Chuck Shute Podcast

Matt Gallagher (author, journalist, Army veteran)

January 12, 2024 Matt Gallagher Season 5 Episode 405
Chuck Shute Podcast
Matt Gallagher (author, journalist, Army veteran)
Show Notes Transcript

Matt Gallagher is an American author, veteran of the Iraq War and war correspondent. He has written on a variety of subjects, mainly contemporary war fiction and non-fiction. His latest book “Daybreak” is about a disillusioned American veteran who volunteers for the war in Ukraine to reconnect with a woman from his past. We discuss the new book as well as other related issues including current wars, PTSD & mental health of veterans, defense contracts and more!
0:00:00 - Intro
0:00:12 - Dumb Wars Get Dumb Endings
0:01:35 - Patriotism & Criticizing America
0:05:45 - Younger Generation, Socialism & Bin Laden
0:11:05 - Middle East & U.S. Soldiers 
0:19:01 - Survivor Guilt, PTSD & V.A. Benefits
0:23:40 - Potential of War in America or EMP Attack
0:31:30 - Defense Contracts
0:35:40 - Leaving Weapons
0:40:15 - Israel Palestine War
0:50:55 - Unflattering Putin Artwork & Graphic Talk
0:54:00 - American Military Being PC & Recruiting
0:56:40 - Reasons for Ukraine War
1:01:03 - Tragedy, Daybreak, Fiction & Reality
1:04:38 - Outro

Matt Gallagher website:
http://mattgallagherwriter.com/

Chuck Shute link tree:
https://linktr.ee/chuck_shute

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Thanks for Listening & Shute for the Moon!

Chuck Shute:

Thanks for having me. Yeah. Thanks for coming out. I just finished the book yesterday. It's great. It's very colorful, descriptive things in there that we're hopefully we can talk a little bit about it without if I don't spoil it. Sure.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah, I think there's there's a way to navigate that. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

like one of the lines. I think you actually say this line in the book multiple times.

Matt Gallagher:

Dumb wars get

Chuck Shute:

dumb endings. Yeah. How did you come up with that? That was great.

Matt Gallagher:

I did though. You know, it's, it's something that I've talked about with different vets from different wars, actually. So I, you know, I cribbed it from real life. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

I was gonna say because, I mean, I just think especially in my lifetime, I feel like I look back at the wars that we've been in. I'm like, do we really need to do any of these wars? Like, I mean, I guess I'm becoming more of a pacifist in my older age. Like I just thought like, you know, when you're a kid, you know, you grow I grew up on like GI Joe and stuff, and you just think good guys and bad guys. And now, I just think like, I think most people are pretty good. It's there's definitely some evil people pulling the strings and some of the stuff but I think most civilians are probably pretty good people. We shouldn't hate each other. I think that's absolutely right. Yeah, but that was that was a good line. And just this whole thing, this another one, hopefully, I'm not spoiling this only chapter one. So still a great book, but this line about he had been a bit of a patriot, but he learned a long, long ago never to say it out loud. Flag humping conservatives, clever mouth, liberals spoiled as civilians. Even foreigners like this lady officer, they all bloomed onto that word for their own reasons, their own set notions. Like, wow, that's, that's pretty deep right there, too.

Matt Gallagher:

Well, yeah, no, I appreciate that. Yeah, you know, again, I think it's something that a lot of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have gone through, and not just veterans, right? Civilian engaged Americans care about the country, but don't always agree with what it does. You know, trying to reconcile both those things, I think, is what thinking people try to do.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, cuz it almost seems like Patriot is like a bad word in it, like people are, like, offended by American flags. And like, it's like, bad to be proud of America. In some ways, it seems like which is really weird to me.

Matt Gallagher:

Ya know, it's frustrating. There's nothing more American than having the right to be angry at your country to be frustrated at some of the decisions our government makes. But, you know, sometimes I do kind of want to shake people who are, you know, protesting this or that be like, Do you realize that in a lot of parts of the world, you'd be disappearing into a van right now, by mysterious men and black suits, like, give, give some space for this place, and at least have some appreciation that you're able to show up in and do this and, you know, it, it's hard, a lot of people don't, don't like dealing with that kind of complexity and nuance. But, you know, Holding, holding to belief said at once is is is a sign of intelligence is kind of an old F Scott Fitzgerald quote. And it's something I tried to keep in mind. For myself, when I kind of feel myself being pulled into singular, singular thinking on an ideological or political topic. What do

Chuck Shute:

you mean by that, like holding two beliefs at once.

Matt Gallagher:

For example, being being a patriot, and you know, caring for American wanting, wanting America to be its best self while also being disgusted at and its role in the world, you know, like, personally speaking, nothing tested my own patriotism more than the the Maga years. But it's my country to write and reaching out to people, many of whom I served with in the army who have different political beliefs with me. You know, we had some hard conversations and I won't pretend we didn't hurt feelings weren't hurt, or we didn't shout at each other at times. But it's it belongs to all of us and kind of vacating ownership or or belief in, in kind of the national project that we're all all a part of whether whether we want to be or not. We are and that's what makes the whole thing go is disagreement is dispute is hurt feelings and Shouting, shouting at each other. And then every couple of years, we show up at the ballot box and make a choice and you know, the people that I vote for, aren't always going to make choices that I agree with. That's the whole system, right? That's what makes it go and holding all that together at once. It's hard, especially especially in times of social media and the tribalism that's kind of taking hold everywhere. It's hard, but like, having a little, I don't know, like go into Ukraine as a journalist and as a volunteer. It's eye opening, because everyday Ukrainians want what we have what we take for granted. And are, you know, in many cases, fighting and dying to protect, to protect it. It was a good reminder that we're really in the grand scheme of things, a very spoiled people and wasting our time on kind of domestic culture war nonsense is maybe not the best use of our of our energy.

