<\body> Stories in America: Wal-Mart, Iraq & the Oklahoma Panhandle

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wal-Mart, Iraq & the Oklahoma Panhandle

After four months of being on the road, I still find myself saying, "I can't believe there's a Wal-Mart here." As we drive through small towns, we immediately notice dilapidated downtown buildings and empty storefronts. Many downtowns are literally turning into ghost towns. Just when you think a town is too small for a Wal-Mart, it practically hits you in the face. I've found that Wal-Mart parking lots are great places to do interviews because they attract such diverse groups of people and are often the only option in town for affordable one-stop shopping. A lot of people making $6-7/hour have told me while they miss mom and pop shops, they wouldn't be able to afford the basics if it weren't for Wal-Mart. At first, I steered clear of the store itself. I'm now making it a point to go in to look for differences, but have yet to find any. The store in Oklahoma City sells the same exact items as the store in Alva, Oklahoma.

A few minutes after finding a parking spot in the Alva (poulation 5,288) Wal-Mart, we met Eli, a 24-year-old who served in Iraq for four months in 2003. Eli was stationed in Camp Doha in Kuwait before the war started and was 10 miles south of Baghdad after the bombing began. Eli was discharged after he blew out his knee while playing basketball. During our conversation, Eli said hello to several people coming and going, including a man he served with overseas.


Tell me about your experience in Iraq.

We had 40 days with no shower, five severe sand storms and a month without ammunition. Everybody else had tents. We didn't. Everybody else had air conditioners. We didn't. The only thing I had to eat for three days was crackers. We ran out of water for a full day. We went through a lot.

A month without ammunition?

Thirty-eight guys and the only thing we had was 210 rounds. And 210 rounds is supposed to be for one person.

I've been interviewing vets on this trip and often hear about the lack of armor and the lack of overall preparation.

The major thing with the military is, when you go through basics, the first thing you learn is how to become a soldier and how to shoot. The second thing you do is to learn your job. A lot of people over there are thinking more about their job and not what they were trained to do. To shoot. To become a soldier. That's what happened with Jessica Lynch. They were trying to do their job instead of being a soldier and shoot first. That's something that Bush needs to get through everybody's head.

A little over 1800 people have died. That's $250,000 per person that we have given out. In October, that's going up to $400,000 in life insurance. I lost a friend in Colorado. He was over there one week shy of a year. He had an affair with a colonel. He brought it home with him. The day before he was supposed to be court martialed, he went down to the local park and blew his brains out. $250,000 life insurance was supposed to go to his family. His family only gets 25 percent since it was a self-inflicted wound.

How has all of this affected you?

I have war syndromes just like everybody else. I have nightmares every single day. An eight-year-old girl holding a four-month-old baby came to my position begging for food and water. The little baby was so hungry, she was trying to nurse off of the girl. What really happened is she pulled a gun on me and I had to shoot her and the little child. When I saw my nephew for the first time, he was sleeping and my sister said, 'Hold him, I need to go to the restroom.' With him just laying there motionless, I started crying and gave him to my aunt. She said, 'What's wrong?' And I said, 'I can't do this.' I walked outside. I didn't hold my nephew for another two hours. It took so many people to try to calm me down. I thought I killed him. That's what happens in my nightmares.

I've lost several friends over there. For some reason, Bush is still keeping us over there. We've got a mission. We have to disarm everybody and find what we need to get and get the hell out of there.

After going through all of this, have your opinions about the war changed?

Yes they have. We were in Kuwait the day the war happened. We were supposed to go to Turkey to follow the Marines down to take the whole state of Iraq. Five hours later, they called us back and said, 'You're not going. Turkey won't let us in. No American troops can touch their soil.' A hundred and forty was the high and 25 was the low. Bush could have done a lot of things differently, but he's kept his head. He sent us over there to do a mission. A lot of people have died doing that mission. It's about time they finish it up and come home.

So you think it's time to pull out and bring the troops home?

Our main objective was to get Saddam Hussein. We got him. We're still looking for bin Laden. We just need to go over there, question every single person and take prisoners like we always have. A couple weeks ago, about 40 Marines were killed.

