Tuesday, November 09, 2004

'I got my kills...'

Regarding the war in Iraq, I'm not sorry to see Saddam gone, but I can't say that I can bring myself to agree with when, how and why the Americans, British (et al) went in. Now that they're there, I want to see the whole thing resolved quickly, efficently and (most importantly of all) honourably. (Incidentally, anyone cherishing hopes of a quick withdrawal will, IMHO, be sorely disappointed. The Americans, British, UN or a local Arab peace-keeping force will almost certainly be needed in Iraq for a long time to come.)
Today, the Telegraph has this disturbing piece on the reality of urban warfare today.
I think the words of the soldiers tell their own story... One is quoted as saying "You guys get to do all the fun stuff. It's like a video game. We've taken small arms fire here all day. It just sounds like popcorn going off." Another says in reference to the killing of an enemy comitant, "Ain't nobody moving now. He rocked that guy's world." I know it's in the heat of battle, and it's a case of 'kill or be killed', but I can't but be affected by the fact that the situation they are in has brutalized these young men. It's not a video game, and it's not a movie, it's certainly not 'fun stuff'. Perhaps the only uplifting part of the article are the fine words of one American soldier:
"Given the choice, I would never have wanted to fire a gun," said Cpl Chris Merrell, 21, manning a machinegun mounted on a Humvee. "But it didn't work out that way. I'd like a thousand boring missions rather than one interesting one."
On his wrist was a black bracelet bearing the name of a sergeant from Phantom Troop. "This is a buddy of mine that died," he said. "Pretty much everyone in the unit has one."

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