Chuck Shute:

Right? Yeah, I agree. I think that that's something that's why I like to do these kinds of podcasts and have these kinds of conversations. And I try to talk to people from as many different kinds of backgrounds as I can find. Sometimes I have conversations with people not on a podcast, like, you know, I remember one time I had this guy that was from Cuba, and he was my Uber driver. And I was like, Oh, I got to pick his brain, about Cuba, you know, because you hear a lot of this. Youth is like, you know, they want socialism and communism. And I'm like, you know, you lived in that regime, what is it like? And he's like, Oh, it's terrible. He said, like, there's so many things that are broken, and you can't just like go to the hardware store to like, get things to fix. There are no hardware stores. I was like, wow. So people have to kind of finagle things from Junkin, you know, broken pieces of things and kind of make things work. And I'm just like, we take that for granted, just like you said, like, even having a hardware store, like being able to go down to Walmart and get anything I need to fix anything in my house, basically.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah, no, totally. Here, I'm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a number of our Uber drivers are our Afghan refugees. And, understandably, so some of them have very mixed feelings for how and why they're here, right? Being a refugee is a very different thing than an immigrant. And, you know, having having those kinds of conversations with them. And then, you know, I'm on the flip side of it started with my dog in the background, if you can hear even hear it, yeah, okay, good, good. You know, something I because I'm 40. And I'll admit that sometimes I kind of get frustrated when I see the Gen Generation Z. A pin, you know, that their politics are forming and everything and their voters now, and when I tried to keep in mind is, you know, for every era of American politics, you know, part of what makes this go is, is the youth vote pushing, pushing the envelope, right, like they're forming a political memories aren't 911, like mine was. There's our there's our, you know, shaped by different things, different forces. And it's good, and it's okay, that they're pushing the envelope. Doesn't mean I have to agree with it, it doesn't mean the voting bloc has to agree with it, but like, that's, that's part of part of this. That youthful youth voters, you know, maybe words cutting, in other words, communism, and socialism means different things to them. That's okay. You know, because I believe in, you know, I believe in social programs, is that socialism, maybe, you know, some of the things that we take for granted now, welfare, social security, that were established by FDR way back when, you know, those were those were revolutionary socialist programs. Back in the late 30s. So it's, it's this kind of ongoing dialogue, I tried to keep with myself and my my friends of like, just not getting sucked into kind of like, ideological screaming. But of course, that's, that's easier said than done. I've done my fair share that,

Chuck Shute:

yeah, it's interesting with the extremes, like I remember you mentioned 911. I just remember when they got Bin Laden, and I was at a target and I was getting rung up and I'm looking at my phone, I go, Holy shit, they got bin Laden. The guy ringing me up as a cashier must have been like, 17. He had no idea who Ben lawn was. I was like, wow, how old? I was like, that's crazy. This kid clearly how he's like, Oh, okay. Like he had no idea who that was. And then did you see that thing recently, where there was some like letter from Bin Laden? That's like going viral, and it's like, praising bin Laden? That makes me very suspicious. I'm not a conspiracy theorists, but that makes me very suspicious. How did that get out there? Who's promoting that? It's very suspicious? Yeah.

Matt Gallagher:

It was originally published The Guardian, I think to like, kind of give, so like, way back. They published it, I think in 2001, because the whole thing that set him off against America was a staying in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War back in like 1991. Cuz he's, he's originally from Saudi Arabia, even though he's kind of teeth as jihadist in Afghanistan. And, you know, it's, it's a letter from him. So of course, it's essentially propaganda. outlining why he believes these things and completely living at leaving out all the terrible things he's done to, to attain power to know Not just you know, not not just attacking America on 911, but like building a global terrorist network. So it's completely stripped of any kind of context that, that people unfamiliar with him could could could even get just from reading reading his Wikipedia page. So it was it was bizarre watching that, as somebody, you know, his formative years. Were during that time and you know, served in the army. In the immediate aftermath,

Chuck Shute:

you'll join the army because of 911. Right? Cut. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I

Matt Gallagher:

was on an ROTC scholarship, I ended up kind of joining like the Armored Cavalry because of 911. Cuz I wanted to do my part. And, you know, we're going to war. So I had mixed feelings about it, even even mixed feelings about the Iraq invasion when it happened. But I was already there. I wanted to, if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it for real. So you know, it, it seemed I don't know, it doesn't seem like that long ago to me, but it's a whole generation for younger people. And I try to keep that in mind. And try not to be the Crabby old man. Yeah, yeah.

Chuck Shute:

It's so interesting. I remember. I mean, this is like, kind of before the internet really blew up. But like when that whole thing was going down, like my brother was over he, I think it was in Afghanistan first and then Iraq. But he there's this picture of him in Afghanistan. And there's all these little kids chasing him. And I was like, what, what's going on here? So what they I guess what they wanted was a ballpoint pen. They're so poor that, like a ballpoint pen is like a really amazing thing for them, which just like, and it shows you like how much they loved soldiers, most of the citizens, like, maybe your experience was the same, I don't know, tell me if it was different. But it seemed like, you know, a lot of the soldiers, US soldiers, were helping these people that were, you know, in poverty and all this stuff. I mean, there's other sides of the war that, you know, we did a lot of bad things as well. But a lot of the, you know, the interaction between soldiers and regular citizens, was mostly positive. From what I

Matt Gallagher:

could see. That was my experience, I'd be accused of, I don't know, being a propagandist by relaying my own experiences. But

Chuck Shute:

Oh, see, this is exactly why we have these conversations. I want to know the real story. Your you don't represent every soldier ever, but you're

Matt Gallagher:

certainly hope not. No, certainly not. Yeah, you know, for 15 months, we were stationed in a real rural part of Iraq real, I'd never been exposed to that kind of poverty before. Like, I don't know if that kind of poverty even exists in in the Western world. And yeah, you know, 98% of Iraqis we encountered, you know, they want the same things we want peace, calm, maybe a little bit better life for their kids, you know, but like handing out Beanie Babies, that, you know, that my mom would send in the mail was like, earth shattering for these kids.

Chuck Shute:

Attire on some of those Beanie Babies isn't worth a lot of money now.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah. But you know, it's there. There was no middle class. They were being exploited by the tribal sheikhs who are in power, many of whom had and, you know, by the time I got there, and lado seven, you know, these are the same folks who, you know, had they had contracts with American businesses, right? Because we were, we're trying to build things up. And sometimes these contracts and road pavement water treatment, you know, a stable electricity, all these all these wonderful things that make it make a civilization go, sometimes these things are reaching the everyday people. But, you know, there's a lot of a lot of rifts between here and there. And we, I think, the limits of even a well intentioned American military, in my opinion, the you know, the invasion was a disaster. And then we tried to untangle it as best we could and did some decent things tactically and operationally, but you know, there's only so much even, even the American military can do, especially in a finite amount of time, and like, trying to build up a society that we kind of helped wreck a few years before and stabilize it. It was just, it was just beyond us. And there was there was just limits to what can be accomplished. Things were a little bit better. In our little corner when we left 15 months later, was it worth all the blood and American and Iraqi blood spilled? And the actual billions of dollars spent? I don't know. I didn't think so. But, you know, it's just my opinion. reasonable minds can disagree on that. But yeah, I mean, to your point, like the everyday experiences, I mean, it was just they were just everyday people trying to get by trying to survive this thing. And, and, you know, 15 months was a long time. Don't get me wrong, but like, we left we were leaving, we always knew that that affected everything. This was their lives. This was there every day. And you know, still it's yeah,

