Body Count…

Warning:  half thought out, somewhat crude and vulgar, partially cold-hearted, and definitely non-proofread post about a potentially sensitive subject.  Read at your own risk and feel free to eat a large dick if you don’t like it…

Incase you haven’t check out the news today, a CH-47 Chinook was supposedly shot down by the Taliban in Northeastern Afghanistan resulting in 31 American dead and marking the most costly single incident in 10 years of war.  For a lot of my fellow soldiers and their families, this event hits rather close to home as any sense of losing “our own” in this conflict tends to strike a rather deep emotional cord based on our own fears and insecurities over the fragile nature of our existence on this planet and especially our existence in the middle of this warzone of our own creation.  Adding to the emotional significance of this event is the blatant, cold fact that such a tragedy could happen to absolutely any one of us in this warzone.  Regardless of who you are or what your job is in this country, the fact that you will ride in a military helicopter at some time is an almost absolute certainty.  They are quite simply one of the only effective means of getting around in a country devoid of virtually all types of infrastructure outside the ring road and the major cities.  So essentially, every one of us can die in a fiery helicopter crash at some point during our tour in this country in the same way that we can die from a lucky Taliban rocket strike while we sleep at night, a lucky sniper shot in some random part of the country, or a command-wire or pressure plate IED that we will never live long enough to see…Yes, even in the 21st century, war still fucking sucks and we can die here…

While any loss of human life is in itself a tragedy, and if nothing else my closeness to death at times has brought me to an even deeper appreciation of the pure awesomeness that is the only life I have been given, I can’t find myself holding any type of an emotional response to this incident.  While it sucks to lose friends in this war and unfortunately I will probably lose a few more over the next 11 months I can’t see the loss of more of our military service members in this conflict as anything other than the natural cost of war.  And in an all-volunteer military, we knew what we were getting into…which is a lot more than can be said for the uncountable number of Afghan and Pakistani civilians that have lost their lives in this conflict.  If human life is of equal value regardless of race or nationality, where is the emotional response to their loss?  How many have to die before we figure out that we need to protect their right to life as well.

War breaks things down into the simplest of human terms, us versus them, and it is for this reason that it tends to so much societal disintegration.  While we mourn the loss of “us” we celebrate the loss of “them” even if we are not quite sure who “them” really is and thus tend to fall into the trap of labeling anybody who isn’t one of “us” as one of “them”.  This makes things very easy when we see “them” suffer and die even if their deaths are completely unwarranted, yet causes us to feel a strong emotional response at the death of every one of our “brothers in arms”.  We hold ceremonies for our fallen comrades, yet don’t even flinch when mentioning the “collateral damage” caused by one of our artillery rounds or predator drone strikes aimed at killing some super-evil madman out for the total destruction of the American way of life that ends up taking out a few women and children on the side.

While many of us would never make it back home to our loved ones without some type of a shared community and reliance on ourselves and the people fighting next to us and this shared collective identity we establish is a necessary defense mechanism in an inherently hostile environment by separating ourselves from our humanity how much  more suffering are we inflicting by perpetuating the conflict against “them”???  In the end though, you will never solve the problems of human nature through the course of a few deployments in a war zone.  War is hell and killing is a very deceptively easy task for human beings to undertake especially when it is backed up by a group and culture that supports it.  While it sucks that we lost a good number of fine soldiers today, that is just part of the game we all chose to play.  Hopefully we will all make it back to see our loved ones and families again but everybody knows that is a grotesquely overly ambitious wish.  Don’t worry though, I’m sure we’ll launch a couple of predator drone or air strikes and bring the daily body count back into our favor.  Regardless of how lucky our enemies get from time to time, we are still much more effective killers than they can ever hope to be…which is worse, losing your life or your humanity?  Fuck it, who gives a shit in this place anyway…

Peace,

Brian

6 Aug 2011, 2330 AST, Orgun-E, Paktika, Afghanistan

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About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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2 Responses to Body Count…

  1. hippiekim says:

    Heavy subject. I can speak for lots of hippies when I say that we mourn the “collateral damage” as well as our own. In terms of national debt this war is already too costly, but add in the priceless lives lost and it is simply madness.

    • In end, it doesn’t matter whether you feel like mourning or celebrating a death in this or any other war. It’s only what you can figure out to do to fix the circumstances surrounding the unnecessary waste of human life. War is madness, it always was madness, and it will always be madness. When we start forgetting that is just makes it much easier to pursue from a distance. As for being too costly, most likely…but sometimes the most important lessons have to be taught in the most gruesome ways…we’ll have to see what we can come up with on the back end of this adventure…thanks for the read and please play safe…

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