Arts & Culture

A Soldier’s Story: War is Not Always War

Andrew Goldsmith was a college student like any other.  Typical weekends with friends and typical moments of being bored in class gave way to a life that wasn’t really moving forward.  A moment in an Economics class broke that stride and gave Goldsmith a new vision: go to war, fight, and get the bad guy.  Though his dreams paralleled those seen in Hollywood films, reality was a shock and brought about a whole new meaning to being a soldier.  His book Zarqawi’s Ice Cream: Tales of Mediocre Infantrymen is a first hand account of the experiences he shared in the Iraq war.

Goldsmith quickly realized after his enlistment that war was not the glorious battle he thought it would be. “From the movies of my youth where war was romanticized, we all were looking for that glorious moment,” remarked Goldsmith.  “In war there is boredom, but there is also no typical day.  There is so much being asked of young soldiers.  We fight, but we are also diplomats, negotiators, mediators, leaders, etc.  What America asks of her soldiers is really incredible.”  The heroic journey he set out for turned out to be a veil to the truth of what laid before him and so many other young soldiers.

Zarqawi’s Ice Cream is a collection of 35 war stories that together tell the story of Goldsmith’s service in the Army Infantry.  “The story behind the title was that our thoughts of the mission being the real deal of going out and getting the bad guy was not what happened,” said Goldsmith.  “We didn’t capture the bad guy, but we captured some Zarqawi’s Ice Cream from his fridge.  What we had captured was completely different than our mission.”  Right after this particular moment, Goldsmith barely knew that the capture of that ice cream would have such an impact on his military career and life.

From the transition of a civilian student to the battlefield and now back again, Goldsmith has a new mission in mind: America needs to know about war! “Most Americans are disconnected from the war in Iraq,” said Goldsmith. “They don’t know what it has done to the soldiers and the country.  They need to know the effects of what happens when they vote something to happen.  People need to know the humanity of it all – from their soldiers to the Iraqis.”  As Americans we are very fortunate to have the way of life we do, but how often do we forget the reasons why we are so free!

“I want people to think and ask questions,” said Goldsmith.  “Iraq was an invisible war and the soldiers have lost a lot.  We [veterans] need to be recognized and our stories should be shared!” Goldsmith’s family was the first to read his collection of stories.  Though shocked by his decision to write a book Goldsmith explained, “I wanted my family to understand and to read these stories.  A lot of people don’t ask vets about their stories and they need to ask us, but they need to ask us about our own experiences because it helps us.”

This summer Goldsmith sets out on a cross-country book tour to share his stories and help people to understand and to think about what really happens in war.  “I’m ready to hit the road,” said Goldsmith, “and get the story out there!  It’s going to be summer in America and I’ll be out there sharing my story.  I want people to know that there is no black and white, but that everything is grey.  I’ve seen both sides to the issue.”

Visit Andrew Goldsmith’s website at to hear more about his story, the book and see updates on his summer book tour.

About the author

Kara Tornquist