Chuck Shute:

it's crazy, like the level of poverty like you said, I remember my brother told me the story like one day that they like he was usually like the gunner on top of the tanks, which is like I think is not the best position to be in but one time I think they let them drive the tank and He said he ran over this, like mud hut or something. It was like this guy's house. And they gave the guy like 50 bucks or something like, that's how much these houses are worth, or whatever it's like, it was just like nothing for the American soldiers. And but for them, it's like, this is their whole home and everything. It's crazy, that we like you said, we don't realize we take it for granted, like how spoiled we are. Even if you're struggling in America and you're poor, like you're doing way better off than a lot of the world. Yeah,

Matt Gallagher:

no 100%. And like, you know, the American, most people in the American military, I mean, you joined to your job is to, like, close with and destroy the enemy. That's a different job than nation building, and credit to so many soldiers and Marines. Certainly, my scout platoon did the best to kind of change the mission and adapt, but like, that's not what that's that's not why they joined, you know, they they joined kind of with more something like Ukraine in mind, you know, a clear enemy, wearing a uniform, also holding weapons, that, you know, that's that's something that young soldiers and Marines can wrap their heads around, for good reason. By and large, the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan over many years. It just wasn't, wasn't that and most some people are really good at that. It kind of takes a unique mind and a unique personality to be really, really good at that kind of thing. And that's it that's hard to replicate across an entire entire military. Yeah, I

Chuck Shute:

don't know what's worse is like, you know, like, you look at, like, I mean, all I know of war and service, things I've heard and read and movies and things like that. But I mean, I watch Saving Private Ryan, I'm just going, Oh, my God, I cannot imagine, you know, knowing that you're going in and yeah, you have a clear idea who the enemy is. But it's like, I mean, it's a firefight and there's a very good chance you're not going to make it through versus going to Afghanistan and Iraq, where you don't know where the enemy is. So then, aren't you like always, like paranoid and worried, like, if you step in the wrong place? Or, like, I mean, my, they see this picture with my brother. Like I said, all these kids, I'm like, How do you know if one of those kids doesn't have like a bomb strapped to them or whatever? Isn't that something they would do? They do, like, really mean crazy stuff like that. The suicide bomb things? Yeah, the hyper

Matt Gallagher:

awareness is something that you hear a lot from a lot of veterans who served when I served. Folks, you know, if they're suffering from post traumatic stress or something, a lot of them are gunners or drivers. Because you know, every piece of trash on a roadside bomb, they, you know, for 15 months, they're trained, trained to think that that is a lethal thing and medicate. You know, one of my best friends got hit by a, an IED on Route Tampa, and it cut right through their vehicle, right between where he was sitting in the driver, like, you know, a millisecond would have cut either one of them in half, right? Lots another friend up in Missoula to they drove over a 500 pound bomb, everyone in their vehicle killed killed instantly. And so the effects of that are severe or serious. And then it but some things we didn't have to worry about, you know, I, some of the American Veterans I've interviewed, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are now fighting in Ukraine. For the international Legion, they're, you know, they talk a lot about the artillery that the Russians hit them with, because, you know, compared to maybe something they read in a world war one book or something, because if that's something that we never had to deal with, in Iraq or Afghanistan, we control the sky. Whereas over there now, Russian artillery, you know, the drone technology on both sides is way, way different than anything we we had to deal with when we were fighting, you know, so like, the particulars maybe are different, but like the, the horrors, and the psychological effects are very real and meaningful and just kind of adapt to the time and place of the battles being fought.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, like you mentioned the book and chapter three, they're talking about VA disability and compensation and the character didn't file for any because he didn't feel right he thought those funds for more for amputees and that's what melted faces so is that kind of more like a survival guilt? survivor guilt because there's a lot of people like if you see something like somebody else getting hurt and then you have that guilt of like, Why didn't why wasn't in me why am I alive and now those kinds of feelings Yes,

Matt Gallagher:

you know that conversation I is another one I kind of lifted from different different parts of reality that I've seen play out and just kind of put them in these two characters one on Lee is upfront Hey, we earn this these are these are our benefits that's why it's there like our cut our cut of the pie. Whereas the the other loop Paxton, I can't tell you how many how many young vets I've heard say that's not for me. That's for somebody who's actually messed up. You know, I'm I got some issues, but but I'm handling it is fine. And by handling it, it's It's usually mean means boos, but I've heard versions of that same conversation play out multiple times. And then you know, there's some real honor, I think in what Luke Paxman is trying to say is, you know, that's that, that's, that's, that's for the folks who are really messed up. But there's what you know, the pragmatic truth is, I think, is what Han Li said. And years ago, I worked for veterans nonprofit, and I saw this, like that money is is genuinely carved out ahead of time. And put off to the side, it's maybe the only thing Republicans or Democrats can agree with, about in Congress anymore, is to do that. So it's a matter of whether it's going to be utilized or not by by, you know, veterans who qualify for it. So, you know, both of my fiction and in reality, you know, I want to I want there to be good arguments on both sides. I don't want readers to come away from that. Thinking that I'm making a strong, like making clear that one is right, and one is wrong, because I I don't feel that way. I think they both have, have interesting compelling cases to make.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, cuz I think that's a huge issue is mental health and PTSD with veterans. And so I think that's something that I think it is getting shined a light on more now than it was, say, 10 or 20 years ago. But I still think it's a big issue that, like you said, the funds are there, I feel like it's learning how to use them and using them in the right ways to get people back on their feet. And so because I don't, I don't like the thing where it's like, oh, like, he's got PTSD. So he's on disability, it's like, and he just doesn't do anything. I'm like, No, I don't think that should be the goal, maybe temporarily. But it's like, I think the goal should be to get people back on their feet. So they're doing something, some sort of purpose, whatever that may be, I'm assuming it's probably not military for their whole lives. For most people, it's going to be something else. But that's kind of how you get out of that funk to, right, isn't it like by, by by looking towards the people who are helping and joining that kind of cause?

