Saturday, April 16, 2011
Losing My Religion
September 15th, 2005.
The day I stopped believing in God.
Merely by coincidence, I happened to see something that no one else could. It still reminds me of how cruel, stupid, and idiotically dark people can be. they strap miniature cannons to children and send them off to the fields of war with the assurance of meeting a bearded wizard in the sky who will provide too many virgins for any one man to handle. Many things happened that day. A child died, 24 men lived, an award was given, one boy lost his faith, and that same boy began smoking the brains from his head. It's an interesting feeling, hot-boxing cigarette smoke in your tent with your battle buddy who knows that he can't possibly feel what you're feeling. All that carbon monoxide must have gone straight to my brain. There was an awful suspicion in my mind that I'd finally gone over the hump, and the worst thing about it was that I didn't feel tragic at all, but only weary and sort of comfortably detached. As a reward for ending a 9 year old's life, I received the bronze star for heroism and a "Valor device" for an act of combat heroism. I also received a full week of TDY which came with a friend always by my side. It's an interesting thing, killing a child, everyone assumes the next logical step is to kill yourself. Instead of going to Germany or Kuwait or even Baghdad to visit the palaces and their golden toilets, I hot-boxed it with friends in my little tent and thought about what I had done. Never in my life has that little piece of jello in my head worked so hard than in that week. It felt like Taladega or however you spell it and the Superbowl had both met for a giant orgy between my ears. What could i have done differently? Was there anything i could do that would save that boys life while saving my platoon as well? I thought for hours, until there was nothing left to think about.
September 15th, 2005.
We were marching through... somewhere. I don't remember. We came upon a school and went inside to give chocolates to the kids. It was actually very nice. All these kids giving us hugs and kisses. I helped one with his math homework.
We left after about 3 hours. We were halfway down the road when the nine year old ran out of an ally, crying out for one last hug. My platoon sergeant strapped his weapon to his back, bent down, and spread his arms, ready to receive little Achmed. A button came undone on the kids shirt, and I saw the C4 strapped to the little tykes chest. without thinking, without even a god damn warning, I raised my weapon and shot. He went down, and so did I. My squad leader was on top of me in an instant, getting the weapon from my hands. Nobody saw it. I just saved us all and nobody knew. My platoon sergeant ran to him and saw what was on his chest, he called out for everyone to get back, called in EOD, then hugged me. I was crying, I didn't give a shit. 1 dead, 24 saved. Hot-boxing with a bronze star on my collar. America: just a nation of 200,000,000 used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. And this is just fine. the worst part is, it doesn't even affect me that much. When i think back on those days when i was defending something I'm still unsure of, I don't even regret killing that kid. It was him or us. 24 to 1. I'd do it again and I'd hot-box and think for a week again. This is why I lost whatever faith I had left. What kind of overly glorious, all knowing, and all devout invisible alien titan in the sky would allow this kind of behavior? Would allow me to feel NO regret? All my life, I'd been a questioner. I always asked "how" or "why". But this... this blew me over the edge. Nose over tail. Unrelenting nothingness beyond....