One Veteran's Voice

18 January 2006

Interesting Articles & some self analysis

Yesterday was my first day of school.

Read these if you've got a minute.

You can have the best armor the army's money won't buy, just as long as you're a general.

Interesting review of recent soldier memoirs.

So Sara said that I have a good memory, but the truth is that the two war stories I've posted so far were adapted from journal entries that were written much closer in time to the actual events described. My memory is pretty good, but not that good.

I've tried to make sense out of life by writing about it from the time I was young. So no surprise that I was doing some writing in Iraq. I handed a trusted friend a stack of war stories a few months ago, after I got back stateside, and he read them carefully. He then told me in so many words that the writer sounded like some kind of sociopath.

As I approach the end of reading My War, I must say that the more that I read, the more I appreciate my friend's comments about my writing. The thing is, at the time, I didn't even realize that what I was writing could be interpreted as it eventually was by my friend. There were crude jokes thrown in with passages about fighting, a lot of generalizations about the Iraqis that sounded vaguely racist, and a lot of punditry (shit, guess I haven't gotten all that out of my system either). Why did the author of my war journal seem like such a total sicko racist dickhead, when I, the person, am not (or at least believe myself not to be)?

To do the opposite, to take a humanistic view of war while simultaneously writing and fighting in a warzone is, to me, nearly impossible. In Iraq, one truly does just get numb to all of the shit that would freak most 1st world people out. Shit like people trying to kill you, explosions, soldiers treating Iraqis with disrespect, car bombs, RPGs, IEDs, the insane heat, the huge bugs, the stench, the smog, not to mention the thought that at any moment on any given patrol it could all come down to a pointy piece of metal flying towards your face at 3000 feet per second, and you wouldn't even know it.

War is scared kids taking pot shots at each other because some other guy says it's the right thing to do. War is collective insanity. It can be justified by logic, but it's still chaotic, collective insanity. Sometimes, once you start it, you can't stop it. Maybe you even start to like it-- the rush of temple throbbing, "holy shit that was close adrenaline" that is like a drug. There are most definitely sadists, thugs, and war junkies in the current military. Lowering recruiting standards doesn't help the situation. Most soldiers in Iraq, however, are decent people thrown into an insane situation. They generally react by acting insane. Morality goes out the window. It's law of the jungle time. It's up to America's citizens, not her soldiers, to interpret the morality of our actions in Iraq.

6 Other Voices:

Red6R said...

I was in CB's brigade, different battalion though. My battalion operated in and around Tall Afar. I just finished reading his book. I've been home from Iraq for a little over a year. I enjoyed reading your blog. anyway, later

1/18/2006 01:22:28 PM  
dannyinwisconsin said...

First day of school - Congratulations!

That's great, man. Fuckin good, you know?
Grab it. Own it. Drink it up.
Whatever they have to offer, that you want - make it yours.
Play their game, and own it.
Congratulations, once again.

1/18/2006 02:19:30 PM  
Elmo said...

That's the most inspiring thing I've read in a long time. Rock on Brian. Run for office one day...I'll be one of your grunts.

1/18/2006 11:37:32 PM  
Sarah said...

Have you seen this?

1/19/2006 09:28:54 AM  
El Comandante said...

yo, I'm sure you heard the report about the Pentagon officially issuing new armor to the troops. The NPR report quoted a Pentagon spokesman as saying that while they felt the armor was unecessary, they wanted to put people's minds at ease... unecessary...

1/19/2006 10:44:27 AM  
freakpowertix said...

very well put, brian!

damn... writing, communicating are so essential to our humanity... keep up the great work (and try not to let school distract you too, too much from this other important project!)

1/25/2006 04:19:09 AM  

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