I was over there for two weeks wearing mop sweeps in 120 degree weather. I was wearing a tee-shirt with a jacket over it and coveralls for two weeks straight. I have the option to go back over, but I'm not going to because I have the option this time. My grandpa's health is real bad so I'm going to stay back and help with the family. I've been there and I've done it. I know how bad it is. I've lost several friends over there. My cousin was over there. He just had shoulder surgery. He's my age and is disabled.

Are people around here still joining the military?

Our numbers are so low. I'm with the Kansas National Guard now and they said we're down 2700 compared to this time last year. That's bad. Recruiters are losing their jobs because they can't get people in.

Are your friends' opinions about the war changing?

Kinda yes, kinda no. Some people are a little bit more gung ho than I am. They want to go back over there and shoot somebody. I tried to go deer hunting since being over there. I can't do it. It's not a challenge to me. There's a lifeless animal with no gun. I can't do it. We had machine guns over there. You name it, we had it. If somebody came up to us, you better be bringing lunch 'cause we're US; we're gonna tear you up.

But a lot of people's opinions have changed. Several guys from here in Alva and the surrounding areas went ahead and quit. They were thinking about staying in for the whole 20 years and after they got back, they said, 'My time is up. I'm through.' One guy was in for 22 years and he's 62-years-old. He resigned to go over there with us and he got gallstones. When he got back, he was gonna stay in for another year, but he quit because of so much crap that happened. Some people go treated good; some got treated bad. Like I said, 40 days without a shower. Hand wipes. Baby wipes. Toilet paper. That's what you can send the troops. Prayers. We always ask for prayers. Toothbrush. Toothpaste. Shaving cream. Razors and a picture or two.

When you look at how much we're spending on this war, you would think there would be an abundance of those goods.

There's not. I celebrated my 22nd birthday over there and the barracks were named after me because I got so much mail. I had eight boxes come full of you name it, I had it. What they first told us when we went over there was, 'We're not going to have bacon. No pork allowed. It's against their religion.' As soon as we set base up, guess what we get? We get pork because we're on US soil. We're on the Army base.

I've been home since the end of '03. I've talked to over 1,000 people and maybe 300 have actually shook my hand and said, 'Thank you.' I'm Army National Guard. Everybody says we're weekend warriors. We only serve one weekend a month, but we make commitments like everybody else. I've got several friends in the Marines, Navy, you name it. We all sacrifice our lives. We sacrifice our marriages and our kids. I haven't been the same since we got home. I know a friend who, as soon as he got home, told his wife, 'No more. I'm getting a divorce.' Women are treated like crap over there. Women are the backbone of the family. Women do all the work. The men are the bosses. Men tell the women what to do. Women will do everything.

You mean the Iraqi women?

Yes.

Did you have many interactions with Iraqi families?

Yes we did. Several came up to us and started to learn our language. We had several English interpreters over there. We learned a little bit of their language. We went through a three-hour class to see how they speak: no, yes, here's some food, here's some water. We really couldn't give them that stuff because it was just like throwing a piece of candy to a bunch of kids. You give one, you have to give to every single one of 'em. I remember several people would come up and say, 'I want food. I want water.' I had to say, 'I can't give you nothin'. It's against regulations.'

Some of them loved us being there because they knew what we were doing. We were trying to get rid of Saddam and give them power so they're not in war every single day. So some were grateful that we were there and others said, 'US, just go ahead and leave. We don't need you.'

I do thank god for bringing me home safe. I hope he brings home everybody else. They're fighting for their country and dying.

Have opinions about the war in this area changed?

Yes, a lot of people who were with Bush have turned against him because it's gone on too long. What are we doing there now? At this very moment, what are we doing? We're still trying to help them gain control of their country. We have problems here in the US. People are dying everyday. It's time to come home. Let people spend the rest of their lives with their families. It's gone on too long. It's gonna be like this for several more years.

92 Comments:

At 8/21/2005 6:36 AM, Blogger Carl said...

I just found your site through Bad Attitudes. This post is great; it reminds me a lot of Studs Terkel's wonderful books. Thanks.

 
At 8/21/2005 11:34 AM, Anonymous Patriotic Believer in Oklahoma said...

