Once again I am compelled to write a diary and attempt to enlighten some and remind others of what a soldier's life is like. As I have said before, mine is not the definitive answer and mine isn't the only story.
I have responded to several posters who have asked why they shouldn't have opinions about the military if they have served. I don't know what prompted them to ask the question originally, but my answer to them and everyone else is this, you have every right to an opinion. Here is where I start to have a problem a non veteran tends to speak about the military as a whole such as they torture prisoners or they are war criminals, etc. I admit, I may have taken some of these comments out of context or I did not understand the meaning of the poster. That is the difficult thing about communicating through cyber space. But let me be blunt, not one American soldier joins the military to become a war criminal.
Many young men and women join the military for a better life or a different life then what they currently have. They want money for school. They want an opportunity to see the world, you name it and I am sure that it was a reason for someone to join the military. Is going to war one of the reasons that a person joins, I don't think so, sure the possibility is there, but it is so remote what are the odds of that ever happening right?
So here we are, these kids are off in a foreign country fighting a war that many of them may or may not support. By the way did I mention that the military has never started a war? I guess not. Now imagine yourself as that kid and a car comes up on your convoy, you motion for it to stop and it doesn't. You yell for it to stop, but surprise they're Iraqis and they don't speak English and they don't stop. What do you do? You wait until it gets close to your convoy and it blows up or do you shoot? Training and experience in Iraq says that you shoot. The rules of engagement says that you shoot, so you shoot, why? Because you have to protect yourself and your fellow soldiers. Is this a war crime? In my book, no! Am I wrong? Maybe, but I believe the first priority is to protect our soldiers. Now imagine being that soldier and you realize that the car you just shot up is nothing more than a car full a civilians just trying to get home. Now imagine how that soldier feels. I'm not going to be politically correct here, I will not fault that soldier or any soldier for doing his/her job. Do civilians get killed this way, yes, is it unfortunate yes, but is that soldier a war criminal as some would suggest, NO!!!! Not in my book. Are soldiers who torture prisoners and kill prisoners war criminals, I would say yes, but I am in no position to pass judgment. Do I condone their behavior, NO once again. What does all this have to do with someone who has served in the military versus one who has not? I believe that a majority of people who have served understands the difference when a soldier is protecting himself and his fellow soldiers from a possible attack and when a soldier is just sadistic and is getting his jollies, whereas someone who has not served looks at these two events as the same when there is a distinct difference.