“There never was a good war or bad peace.” Benjamin Franklin
All we wanted to know was who the bad guys were. But nobody knew. We were getting picked off one by one, but we couldn’t find the bad guys. Someone who might be helping you during the day, might kill you at night. The enemy didn’t wear uniforms. Far more innocent people got hurt than anyone else. It wasn’t malicious. It was just legitimately confusing situations.
When you are driving to a meeting and a car bomb explodes, suddenly every car looks like a bomb and we were surrounded by cars. We were surrounded by people and anyone could be wearing a suicide vest.
One day we were driving to a small village to pick up a small Iraqi boy, we were going to fly him to the US for heart surgery. I am at the back of the convoy doing rear security, and this woman in a burqa starts walking towards me. I am shouting in Arabic for her to stop, but she keeps coming towards me. I am screaming at her and now pointing a gun, but she keeps coming, and I think she has a bomb.
I switch off my safety, and as I am just about to pull the trigger, she suddenly opens up her burqa and there is a baby inside.
War can often seem distant from us. Living in the safety of our life back here, we don’t hear about these stories and hope it never becomes ours. The truth is, when these men return home with PTSD, nightmares and an inability to live normally again, it becomes apart of everyone’s story in life. There is no separation.
Let’s not forget these men. Their pain. Their recovery. Together we can begin to heal these wounds.