 1st memoir from a soldier who abandoned from the warfare in Iraq, and a bright and damning indictment of the yank army crusade. In spring 2003, younger Oklahoman Joshua Key was once despatched to Ramadi as a part of a wrestle engineer corporation. It was once now not the crusade opposed to terrorists and evildoers he had anticipated. Key observed Iraqi civilians crushed, shot, and killed, or maimed for very little provocation. After seven months in Iraq, Key used to be domestic on depart and knew he couldn't go back. So he took his kinfolk and went underground within the usa, ultimately looking asylum in Canada after fourteen months in hiding. Detailing the grinding horrors of existence as a part of an occupying strength, The Deserter’s Tale is the tale of a conservative-minded kinfolk guy and patriot who went to conflict believing unquestioningly in his government’s dedication to integrity and justice, and the way what he observed in Iraq remodeled him into anyone who may possibly now not serve his country.

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Who can take the entire humans within the mall And chop ‘em up with Uzis? The sapper daddy can, ‘Cause he is taking loads of pains And makes the harm move strong. Iraqis, within the mouths of the officials and squaddies of the us military, have been by no means Iraqis. And Muslims have been by no means civilians. not anyone as soon as pointed out the notice “civilian” within the comparable breath as “Iraq” while I educated to develop into a soldier. Iraqis, i used to be taught to think, weren't civilians; they weren't even humans. We had our personal phrases for them. Our commanders referred to as them ragheads, so we did an identical. We referred to as them habibs. We referred to as them sand niggers. We known as them hajjis; it wasn’t until eventually i used to be despatched to conflict guy in Iraq defined to me that hajji was once a complimentary time period for a Muslim who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. In education, all I knew used to be hajji was once anyone to be despised. The hajjis, habibs, ragheads, and sand niggers have been the enemy, they usually weren't to be considered with a shred of humanity. No ask yourself my spouse and that i either idea, by the point I flew in a foreign country to conflict, that each one Muslims have been terrorists and all terrorists have been Muslims and that the single resolution used to be to kill as many Iraqis as attainable. there's another factor i used to be taught at fortress Leonard wooden that chipped away at my soul and made it that a lot more straightforward, a yr or so later, for me to just accept and participate in the violence that my fellow squaddies dished out to civilians in Iraq. two times in the course of my time at boot camp, a drill sergeant by means of the identify of Johnson made me wake up from my mattress in the midst of the evening, acquire one or aides, and beat up recruits who have been falling at the back of of their tasks or failing to conform with orders. Sergeants, i used to be instructed, weren't allowed to overcome up trainees. so that they used me to do their soiled paintings, and that i, stupidly, felt venerated to just do as they stated. the 1st time, Sergeant Johnson despatched me to overcome up a trainee named Taylor, who had lunged at a drill sergeant and attempted to begin a struggle with him. My associates and that i threw a blanket over his head and beat his chest and ribs with a sock filled with cleaning soap. I whacked him challenging whereas he cried out in soreness. “You been making hassle for we all and there'll be extra of this the next day in the event you preserve it up,” I acknowledged. After taking his licks, Taylor didn’t attempt to commence any longer fights with noncommissioned officials. a short time later, Sergeant Johnson despatched me out back, to overcome up a recruit through the identify of Armstrong who have been refusing to take orders. once again, my acquaintances and that i jumped on him within the evening, coated his head, and pummeled his physique. Armstrong screamed throughout the complete beating and saved on screaming once we left. I needed to run again and threaten to overcome him back if he didn’t close up. He fell silent after that, yet within the morning I observed that my intimidation strategies had no longer labored. after we have been woke up within the morning, Armstrong started shouting to someone who could hear that he wouldn't get up and about and that he wouldn't stick with orders. The drill sergeants took him away, and that i by no means observed him back.

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