I'm the former Marine/current realtor in the story. I was in New York Times and the story briefly exploded from there, it trended for a few days, and now it's starting to die down. Fox News covered it briefly last night

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Comments: 563 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

Bionaknight102 karma

What is one thing you would like US citizens to know about the conflict with ISIS?

AmericanPesh376 karma

It's a Middle East problem with a Middle East solution. We don't need to commit US boots on the ground to fight another ten year war and see 5K young Americans dead, again. We can arm and train and support the Kurds and the Iraqis without sending in units for full scale war.

aiccia-9 karma

If its a middle east problem with a middle east solution, why are you going over there?

You said previously because it could be a badass adventure that could end up doing some good...but hasn't the Teddy Roosevelt style of interfering in conflicts and cultures that we don't really understand been discredited over the last 12 years?

I wanted to support you when I thought your primary agency was a moral imperative, but now it seems like you're just looking for adventure in places that are fucked up precisely because there have been too many "adventurous" US military intrusions.

druidjc84 karma

There's a big difference between an individual volunteering to assist on their own time and at their own peril vs committing the US military and taxpayers to casualties and a drawn out war.

His motivations don't make much difference because they are his motivations. If he did it because he gets a rush from battling monsters and the Kurds don't mind, why should you?

AmericanPesh43 karma

you nailed it my friend

AmericanPesh22 karma

TR did a lot more than just go to war. He lived an overall strenuous life as an explorer and cowboy.

I had a chance to do good and have the adventure of a lifetime doing it.

Conversely, you might be doing good at the local soup kitchen,and not having an adventure. And finally, before you bring that criticism, what ARE you doing to make the world a better place or ease the suffering of the worlds forgotten people? Anything?

AmericanPesh30 karma

Also, I went and joined a formal army. I wasnt a roving marauder. I hardly think that qualifies as interfering

BrutallyHonestDude95 karma

Did you even have to use your AK?

AmericanPesh285 karma

Not on a good day

DevOpsEqualsStupid61 karma

What do you think about the current testing going on that will determine whether Women are allowed positions in Infantry and other traditionally male-only roles?

AmericanPesh152 karma

My personal opinion is that it is asinine. Did we not learn anything through the last 12 years at war? Yes there are some weak infantrymen, and yes there are some awesome jacked females who could drag me out of the kill zone with gear on.

Let's look at it a different way: it won't make us better at fighting wars, it will only detract from the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad to locate close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and repel the enemy's assault with fire and close combat. this is about political correctness, not about helping the mission of KILLING bad guys. I like this article, as it is well written and sums it up.

Braden073223 karma

Interesting article and its nice to hear the opinion from a female officers perspective for once. I can't say that I agree completely with some of her arguments, but she is correct in that the current (and historic) environment of the infantry roll is not a position where increasing female numbers would somehow make killing bad guys easier. The battlefield is not a place for political correctness and by simply adding women into the equation to placate those screaming for equality jeopardizes more lives than it will save.

That being said, I think more needs to be done to integrate women into the armed forces and expand heir rolls throughout all branches of the military. Like the author pointed out, there are some serious advantages in having women in certain rolls to gain access and intel that would otherwise be unobtainable by their male counterparts. How those rolls are increased is a challenge, but I think it is possible.

possiblywithdynamite57 karma

I read this article because I enjoy challenging my views. And this is a topic that I was definitely opposed to initially. But I cannot disagree with the logic behind this particular paragraph:

"In addition to theoretical opposition to having women in the infantry, there are also very practical reasons why women do not belong amongst infantrymen. Having women in an infantry unit will disrupt the infantry’s identity, motivational tactics, and camaraderie. The average infantryman is in his late teens or early twenties. At that age, men are raging with hormones and are easily distracted by women and sex. Infantry leaders feed on the testosterone and masculinity of young men to increase morale and motivation and encourage the warrior ethos. Few jobs are as physically and emotionally demanding as the infantry, so to keep Marines focused, the infantry operates in a cult-like brotherhood. The infantry is the one place where young men are able to focus solely on being a warrior without the distraction of women or political correctness. They can fart, burp, tell raunchy jokes, walk around naked, swap sex stories, wrestle, and simply be young men together. Although perhaps not the most polite environment, this is the exact kind of atmosphere that promotes unit cohesion and the brotherly bond that is invaluable. This bond is an essential element in both garrison and combat environments. Ask any 0311 what encourages him to keep training or fighting in combat when he thinks he can go no further, and he will respond, “My brothers to my right and left.” No matter how masculine a woman is, she is still female and simply does not mesh with the infantry brotherhood."

goosegoosegoosegoose81 karma

Female Marine Officer here.

