Getting something off your chest is sometimes a way to clear the mind. It also can provide a rational explanation to irrational acts. That being said I am going to try to offer some insight into a troubling series of widely reported events that allegedly involve our brothers and sisters in uniform. I do not expect all or even most of you to agree with me, but it may give you a moment of cause for pause to reflect.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that certain members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division posed for pictures holding body parts of Afghan insurgents. If true, this behavior that is truly unacceptable and reflects poorly on our soldiers. This is not the first, and I am sure will not be the last of atrocities that will be reported. We all remember the chilling photos and stories that emanated from Abu Ghraib prison scandal. These stories are the EXCEPTION! There are thousands of other stories that can and should be told every day that celebrate and not denigrate our American fighting force.
Many years ago Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman stated an off quoted line when he said “War is Hell”, he was right then and he is right today.
Our fighting forces get up every day in their corner of the world and go to work not knowing if they are going to kill our enemies or be killed. Often times they do not know or recognize their enemies. In a kill or be killed situation fear often is accompanied with frustration, fatigue, and desperation. Every day our soldiers protect each of us while protecting the backs of their own. They never know if they will return after their mission. Everyday they fight, patrol, and protect.
Sometimes frustration leads to irrational behavior. Sometimes fear leads to regrettable acts. It is part of the human condition.
So lets not be so quick to judge our guardians. Yes there are exceptions, but those are rare and isolated. Our American fighting force do their job and do it damn well. AWY salutes each and every one of you. We thank you for keeping our great Country free and safe.
As General Sherman said, “War is Hell”; was he ever right!
John S. Pike