Thursday, May 12, 2005

Soldiers Die

We had done it. We made it to Baghdad. I was thinking this when we pulled into the field near the Saddam (now Baghdad) International Airport. During the beginning of the war I had traveled with an infantry unit, but for the last week or so of the war I was with an artillery unit. That artillery unit had taken very good care of us.

When we first arrived at that field we noticed that near one of the paladins (a very large artillery piece, looks like a tank...) lay the body of a dead Iraqi soldier. We didn't bother him and he didn't bother us. We had become friends with the soldiers who's paladin was parked near the body, so we would usually visit them at least once a day or so. After that first day I found out that the guys in that paladin had made friends with that dead Iraqi soldier, and they had given him a name as well. His name was Fred. When the guys at the paladin had guard duty (one of them manned the hatch gun at all times) they would talk about Fred (or sometimes to Fred) to pass the long hours of guard duty. Fred didn't have the best of manners though. He didn't shower and was very lazy (he spent his days just laying there in the grass).

On a serious side though I think that the reason we made light of the situation was because we lived next to a dead and sun bloated body who had been killed violently. I mean, if we didn't laugh we would probably have been loosing it. We had just fought a bloody war and now we were living IN the blood and violence of it all. I am glad though. Glad that Fred was a soldier. We understood that. Soldiers die. Us, them... soldiers die. If it had been a civilian I don't know what we would have done. Civilians should be safe. At least that is the way it is supposed to be, but Iraqi civilians did die and still do every day...


The Faux Press said...

Wow. Just found your blog through Flickr and wanted to say that it's really good to read and see your perspective. "Be careful out there."

Daedalus said...

Hey Zach,

Your posts just get better and better, serious subjects aside. Wow, the things you do to stay sane.

Stay safe.

Valkyrie said...

Yeah, stay safe.

That's a pretty somber post. It really makes me think.

Jana Lane said...

You are right. Soldiers do die. That's exactly the reason we should never send them into combat until we are threatened and we have exhausted every alternative to war. We must never begin a war based on lies about intelligence or politicians ambitions for their place in history. I believe that, like many Americans, I would unhesitatingly sacrifice my life to defend the United States but I, oppose sacrificing any American's life to take control of resources or bring political change to a country that is not our own. We have brought political change to one country-Japan- since WWII. Our own revolution and the revolutions of other countries, Mexico and South Africa, for example show that people have to create that change for themselves. Only then do they truly own it. I appreciate the chance to share my views with you. Thank you.

Ray said...

Hey Zach,
This is SPC Bunten, just want to say that you are a very powerful writer and speak so much proof. At a time like this we can't do anything but try to find the humor in everything, even the serious. I just pray we can all turn off that switch when we return home.

Trevor said...

Keep writing and take the responses you get here with a grain of salt. Everyone responding to you has an opinion, but most of us are not in harm's way when we express them.

The occupation of Iraq is a complex action resulting from a more complex history of interactions between very different cultures and worldviews.

Whether or not history views it as positive is still open for debate. Keep writing and challenging me to see things through your eyes.