In addition to this point, men become outrageously aggressive and competitive for female attention in an already testosterone laden situation. It further degrades morale and brotherly unit cohesion.

Men are also MUCH more likely to make poor decisions in favor of "protecting" females in hostile situations. In some of the few experiments, war atrocities skyrocket when women are integrated.

Even in TBS, a field training school that all Marine Officers have to complete, females are a distraction and hindrance.

AmericanPesh46 karma

Seen this at the barracks a million times.

_josepi_43 karma

I see volunteer, but, was there pay?

edit: "I did what I could, didn't receive a penny for it and actually spent several thousand dollars to make it happen."


AmericanPesh63 karma

There was not a penny of compensation. I spent all my own money to do this. They gave me shelter, food, and a weapon.

_josepi_27 karma

What rifle (presuming)?

AmericanPesh48 karma

PKC (PKM) belt fad 7.62x54R soviet machine gun, or AK47

Ghost_of_war18 karma

In my head I hear "mista, mista pee KAY See. Veddy good." They didn't offer up an American rifle? Also, thank you for going back. I would if my back wasn't destroyed.

AmericanPesh21 karma

peeKAYcee. Yep, that's about it

goosegoosegoosegoose38 karma

Marine here.

I guess I'm confused..

The article says you retired, but it seems to me that you were honorably discharged.

How long were you active duty and why did you separate?

As a civilian, you're not bound by military obligations to conventions of war. How do you conduct yourself?

In the article, you said, "if I want to go take a vacation and shoot some terrorists in the process, that should be my own business.” then went on to say that you are having a Roosevelt-esque adventure, implying that you see terrorists (humans) as big game.

The whole situation is unsettling.

AmericanPesh27 karma

Honorably discharged, naturally they worded it wrong. Did 8 years active. I conducted myself in the manner of those around me, which was honorable, for lack of a better term.

Well shooting them is a rush, but the whole thing was an adventure. I got on a plane, thinking I might be dead by now. I rode in the back of pickups at 80 mph down the highway with a belted weapon. I spoke no kurdish, slept on the floor of an old shipping container, ate their food and shared their hookah. The entire thing was an adventure.

so_it_went37 karma

Did any Kurds refer to their plans post-ISIL? Seeing as they get almost no support from the central Iraqi government and have such a long history of trying to build their own state, do they intend to simply seek more autonomy or create a sovereign Kurdistan?

Also, I have the up most respect for what you and others like you have done.

AmericanPesh64 karma

I appreciate it.

I hope they become their own sovereign nation. They deserve it. They've shouldered the brunt of the fighting so far.

nowyourdoingit26 karma

Any flak from US State Dept?

AmericanPesh40 karma

not yet, fingers crossed! Pretty sure I lost my DoS clearance and am ineligible for DoS contracts again.

BrutallyHonestDude25 karma

How's your hearing? Any vertigo or tinnitus?

AmericanPesh33 karma

Pretty bad tinnitus for the past 8 years.

BrutallyHonestDude17 karma

Loud guns will do that. Don't you have any hearing protection in the field?

AmericanPesh41 karma

In a perfect world yes. sometimes you lose them, sometimes you forget to bring them, can't put them on. Sometimes shit happens.

Whathehellmithinkin20 karma

I have a simple question, why?

AmericanPesh102 karma

I have a simple answer, why not? I had a chance to get away, to do some good, to have a full-on Teddy Roosevelt style adventure, and have a badass story at the end. Why not?

05banks25 karma

I can think of a few obvious why nots. Respect though dude.

AmericanPesh33 karma


I mean, of course! There will always be many of those. I felt it was something I had to do.

goosegoosegoosegoose24 karma

I posted some other questions below...

But this Teddy Roosevelt thing really implies that you consider this some kind of big game hunting trip for humans, especially when you add in your quote from the article:

"if I want to go take a vacation and shoot some terrorists in the process, that should be my own business.”

That's pretty sick, man.

EDIT: Yes, I'm an active duty career Marine officer. Getting a "rush" and looking at a deployment as a big game camping adventure is sociopathic and against everything we stand for.

ETA: anyone who thinks that all military members default to "kill kill kill", rather than just spouting anecdotal evidence, try reading On Killing, On War, and Art of War. They're definitely eye-opening.