Matt Gallagher:

Yes, and, you know, the idea of all the awareness and advocacy work 1015 years ago, was to like, kind of maybe, as a whole, like nip nip these issues in the bud early. Because what they'd seen from previous generations, particularly Vietnam, is these issues get compounded. And so by the time somebody's 40 5060 years old, it's a lot harder, you know, and more expensive, from the government's perspective, to treat these issues. Whereas, you know, if you get these things early, if you get people going in and seeking mental health treatment, that then they can go back out into the workforce, be a productive citizen, you know, tell some more stories at the bar every Friday night or something. But, you know, it's better for both the individual and society as a whole, because they've been streamlined back in, and those issues were, were figured out early, you know, we're, we're gonna see how that plays out. I think in the decades to come, I'm cautiously hopeful, but, you know, veterans issues is, it's, it's a big dark labyrinth, frankly, and you know, things are never gonna be never gonna be great. Because a you send a generation of young people off to war, a lot of them are going to come back with, with issues, and only some of them can be treated and remedied, frankly,

Chuck Shute:

yeah, I mean, it's, I can't imagine, like I said, I just, from what I've seen, I can't imagine myself in those situations. That's why I have such respect for veterans, such as yourself, because I've just like, I could never do that. So thank you for protecting our country, because I would just be cowering in a closet, I think somewhere. Yeah.

Matt Gallagher:

Well, I appreciate that. But but, you know, I think it's just me, it's interesting, you know, again, it's just kind of different, because, you know, in America war is some plate something that we go to, right, not since the Civil War has been fought on our, our soil. So, you know, we just have a different relationship to it. Whereas, you know, in Ukraine, I, you know, I saw everyday people just like yourself, who never thought they they pick up a gun, you know, having having to make that choice to protect their neighborhood and their family. Because it's, it's, it's not, you know, it's not really a choice it's survive or die. So don't sell yourself short. You know, if, when if you needed to I, I think most people are are willing and able to do it. It's just in America, we just, you know, we again, we've been we've been blessed that we don't really have to make these choices or decisions, or at least having since since the mid mid 1900s, mid 1800s.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. Do you worry. Is that a fear that you have that it may be coming now? Because, I mean, I feel like it used to be a political issue with the border. And now it's like, I feel like both parties are going oh, we got a problem here. And there's all these people coming In military aged men without their wives without their children, I don't know if that's conspiracy or what but it seems like there's, there could be some concerns there that there's all these people that came in from the war on the what they call, like the terror watch list that have slipped through the cracks. So, but I mean, so far, nothing's happened. So you're like, Oh, well, maybe we're okay. But I don't know, if it's just like a ticking time bomb.

Matt Gallagher:

Ah, I am, of two minds of this. You know, on one hand, you know, there is, you see all this talk, you've seen, you know, militias from the left or right organizing, you do hear those kinds of horror stories. You know, I, frankly, it's just kind of a part of modern life, right? For us to ever be into this balance of being a free and open society, versus being a safe society. And I don't think you can ever be all of those things at once. Right? So part of what makes America go is is, is balancing these things, right. Like, I don't want to live in a society where, you know, the NSA can listen to every conversation I have, or track track my every movement or anything. At the same time, I want to be safe, right? Like, I wanna be able to go to your grocery store and not worry about being machine gun down, just because being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like I want my kids to go to school, and feel relatively confident that they're not a soft target. So maintaining this balance between security and liberty is kind of at the heart of the American experiment, and always has been as for like, the Civil War concerns? I think it kind of gets overblown. That's just my opinion by kind of imaginative minds. You know, because it's interesting to think about, it certainly can't, you know, in our history, so it's not impossible. Things, almost every civil war, though. It also like emerges from really terrible economic conditions. Think we're too comfortable. Like, we're just, yeah, you have some crazy people on the hard left and hard, right, willing to go to blows. By and large, most people. Most people are just, you know, we're too we're too happy. We're too fat or too content for that, like, and thank God, right. That's a good thing. I don't I don't I personally want to raise my children in a society where we're fighting over resources. That all that said, like, don't take for granted. Be cautious about this stuff. Keep bear in mind that like, that's always a possibility, especially for a country as sprawling and diverse as ours. But I don't know, sometimes I hear I see. See these things. I just sometimes I think people have just watched Red Dawn too many times.

Chuck Shute:

Well, I think the latest one, which is kind of interesting, because I, I had an author on Dr. William forks foreskin. I think his name, I'm probably mispronouncing that, but I had him on about I don't like six or eight months ago. And he's, he writes books similar to yours. But he talks about EMP. He's kind of like an EMP expert. And he writes books about these are fictional books about EMP attacks and stuff and that he's been trying to like, go to Congress and say, Hey, we just need these, like, I think it's called a Faraday cage that they can put over the power generators. Because otherwise, we're, you know, we're liberty for them to attack. If they take out the power, like, we're fucked. I don't know if you saw that movie leave the world behind. Have you seen that one yet? I have. Yes. What are your thoughts on that? Because that's kind of like, what now they're gone. They're taking his idea of the EMP attack. That's basically what that was. And then once they take out the power, like you said, we're very comfortable. But if we aren't comfortable, then we start attacking each other. It's kind of scary. The movie

Matt Gallagher:

was okay. The book is better. So you know, I'd write the book. Yeah. The books good. The books real good. Yeah, you know, that, that that's something that can't be done, has been done other places. I suspect that our government is keenly aware of cyber attacks and things of that nature that that would attempt to do that. It also goes both ways, right? Like, there's not a doubt in my mind. We have we have people in different places, trying to do that very thing to forces are countries that that would do it to us. So I don't know, I don't have a clean answer on that other than kind of the constant cat and mouse aspect of this is, you know, it's not dissimilar to kind of the nuclear bomb. gamesmanship we went through with the Soviet Union, right, which is like, okay, yeah, you could do this, but then we'd also you know, Mutual Assured Destruction kind of thing. You know, could China do that to us? Possibly? Could we also do it to China? I suspect we could. And they have their own internal domestic issues to deal with. So, you know, I don't know. We have a lot of we have a lot of highly trained smart people in key places that know what they're doing both in the private sector and the public sector. All right, and then government rather, so I don't know, to wake up in the morning, maybe we got to have a little trust in the powers that be telling

Chuck Shute:

you this a little bit of money on those Faraday cages. So I mean, because look at how much money we spend. I was looking this up today. It's so fascinating. So Russia spends like 72 billion on their military, China's 298 billion, we asked for 842 billion for 2024. So that's like more than double China with every other NATO country or every other non NATO country with China. Like, that's a lot of money. Sure. And I don't know if it's going to the right places, it seems to me like a lot of this. The money that's going to military is just for these defense contracts and stuff, what they even said, I think, yesterday or today, that a lot of the money going to Ukraine is going to these American defense contractors that are making the weapons and stuff but they're making a lot of money off this money that we're taxpayers are giving to Ukraine. It's not like we're just giving Ukraine a check. It seems like it's like, Right,

