Sunday, September 2, 2007

Death and destruction...

If there's one thing about being in a war zone it is this... the level and intensity of the carnage that I've see is unparallel to anything I will ever experience again in my life. Before I came to Iraq, I had never experienced much of what I would come to see. The only time I had seen a dead body (other than 2 occasions at open casket funerals) was in New Orleans when we deployed there after Hurricane Katrina. Now, I have seen more dead bodies than I wish to even try to count. And its not your typical, died of natural causes or from the heat or anything like that. Its been the worst of the worst. Gun shots, explosions, burned to death. Stuff that would make even some trauma nurses cringe.

No matter where you go or what you do, while here in Iraq you will see this kind of stuff more than anyone ever should. God forbid should you have to create some of it yourself. It truely is an ugly aspect of human nature. But like all things in life, you become desensitized and used to what you see. That is sadly the point in my life where I am. Seeing another dead body, or executed Iraqi or whatever no long has an effect on me. Nothing... cold nothingness.

What got me thinking about this was from when I was out the other day. We ended up having to swing by our outpost for something and as we were pulling in we saw an Iraqi Police (IP) pickup truck pulling in before us with probably 30 IP's walking behind it chanting and screaming. My initial reaction was that they were pissed about something and was preparing to have to deal with that. But as we continued pulling in I looked to the side of the road and noticed two IPs sitting down holding each other. When they looked my way I saw the stream of tears on their faces and I immediately knew what this was about.

Once we pulled in the IP truck had turned around and thats when I saw it. There was a plywood box coffin in the back draped in an Iraqi flag. I was relieved that there wasn't a body just lying in the back of the truck like I have seen so many times, but then I began to wonder if it is any of the IPs that I have come to know. There aren't many that I would say I'm friendly with, but theres definately a few who, so long as Im not in a bad mood, I enjoy talking with and bullshitting with. The thing is even though they have told me their names, I dont remeber them. And I realizied that even if I could remeber their name, its only their first name which are all common. If one of them were to be killed I'd never know. The only clue I might have is if I don't see them anymore.

I came to find out later from some of the MPs (Military Police) that we work with that indeed one of the IPs from our outpost had been killed. Apparently they were driving around out in Baghdad and their vechicle was hit by an IED. A couple more were wounded but from my understanding, it was nothing serious. So now I wonder when we go back out there, if I will notice anyone is missing. And if I do, I'll never really know the answer to the question that is in my mind...

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Anonymous said...

There just so many people in the world that you will meet once but
might not meet again. Its like a risk that we take ... a crazy one that we cant control! There's so many people i wish i could contact again but only know them by 1st name basis...well you take care of your self..


Haole Wahine said...

You're "asking the question", is your answer.

Gratitude and Prayers, SGT.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who deals with death on a regular basis has to learn to compartmentalize. You have to put your feelings in a a safe place. By the picture of you with the dog, I see you have put yours where they are safe. Stay safe, Eddie, stay safe.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

I pray the Iraqi war is over soon and our boys and gals return home safely.

Blessings!!! JJ

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/04/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Papa Ray said...

Hey Troop. If remembering names of the IA or IP is hard for you, assign your own nick for each of them. Pick one that fits of course, so you can remember it.

We did that long ago and far away and it worked for us. Some of the nicks were vulgar, but most just funny.

Like: Loopy, Dopey, eyebrows, Limpy, Scratchy...well you get the Idea.

Of course we never called them by those names, but it helped in day to day operations and soon enough, someone would let the nick out of the bag and most times, that I knew of, the Viets didn't mind or care.

But what did we know, we were just a bunch of 18 to 20 something kids who were in the shit and making the best pies out of it we could.

Death and destruction...well, us ol' guys like to tell you about what we saw and did, but seeing as how nobody would understand anyway, I won't.

Just remember this: "No matter how bad you think it is or was, Murphy's law says that you are dead wrong...

It can/will get worse."

Continue the Mission

Papa Ray
West Texas

Heather said...

How is Operation Charlie going? That's what I really want to know. And if I can help. But the reason I looked for, and found you, is that I work for Radio Free Europe and am asking soldiers on the frontline for their opinions. I don't have to use your name - but the question is, how is the security situation in Baghdad? God bless you for taking care of Charlie. My uncle is on his second deployment and does the same for the cats and dogs he finds... Stay safe. Heather (