AmericanPesh-2 karma

Are you doing anything to help the orphans and widows and those in shitty situations? If not, I simply don't care for your opinion. No common ground

defend43520 karma

Do you plan to go back to Syria or Iraq?

How did your family feel about your first decision to return to a war zone?

How were the reaction of the local people? Are the Kurds really Pro-American?

Did you capture any ISIS members?

AmericanPesh55 karma

I have no plans to return. I did what I could, didn't receive a penny for it and actually spent several thousand dollars to make it happen. Now I have bills to pay so I need to work.

My family understood that I was at a point in my life where I needed to get away and this was simply something I needed to do.

The Kurds are extremely pro American, and love us. More than the Iraqis, for sure. We did not capture any IS while I was there.

KillThemInJarsYo19 karma

Do you think ISIS poses any potential threat to the European Mediterranean?

AmericanPesh43 karma

I don't claim to be an expert in this field. So to deflect that question I'd say not as long as we keep arming the Kurds and they keep destroying the rats.

nstangz2716 karma

What was the worst thing you saw over there?

AmericanPesh40 karma

Ehh honestly it wasn't so bad. All the fighting was across no mans land between trench lines. no "over the top" charges or anything crazy. I think I saw worse in Iraq in 06.

SCM19927 karma

Trenches? That's fucking crazy.

AmericanPesh24 karma

Not trenches per se. Berms of dirt mostly

BrutallyHonestDude16 karma

How are you any different to the other mercenaries that fight, including for the other side?

AmericanPesh52 karma

A mercenary isn't a bad thing in and of itself, it's a guy who fights for another army, for pay. Not under his own flag.

I was an unpaid volunteer. That's entirely different.

AlecRobertson16 karma

Do you think the USA (and UK perhaps) should properly invade the areas that are currently held by ISIS?

AmericanPesh39 karma

I personally don't think so.

But I can tell you, ISIS wouldn't stand a chance against either.

defend43515 karma

Do the Peshmerga really lack military supplies/equipment compare to Isis?

Did you see any other western from different country joining the Peshmerga?

AmericanPesh30 karma

I think they're fairly evenly matched. But to go on the offensive, alot more heavy weapons, training, airstrikes, etc would be helpful.

AmericanPesh20 karma

Sorry, missed the second part. I have a former French Foreign Legionnaire friend there now, from Spain/Argentina. I saw a smattering, but not really. There's not any concerted western unit like you'd see in the YPG in Syria.

thetragicallyhip14 karma

What are your plans now?

As a former Marine myself (2nd FAST & 1/2 Marines) I just want to give you a quick round of applause. Semper Fidelis.

AmericanPesh14 karma

errah. I wanted to get away but now I'm back. Put my head down and assault through? go back to work and deal with life.

s-Ranks14 karma

Huh, war! what is it good for?

AmericanPesh49 karma

Absolutely nothing?... Except defeating communism, slavery, fascism, and a myriad of other threats :)

adullploy25 karma

All those things still exist.

AmericanPesh45 karma

Fascism as seen in Japan Italy and most importantly Nazi Germany, is gone. Communism as a whole, is past it's heyday. Yes, I know there is Cuba and a few stragglers out there. We could split hairs all day long but frankly I'm busy enough, that when I get a chance to check back in to this, I'll be answering the questions/comments that aren't time wasters.

(edited) This is my first time on Reddit, and yes in the headlines it says "ask me anything", so I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm somewhat limited on time and have to be a tad selective to who I can answer. I don't care to be roped into a pointless argument about why Communism is bad, etc. I'm not going to convince you of anything over the web.

elzombino-3 karma

What's so bad about communism?

AmericanPesh16 karma

Is that a serious question? Next

LatinArma-7 karma

Jesus christ what are you the most unflinching "everything about my country is good and none of it bad" types?.

Your answers in this AMA are terrible jingoistic dribble. No wonder the only thing you can do in life is shoot a gun.

AmericanPesh1 karma

I don't use any idea what you're talking about, and honestly don't care. You sound like a huge wuss. I have a very successful civilian career that doesn't involve guns. I put it on hold to go over. Thanks for your opinion

koko969ww-27 karma

This is the kind of response I expected from a brainwashed, warloving robot. The United States created ISIS, it wasn't a byproduct of the war. We built them from the ground up. 98% of the casualties from the 13 years of war were innocent, Iraqi citizens. People like you make me disgusted to be associated with the United States of Tyranny.