Matt Gallagher:

no, and that gets lost. I think that's that gets lost in like the public debate. Right? They just see these numbers and assume it's, we're cutting it directly this Alinsky to, to spend as much as he wants. And that is not the case. It's it's very frustrating, because I am certainly no, I've written some terrible and duly earned things over the years of the defense contracting industry, I believe they deserve it. At this at this, at the same time, you know, watching first and foremost, watching Ukraine stop Russia and its tracks in February, March of 2022. You know, that's due to Ukrainian resolve and bravery. You know that to stand up against a much larger neighbor and more powerful neighbor. They deserve credit for that. But a lot of it was was American made weapons, just completely annihilating. A much larger army that was completely kind of caught off guard. By this kind of technology, I mean, it just see it playing out. See it, you know, you see it with the javelins early on. You saw it with the HIMARS. There over the summer, summer of 20 of 2022, you're seeing with kind of like more of the Long Range stuff as they're attacking the Black Sea Fleet. Now, and, you know, we, frankly, we haven't given them as much as we probably could, or should, if we actually wanted this war to end as quickly as it could, right there. I think there's been some missed opportunities there. And, frankly, that's due to Jake Sullivan, in particular, in the Biden administration, kind of doling these these weapons out piecemeal forcing the Ukrainians into kind of a mother Mae eye position. But yeah, going back to like, defense contractor thing, you're like, Oh, okay. I mean, these, these things are really good. I, you know, it goes back to even Iraq, like, you know, being very frustrated and seeing the heavy contractor presence there, you know, middle aged men making three, four times as much as my everyday soldiers were, you know, from our eyes, at least, maybe not, you know, not, of course, they're not working as hard as we are. And they're certainly not going out of the wire as much as we are. On the other hand, like, you know, we were in strikers made by General Dynamics, those things were awesome. Those things were great. Those things saved saved the life of my friend that I mentioned earlier. Right with the when they were struck by the ad, so Right, yeah. There needs to be there needs to be more oversight. I 100%. agree with that. Yes, that's

Chuck Shute:

what it is. Because I don't blame the people that are making the weapons. I mean, they're just trying to make a really good weapon that that's fine that there's no problem with that. The problem is, the politicians and people are there should not be in bed with those people. It's the same thing with the pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. There should be a direct line between those two things. Those should not be in bed. We should not be promoting any pharmaceuticals like yeah, should drug companies try to make the best drug to cure the diseases. Absolutely. Keep doing that's American, but like, the FDA should be regulating that and they shouldn't be like hanging out together, you know, having drinks and saying, Hey, should we approve this drug? Yeah. Why don't you have another drink and we'll discuss it you know, no, that should not be going on. Defense

Matt Gallagher:

Procurement. It's me it's a mess. Like you'll have the screws being made in a plant in Oklahoma, you'll have the the plate, the screws go into being made in a plant and up in Iowa, right? It's exactly like these things are done specifically, because they're being negotiated between the companies and the congressmen, Congress people for access. So no, it's it's insane. And it's, you know, nobody, nobody was more aware of what this could turn out, turned out to be more than Eisenhower. Right, who gave it you know, his famous farewell address warned about the military industrial complex. Yeah, the military industrial complex. Exactly. So it needs a lot of remedy. Well, and the scary

Chuck Shute:

thing, too, is that we keep leaving these amazing weapons that you're, you know, you're saying to say my life is a great weapon. We just leave tons of them over there. And I'm afraid the wrong people keep getting control of it. By design, no,

Matt Gallagher:

they do. They do. You know, ISIS way back about a decade ago now, you know, had the American Humvees, you know, they made the had the memes making fun of Michelle Obama. When Kabul when Afghanistan fell and 2021, you know, the Taliban? It was shocking, seeing the Taliban walking around like Special Forces Commandos, right with night vision goggles that that had been clearly left left behind by American or British military. I mean, they're, you know, they're driving, driving American vehicles that we kitted out the Afghan military with, but those have since been abandoned. No, there's no, there's no, I mean, if you look at it now use the commando look, the Special Forces look, that was a very distinctly if not American thing, certainly a Western thing. That's everywhere. Now. I mean, like the African militias dress like that now. And it's not just an aesthetic, it comes with real serious technology, black market weapons, are I not a world endo will any much of anything about but like, I know what these weapons are, and what they look like, and how they're showing up in four corners of the world. And, you know, they were originally made in a lucky lucky Martin plant here in the States, maybe, but that's they've ended up in the wrong hands. And you know, I mean, it's, it's, it's wild, it's wild, wild west, in many ways.

Chuck Shute:

You think some of that's by design, that the politicians like, you're kind of if they're embedded with the contractors, the more weapons that are out there, the more chaos, the more when we got to make more weapons to protect people like I don't know, it's a little suspicious.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah. I tend to believe with this kind of stuff that like it's more idiocy and lack of lack of careful planning more than it's true

Chuck Shute:

to ask to work for the government. That goes, right. I

Matt Gallagher:

mean, what's the what's the old saying, like, you know, if you've worked if you worked within government, or any bureaucracy, you know, how many people would have to keep their mouth shut about, like, I'll believe certain conspiracies if I'm like, Okay, three to five people might know about that. Yeah, they could probably execute that. But if you're getting the kind of like big stuff, where it's like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people keeping their mouth shut, that's when I tend not to believe it. So you know, with specifically with this, I think I lean more towards just lack of planning, and idiocy, as opposed to like very deliberate, careful, careful planning of chaos. That said, there's no doubt that chaos creates power vacuums, and people are going to take advantage of those power vacuums. There's no doubt about that. Yeah, it

Chuck Shute:

just seems like we should have learned from our mistakes, like we just keep doing like we just left Afghanistan, and we left all these like, did we not learn from this before? Like,

Matt Gallagher:

I don't know, God, it well. They, they all thought well, they'll at least last a few I was for the withdrawal. I thought it was it was 20 years was enough. Sure. The bigness, there were many mistakes made, but one of them was like, still kind of American hubris, right, like, so they call it fight. They literally call it fighting season, right. And fighting season ends every winter. And so the fighters in the Taliban go back home. Right? Why could Why didn't we withdraw November, December at least give the Afghan Afghanistan Government three or four months to stabilize and prepare? Right? So we had to withdraw on September baked around September 11. Because it's still about us. 20 years later, it's still about us. So yeah, and so then the domino effect it it felt crazy quick, you know, I don't know, seven to 10 days. It was insane. How quickly, you know, outpost, outpost outpost, and then it was they were in Kabul. And you know, a lot of my friends who served in Afghanistan only served in Iraq, but a lot of my friends served in both or maybe just sort of in Afghanistan. They had really hard they had a really hard time. I was surprised. I was surprised. But, you know, they they gave a formative part of themselves to that time to that to that country and to that place, and to those people, and to watch it all crumbles so quickly was tremendously difficult.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, that's a tough one. I'm glad that we're out of there for now, at least until we go back again. But yeah, I mean, we have we don't we don't have American soldiers in Ukraine, but we're giving them money. And then the other conflict that's going on right now that we are we're again, I think it's just think we're giving money is the ISRAEL PALESTINE? Or that one is? I mean, obviously, that's a very long, long thing that's been going on for years and years. What is your take on that? Because it just seems weird. I don't remember in my lifetime, all these pro Palestine, people protesting and they're saying, from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free? Well, that they're saying that's a call for genocide that that Hamas wants, you know, basically the death of every Jew, which is and then you got the president of Harvard, and these college presidents kind of not denouncing it, which is really disturbing to me, I guess, not as many people are disturbed because, well, I guess I think eventually I'll step down. But I thought that would be something that they would have to be fired the next day, but it was like, seemed like it kind of was drawn out. And you still have all these pro Palestine protests in my home city of Seattle, they blocked the freeway and the cops just kind of let him I don't know, what is your take on all that whole conflict?