Thank you so much Eli for your sacrifice of fighting for this country. I pray right now for the nightmares to stop in Jesus name. Father, You said, You give your beloved sleep. Give Eli the most peaceful, restful sleep, he has ever known. Heal all the hurts, erase the memories that torment. And Father let him know how much You love him and care about him and all his freinds and fellow soldiers. Meett their every need, Lord, by Your mighty outstretched hand, for You are El Shaddai, the God who is more than enough. In Jesus name I ask these things, and thank You Father for hearing and answering. God Bless you Eli and all soldiers who are fighting for their country.

 
At 8/21/2005 12:36 PM, Anonymous huh? said...

what's up with shooting the kids? Anyone?

 
At 8/21/2005 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to huh?
"What really happened is she pulled a gun on me and I had to shoot her and the little child. When I saw my nephew for the first time, he was sleeping"
Go back up and read it. The women and children are either taught to kill like that or forced to, with the promise of death if they don't.
This is the type of rulers or leaders that country as well as other islamic nations have. Evil men who use whomever to get their evil tasks done.

 
At 8/21/2005 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or their religion, that of islam, that teaches the more infidels and jews they kill the more rewards in heaven they get. The soldier is considered an infidel, if he is american or jewish or not and islam, according to their teachings.
That would be hard for anyone to have to kill like that and come home with the memories. Thanks for praying for them patriotic.

 
At 8/21/2005 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it could be that Iraqis are either fanatics or threatened with death, which is why they attack American soldiers. But if you're not, y'know, fuckin' stupid, it makes more sense that the Iraqis don't like having an occupying army in their country.

 
At 8/21/2005 5:10 PM, Blogger AbbieX said...

As a father, as an uncle, as a human being, seeing a child in that situation, with an infant in one arm, wouldn't be as life threatening as seeing an adult with a gun pointed at me. I believe I would have died trying to take the gun and find refuge for these children. I pity Eli and the countless men and women who are forced to make these choices in an instant without the benefit of the time to think. I encourage everyone to think about these consequences when making the choice to take part in this terrible occupation

 
At 8/21/2005 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it only bad to kill babies when they're unborn?

 
At 8/21/2005 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe you liberals using people like this to try to make our President and this country look bad. That soldier is hurting and doesn't need you liberal demoncrats trying to push your hate off on everyone!!!!

 
At 8/21/2005 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO IF YOU AIN'T GOT NOTHING GOOD TO SAY........SHUT UPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 8/21/2005 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO IF YOU AIN'T GOT NOTHING GOOD TO SAY........SHUT UPPPP!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 8/21/2005 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were over there fighting, and were presented with the same situation, would you have enough time to make a decision like that of sparing the children, when in training you are taught that the enemy could be a woman, a child, a dog, a cat, anything. They are over there to protect those that truly want to be protected as well as themselves. It is wrong in this country to murder unborn babies for the sake of inconvenience, greed or mistake. Every person on earth has a God-given right of life. And those babies rights are being taken from them. If they can't afford the child or don't want it there are many childless parents (man and woman) who would love to adopt.

 
At 8/21/2005 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if the soldier had assisted in aborting the baby a year earlier, he would have committed a sin, but because he shot the baby with a machine gun after it was born, he's a hero whom God loves. Now I understand. Thank you for providing much-needed Moral Clarity!

 
At 8/21/2005 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe the way you guys argue your points. God knows exactly why the Soldier had to do what he did and it's not a deliberate act of murder but an act of self-defense. That unborn child is helpless, and has no way of defending itself. God is not proud of such sad circumstances, but he is not going to condemn the soldier. These are tragedies of war. Babies being aborted are not.

 
At 8/21/2005 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are also heartless to not realize the soldier is suffering tremendously from having to do that. Did you not read and feel his pain and torment, the nightmares because of what happened? Stop trying to push your liberal agenda at a time when this soldier needs healing. These are sad things that happen because of war. Wars are caused when others are so selfish they want to take the rights of others away, as Saddam was doing. There is really no comparison at all to what you wrote. It's a cold and heartless comment.

 
At 8/21/2005 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're arguing that his life was being threatened by a four-month-old baby?

What puzzles me is the idea that finding something objectionable about killing a (born) baby is "heartless", but killing the baby is not. I haven't seen one indication that the conservative commenters think that killing a baby is a bad thing.

What also puzzles me is that you can understand all the possible mitigating circumstances that might lead a soldier to shoot a baby, but can't find any mitigating circumstances that might lead someone to have an abortion. Isn't condemning a mother who has an abortion for doing it out of "greed" or "inconvenience" also "heartless"? I guess it's all part of the convenient double standard that comes with Moral Clarity.