AmericanPesh15 karma

As stated in my NPR interview, we can argue the how and why, and I'd probably agree with you on most points. I went to confront a band of raping and pillaging marauders. I didn't do it thinking that I was some Captain America. you and I may have more in common politically than you realize.

AmericanPesh11 karma

you can leave?

defend43513 karma

What your view on the Syria situation? Should the US stop with defeating ISIS in Iraq?

How is Kurdish culture? Food? Ideals? Are the Kurd extremely different from the Iraq Arabs?

Did you make any friend/allies/associate in your time there?

Describing your feeling on ISIS expanding into Libya?

Thoughts on Iran and Saudi proxy war in the middle east?

Why should the American people be concern about ISIS?

AmericanPesh41 karma

Honestly I think Syria is a whole can of worms I don't want to be involved in, which is why I stayed out of the YPG.

I can say Kurdish food and culture is similar to Iraqi, but that would piss them off. As a westerner, I see similiarities, but I'm hardly an expert. I know the Kurds are fairly secular compared to the rest of the ME. They didn't care about my beliefs, if I was a Muslim, etc, as long as we had a common enemy. I was their brother. I made several friends there. I know they say "you are a Kurd first, and a Muslim second".
I'm not a political expert, I'm a pretty simple guy. If Iran wants to defeat these shitbirds, cool. Someone has to. But as far as ramifications of a proxy war I'm not sure I am qualified to speak on that.
I honestly think the American people should be more concerned with their government here at home(in general) than IS.

whysourworldlikethis11 karma

There have been pictures of terrorist with weapons from the United States and ISIS certainly looks like they have modern technology. Is this just paranoia or a serious problem?

AmericanPesh56 karma

Well when the Iraqi army drops their US weapons and runs, someone's going to pick them up.

NavalMilk6 karma

Do you think they kept you away from some of the more "hot zones" to avoid bad publicity if you were killed? If not, it sounds like kind of a standoff until one side decides to go all in.

If things take a turn for the worse, would you head back out right away or wait a bit?

AmericanPesh8 karma

I would have thought that was the case, but I did spend a significant amount of time at the front lines. I think it is just a matter of where they decided to strike and when. But yes they had the fear of bad publicity, for sure. I don't see myself heading over again. As I stated earlier, I spent a significant amount of time and money doing this before, and I don't see that the local politics would change that much

defend4353 karma

Are the Peshmerga still divide between the two political parties or have the recent fighting unify the two side?

AmericanPesh4 karma

There's still the KDP and PUK but yes they're on the same side of the fight.

BrutallyHonestDude3 karma

So which one are you? Gary Cooper, John Wayne or John McClane?

AmericanPesh6 karma

that's a hard one! John...McClane?

nibler92 karma

Are you glad you went? In the article you mentioned you wanted to kill some bad guys, but it sounds like you didn't have much of a chance for that. Do you feel like you accomplished anything worthwhile?

AmericanPesh3 karma

Glad in that I still had a badass adventure, but it could've been better. Still a cool story but it wasn't as much action as I'd anticipated.

callmebrick2 karma

Parris Island or San Diego?

AmericanPesh6 karma

Hollywood Marine

Glad_Hander0 karma

First off, major props to you, sir! I myself spent 1.5 years in Iraq (2007-2009) as a DoD contractor, based out of BIAP but flew all over that country to do biometrics at various bases. Very envious of your awesome decision.

What were the logistics of getting into the country and then meeting up with the Kurdish forces?

What bases did you visit?

Were there any Green Beans open? :P

AmericanPesh5 karma

No Green Beans lmao. No bases. I bought a ticket and flew in. Made my own contacts on facebook and they cleared me for customs(I was bringing in armor)

Citisol4 karma

Did you receive training from the Pesh? Like some abbreviated "this is the Peshmerga. Here's how we do business."

AmericanPesh6 karma

Not even a little

HeyYouDikachu-1 karma

"Why is your title in quotes?"

AmericanPesh0 karma

I'm new to reddit and still figuring it out...

DudeInDistress-5 karma

I'm an Arab ex-Muslim-turned-atheist and currently in the US. Thank you for your services, sir!

Two questions:

In your opinion, and I hope not to offend, would it be more efficient to just airdrop leaflets all over ISIS territory explaining that religion = BS?

Second question: are you on twitter?

Have a good one, sir! And thanks for your service (again!)

AmericanPesh14 karma

Honestly I'd be surprised if the leaflets produced any result.

Not on Twitter.