Matt Gallagher:

I think two things can and do exist simultaneously. One, Hamas is a terrorist organization. any thinking person can and should condemn them. They cannot be allowed to. You can't snuff them out. Because they're an ideology, but you can't remove them from political power. Right. And so I think Israel is well, more than Well, within their rights to be to be pursuing the end of Hamas as as a as a political as a political leader of Gaza. That said, many of the things I've seen coming out of the footage coming out of Gaza, has revealed to me that the Israeli Israeli army is not living up to this to the standards it should be at in terms of trying to minimize civilian casualties. The footage, in particular with the you know, it turned out to be the three three hostages, that they did have their own that they ended up shooting with a white flag. That's it showed me a complete lack of discipline by there on the ground forces that

Chuck Shute:

I don't know if I've seen now when I've seen a lot of horrific footage from first the attack that Palestine went into Israel, and then yeah, like the counter attack of just a lot of innocent lives and ball and then I hearing conflicting things because you hear that Israel warned Palestine, hey, get all the innocent people out. We're gonna bomb you guys. And that Palestine was saying that was telling people to stay put, which is messed up. So I don't know what to believe. But my thing is like, I'm pro peace, I want there to be peace. I think there should be negotiation. I don't think innocent lives should be lost on either side. I don't. But you're right. I mean, I think there's I don't think Israel is like perfect in this either. No,

Matt Gallagher:

no. And they, they have not been. Some of the things have been beyond the pale. So what do we do as Americans? Yeah, we don't get sucked into having to choose a side and too many people have been kind of sucked into this. Oh, well, you know, I'd be a resistance by like, a lot of his cosplaying. Like, oh, I'd be a resistance.

Chuck Shute:

That is a great term for cosplay. I love that.

Matt Gallagher:

I'm like, Oh, would you murder children? Right, which I mean, I mean, some of the, like, tremendous documented, proven things that Hamas did in on October 7, like, are you really defending that? And by and large, when you confront confront these people away from away from the big groups, they'll say, Oh, of course not. Of course, I'm good. Okay, good. Like that's a sane human response. Right? This is the same in the same way that like leveling blocks have gotten in Gaza. Without any kind of clear target precision targeting is also beyond the pale. Right? So what we as Americans can do is, I think, demand of our government that our money and our weapons are, frankly, coming with strings, right, like, okay, you know, Israel, Israel as an ally. They are. And we're going to support them. That's good. But nobody gets a blank cheque from us. No one Ukraine doesn't get a blank blank cheque from us, right? We put stipulations on the weapons we send them for how and when they can be used. What we're seeing the Biden administration to clearly articulate what the strings we're putting on Israel are, would be huge will be instrumental. And then this is really just kind of more my just personal reaction to this. I think it's great that you People are caring about caring about the war or protein No, maybe, you know, they, they feel much more strongly one way or the other than I do. So they're showing up to protest or whatever. I will admit, though, as a cranky Iraq vet, there's part of me it's like, where the hell was this energy the last 20 years for the wars your country was directly involved in where, where Americans were being killed. Right? You showed up to maybe one or two protests in 2003. And then went home, and stopped and checked out because by and large, the story of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was American disengagement, right. Completely checked out until maybe something big happened. So you know, and that's neither here nor there. I tried. Try not to let that color my perceptions of what's happening now, but I'll you know, I'll admit, and I think it's this case, maybe, certainly not all but some other veterans in my era. It is like, where's this get like? Why Why? Why this thing? Why why do you care so much about Israel and Palestine? When American wars Weren't you were just kind of struggling folks just kind of shrugged off? I don't know. Those

Chuck Shute:

are those people that feel like it's by design. This is what China and Russia want they want people to get riled up because if you look at like, I mean, take for instance, like I was thinking about this I was obviously not alive during Vietnam, but all the footage you see in the pictures you look back, remember the peaceful protests like I mean, John Lennon all the I mean, you look at these things. Everyone's got a peace sign everyone's saying peace. Nobody has a Vietnam flag and is saying I'm for whatever was South Vietnam or North Vietnam you know, no one say no free South Vietnam or whatever it was like no one had I never see any of that it was American flags and peace signs. And you're now you're not seeing that you're not seeing American flags and peace signs. You're seeing pro Palestine I'm assuming there's probably some pro Israel things too. But I'm seeing a lot more pro Palestine things in my newsfeed maybe that's by design as well. But it seems like a lot of just Palestine Palestine not not peace signs. Being

Matt Gallagher:

pro Palestine, you know? Yeah, see more peace signs will be will be fascinating. And personally, I'm fine with like, Palestinian flags is more than pro Hamas stuff that really kind of like, yeah, bro. Like, you were like, from the river to the sea chance like, we were like, Oh, that's not what it means. It's what it means. It wasn't the original Hamas charter. Right. It is a it is clearly a genocidal chant. Now, I don't believe that a lot of people know that that are chanting it. Well, if

Chuck Shute:

we're gonna ban Confederate flags, because we think that's racist, shouldn't they ban the chance? And I like that those Shouldn't that be shamed upon as opposed to putting these people in charge of our most prestigious universities? Yeah, just to say that.

Matt Gallagher:

No, that was that was that was bizarre. Yeah, okay. It's a bit of a trap, you know, you're clearly facing a Republican congresswoman that that doesn't like you, you don't have to walk, you don't have to willfully walk into her very obvious trap, though, all you have to do is say, Hamas is bad. We, we believe in freedom of speech. But we also believe that our students deserve safety. That's all those people had to say. And none of this would have happened. None of this would have happened, they would have kept the jobs maybe. But, but again, but again, it kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier in the discussion, like, you know, those are smart people. Those are, you know, they've spent their their lives in academia. But in that moment, some like they felt almost compelled to stay loyal to kind of the, the, the, the academic class, rather than, you know, I'd rather than as presidents of these universities, you know, kind of the, you know, you're playing a political role you're testifying in front of Congress. It was fascinating that they kind of had to maintain like, felt felt compelled to maintain some kind of ideological line, rather than just kind of, I don't know, saying some some, you know, political nonsense that would have, you know, satisfied satisfied the moment and kept them off the news. Yeah, no,

Chuck Shute:

I think you nailed it with a cosplayer. I just can't can't stop thinking about that. Like, why does a 63 year old white woman from Portland have a pro Palestine flag? It makes no sense unless they're cosplaying. Like you said, they're not from Palestine? Why did it It's bizarre.

Matt Gallagher:

I, you know, I want to believe that they really believe in this and maybe there's some kind of personal connection and like, it's not for me to tell somebody what they can or cannot care about. Sure. But, you know, then I, you know, I see, I think it was the San Francisco City Council recently voted in favor of a ceasefire. That's great, but like, shouldn't you be focusing on actual issues that matter to San Francisco? You know, issues that matter there For sure, yeah, sure. I like

Chuck Shute:

my car got broken into.

Matt Gallagher:

It's a beautiful city. I love it. You know, I don't want this part parts of parts of it have fallen. They've got some tough times. And you know, the politics of that are a whole other thing. But like, I'm sorry, like San Francisco to San Francisco City Council isn't going to change the trajectory of this conflict at all.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, that's very true. What

Matt Gallagher:

do you what are you doing?

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, that's a fast, it's fascinating stuff. I love having someone on there, we can discuss these issues. You're obviously very knowledgeable. And your book gives a nice little snapshot of, of what it's like, you know, being in the middle of some of this stuff. I thought it was interesting to tell me if this part was true, because, uh, you talk about where you've been

Matt Gallagher:

to Ukraine, right? Yeah, multiple times, multiple times now. Okay. So

Chuck Shute:

because the character talks about seeing unflattering artwork of Putin like Putin with a Hitler mustache, Putin with a bloody red hand prints smeared all over himself, Putin second a dick, because they're really stuff like that. And Ukraine, less.

Matt Gallagher:

So now, particularly, there was a lot of that earlier, like, February, March 2022. It's kind of changed over time, and that it's very much kind of become. There's the war out east, and then the rest of the country is doing its best to try to normalize and just go on and return to normal, which I think is very admirable in its way, but there's kind of a less of a sense of the wars everywhere, like it was early in the war. And but but like, this kind of goes back to like, taking things for granted, like, like, things like that. We'd laugh that we check. You know, we see stuff like that at any kind of American political protests, any rally. Well, for Ukrainian society, like this is a big, like, you know, they've only been a free country now for for less than about 30 years. Right, like, right, since they broke off from the Soviet Union, like, being able to just to do stuff like that, to draw stuff like that to chant stuff like that, like, it's very empowering for them. If freedom, you know, freedom of speech, which, which we think is just kind of a normal part of life, like to be able to do that kind of crude stuff about another country's leader, let alone the country that's invading you and trying to try to conquer you. It's, there's real potency behind that. Like, it's not, they're not just doing it for the sake of doing it. They're doing because like, it's an act of rebellion. It's an act of defiance. It's also funny, it's also very fun, love,

Chuck Shute:

I love that kind of stuff. And then in your book, too, there's like, I mean, there's some use in pretty graphic language. Some of it I don't want to repeat, so I don't want to get cancelled, but he talks about like, there's a lie. Or he says, I would ask her if his corpse I'm like, because you were in the military. Is that how people that I'm assuming that's how soldiers talk? Like they say some graphic crazy shit?

Matt Gallagher:

Yes, yeah. In that particular quotes coming from kind of a Ukrainian militia leader, and there's kind of a, they're direct people, both in translation and in Ukrainian. And, you know, he's trying to kind of impress the American, the main American character in that conversation by kind of showing off his, his combat bonafides because because he knows, you knows, Paxton was was an American soldier. But you know, it's Slavic culture is in your face, it's directed, there's very little space for euphemisms, or shying away. That is just kind of part of West, the way Westerners have, you know, the way we've kind of learned to like, cleverly talk about war and combat to, to regular people. That was that was not my experience in Ukraine with talking to Ukrainian veterans. And so I wanted that to reflect that in my in my characters as well.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. Do you think the military? Is that something that concerns you? Or do you feel like it's a good thing? Because I feel like lately, the military has tried to be more PC, whatever, for lack of a better term. Do you think that that's helping the military become stronger? Or do you feel like our enemies are watching that and they're laughing at some of the stuff that we're doing with the military,

Matt Gallagher:

they can do whatever they want, you know, Russia likes to put out these hardcore manly man videos, right? Like guys doing push ups in the snow. And then they got their ass handed. They couldn't even get the keys, right, like 72 hours to Kyiv. Well, it's been it's been two years Putin. So you know, that let them let them do that. I won't pretend I'm not a bit concerned about American recruiting in the military, that that seems to be down across all the branches except for the Marines. I don't really buy the fact that oh, that's about the PC stuff or anything. I think it's the fact that this generation grew up, while two foreign wars were being waged in their formative years, and they both ended poorly. That's probably why they're not joining up or a big factor why they're not joining up. Personal connections, right, traditionally, at least since Vietnam, the American military has drawn very heavily on kind of family members joining up, right? Well, a lot of a lot of soldiers and marines and sailors had negative experiences in the global war on terror. So they're probably not they're probably many of whom are coming home and telling their sons and their daughters and their nieces and nephews, fantasy to go and find something else to do. So you know, that it's a big, I'm not pretending that's not a problem. But I don't buy into the fact that like, we've suddenly gone soft or, or don't worry, we're, we're, we're still in a very strong global power. It's still it's still very much an American, American run globe, for good and for bad. You know, there are pros and cons that come with that. But, you know, I mean, take take a look at what's happening in the Red Sea right now. You know, the US Navy is having a field day, keeping those sea lanes open. Which is, which is funny to me, because as an Army guy, you know, for for all those years, it was mostly us in the Marines that were kind of doing everything in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now it's the Navy, getting the action and good on them. They're there. They're more than rising to the moment. But I hate to sound like an optimist because no optimism is very much not cool these days.

Chuck Shute:

Like in America? Yeah.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah. Yeah. There you go. There you go. Like,

Chuck Shute:

I don't know. We're criticize it. I

Matt Gallagher:

got we got what we got more good for more good going for us than bad. I am a firm believer in that.

Chuck Shute:

I hope so. Yeah. You What's interesting, you mentioned the Red Sea thing. I was gonna ask you about this, because I don't think a lot of people know the real reason that Ukraine and Russia are at war. I heard I don't know if this is true. But I heard it's because the way that the Russia like they do the oil tankers, they have to go all the way around or something and they want that access to the sea from Ukraine, and it would be a lot easier just to write down there. Is that have any you have? Have you heard any truth to that?

Matt Gallagher:

I think that's a big part of it. You know, Crimea, Crimea, has been a point of contention for years. The 1854 They they fought a war there. That's young Leo Tolstoy was that was a lieutenant there fighting for the Russians. That's where charter the famous charges of the Light Brigade poem emerged out of in Russia lost that one too. So no, I mean, this is a resources are often you know, almost always, certainly a big, big part of it. There's also the there's a lot of mines, in eastern Ukraine, in the Donbass area that powerful people want access to and want control of, there's no doubt about it. But there is also kind of cultural and social forces that are at play. And, you know, trying to think about this on a like an everyday person love personal level, you know, something. One person I met over there that I think about a lot when this comes up is her name was Hannah, she was I think 76. And we met her in a village outside of Kharkiv. So Northeastern Ukraine, but I don't 10 miles from the Russian border. And she was sweeping up the glass in her daughter's courtyard, and her son in law's courtyard. And the village had only recently been liberated. So it'd been occupied by Russian troops for like, few months. And they just trashed the place, you know, kind of one of the rooms into like a shitter. It ate all the food, you know, just just ruin these people's, these people's houses. And kind of talking to our translator, who's from Western Ukraine, I could tell that her Ukrainian was much worse than our translator, but also, also the middle aged couple her got her daughter and her son in law. And I finally got it out of her. I was like, you know, why don't why aren't you speaking Russian? When she'd be more like, it's clear that you're not comfortable in Ukrainian, even to my American ears, and like, I don't know either language, but I could tell she was having a hard time keeping up and she kept forcing, forcing Ukrainian and she explained to me through my translator, I don't speak Russian anymore. You know, they killed my grandson. Her grandson had been part of the border, border guard for Ukraine and been killed early in the war. And like the only way she could think of honoring him, was learning Ukrainian language that she had spent seven years or so considering a language for peasants and agitators, right that like, this is a woman from from deep in eastern Ukraine. Oh, native Russian speaker, one of the people that Putin talks about, you know, wants to be part of Russia, who've been turned against Russia who's, who's now more Ukrainian than she ever, ever would have been before the war. And yeah, she's just one person but Buying you meet a lot of a lot of these people that think like this that believe like this not maybe not the language but but certainly with their identity. Now consider themselves more Ukrainian than ever, because Russia has killed their kids because Russia has bombed their schools in their villages. So, you know, these borders, there's no doubt that there's disputes about the border, and who belongs to what and what belongs to where, and that somebody from Western Ukraine like it Lviv is very different, culturally and historically than, than people out east. But to quote one of my characters in the novel, if we weren't a real country before they we are now. And that is something that I've seen, kind of throughout the throughout the country, expressed by both Ukrainian native Ukrainian speakers and native Russian speakers, which is that last part that last one, I don't know, if I was really prepared, prepared for the first time we pushed out east.

Chuck Shute:

That's interesting. It's almost like tragedy brings us closer together, which, going back to 911. I remember that was so weird, because, you know, like The Daily Show, they'd always make fun of Bush. And I remember after 911, John Stewart was like, if anybody makes fun of Bush, I'm gonna kill them. Like he like it was like, we all just came together. It was amazing. It was a short lived, of course, but it was great for a short time we all there was like American flags everywhere. And like people like loved America for like, a short time.

Matt Gallagher:

It did. And it was it was too short. Like, can you imagine like if we'd been able to bottle that energy? Yeah. And use it for? I don't know, it just seems like such a missed opportunity, so much was squandered so much was squandered in the aftermath of that. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

very sad. Well, that your book is out? Not for a while, right, like a month or something? When does February 20? Yeah, February 28. day breaks out, I've already read a great book. Like I said, very colorful, I like getting the, you know, the inside, you know, descriptions of what it's really like to be in these these situations and stuff. It's, it's different than people think. And the only way to learn and if you're not unless you're gonna go yourself is you know, read these books and watch the movies and those kinds of things. So anything else you have to promote?

Matt Gallagher:

No day breaks it? It is it is fiction, it is novel. It's a dark love story. But it's, you know, it's deeply rooted and kind of what I saw and experienced over there as a as a volunteer and journalist. And I don't know, like, sometimes I think fishing is is better suited to kind of revealing the emotional truths of an experience. Maybe things you can't directly quote or source but what you felt or or bore witness to? And yeah, yeah, kind of exactly what you just touched upon. Chuck, like, that's my sincere hope with this book is that like, people who aren't able able to get to Ukraine or, or, you know, don't want to, but are still interested in it, can can, I don't know, spend 200 pages to get to know these, these people just trying to just trying to get by just trying to endure it. Because it's not. It wasn't their choice for these missiles to start raining upon their, their homes and their their towns. They just happen to be, you know, geographical lottery. And I don't know, getting getting getting getting to know them and live amongst them for a little bit. Really. One of the great honors of my life, to be honest with you. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

I mean, I just encourage people to, to talk to each other. You know, if not somebody from Ukraine, like your neighbor, or whatever, like as many people try to get talk to as many people from as many different backgrounds. And that's how you can really learn about the world rather than, you know, on tick tock or whatever. Like, we're, it's a lot of propaganda and things and people staring at this where, like, just talk to real people and hear real stories. And obviously, this story is fiction, but yeah, I mean, you have experience you've been there. You know, you were veteran. So it's draws on reality, when I can tell.

Matt Gallagher:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I couldn't give you an exact percentage of what's experience versus imagination. It's a heavy dose of both. But yeah, you know, I've heard from some people, early readers that spent some time over there. And it's resonated with them as as real and truthful. And interesting as well. So, so far, so good.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. Great. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Matt. And let me know if you have anything else to promote

Matt Gallagher:

good chatting with each other as well. All right, you too. See you

Chuck Shute:

later. Thank you for taking the time to listen to the full podcast episode. Please help support our guests by following them on social media and purchasing their products whether it be a book, album, film, or other thing, and if you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating it to the favorite charity. If you want to support the show, you can like share and comment on this episode on social media and YouTube and If you want to go the extra mile you can give us a rating or review on Spotify, Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. Finally, make sure you're subscribed to the Show on YouTube for the video versions and other exclusive content. We appreciate your support. Have a great rest of your day. Shoot for the moon.