I feel for everybody involved in this war. I think it degrades the morals of everything it touches. But a war isn't just an accident, a background fact of life that we have to take for granted. People start wars, and don't admit when they start them that all these terrible things will happen. Then when they do, they try to avoid responsibility for them. Other people, unfortunately, are all too willing to enable the guys who start wars to do that.

 
At 8/21/2005 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The girl with the gun was 8 years old, and if you are holding a baby, it's usually by your chest. He's not clear on where he shot her, but if she was sitting down, you can imagine he had to aim at her possibly where the baby was. I don't know, I wasn't there and neither were you. He may be able to answer that in a much better way. But you still shouldn't be comparing what happened with him and abortion. You know abortion is wrong when it's done by doctors for money, or scientists who want the babies organs. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. It is wrong for mothers to abort babies for any reason, when there are many adoption agencies and un-wed mothers homes who will pay for her hospital expenses, and the homes give them a place to stay and help them decide whether they want to keep the baby or give it up for adoption.
It is a very sad and tragic thing for anyone to get killed during war, but all through history, it happens. For people to blame, and bad mouth, and make excuses why there should be no war only adds to the tragedy and heartbreak.

 
At 8/21/2005 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are essentially anti-woman. why not punish a woman for all the eggs that don't make it to term too? a woman's body and her decisions on what comes out of it as it affects her health, is none of your f-cking business. you are 'big government' talking so shut your hypocritical mouth and swallow your ignorant self-righteous tongue. never an excuse for an abortion? why don't you get a sex change (if u are a guy) and get raped. make sure u are off birth control by the way. then bring the baby borne out of rape to term and live with that. or pass it on to the tax payers. but u don't like taxes do you? what a predicament! culture of life? how about bush's culture of death. stop focusing on fetuses and start focusing on nearly 2,000 proud defenders of our country that are dead b/c of doctored intelligence. 'but saddam blah blah blah. we're there for the iraqi people' partially true, but really we're there for the oil and water and to dominate that region as well to keep ourselves at war so republicans can forever stay in power. why aren't we in the sudan? no oil? ..haha how about we invade...saudi arabia? 18 hijackers from there but no invasion. where's the justice? where's bin laden, al zarqawi, wmds, waldo? ah maybe bush should look under his desk. that bit was denigrating to the troops. but i'm sure you didn't object.

"It is a very sad and tragic thing for anyone to get killed during war, but all through history, it happens. For people to blame, and bad mouth, and make excuses why there should be no war only adds to the tragedy and heartbreak."

"(sh)it happens." that's your explanation for war casualties. so stop whining about abortions b/c since it's hard enough for women to make that decision, why don't u stop making excuses why women shouldn't have them b/c it only adds to the tragedy and heartbreak. i almost forgot, you should enlist, just like all the other warmongers who won't walk the walk. u and the bush twins. next stop...

 
At 8/22/2005 4:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched online a short film called 'Return to Kirkuk' where an exiled Kurd goes back to vote. In the streets he meets children playing with actual (unloaded) guns; they show them to him with pride. It would be sad indeed if this was the case here: a girl shows off her toy to a soldier and is percieved as a threat.

 
At 8/22/2005 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate, hate, hate. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Go over there to Iraq, live there, before you go making your rash, untrue statements!!! And then go to other countries where poverty reigns and you will come back to this country and kiss the ground and finally be grateful to God. Believe me, I've been to Haiti, and when I came back I was actually sick to my stomach for week, every time I went to stores with such an abundance and people as usual, griping and complaining.

 
At 8/22/2005 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I speak as a woman with experience. Back before abortion was legal, I became pregnant out of wed-lock. Growing up around an abusive father, with pornography available for me and my 8 brothers and sisters to look at while he was at work. No Godly imput except what we read in True Story or Modern Romance with some false statements about God. So with a soured expression of men, God, and authority figures, (because every time us kids tried to run away from home, the police, etc. wouldn't believe us but believed our father's lies instead and would take us right back in that mess), I ran away from home at 15 because I couldn't stand the abuse anymore. A nice person picked me up and I told them to take me to the welfare. I was put in a foster home and after getting my story, they went to investigate, but my dad had already left the county, which was his habbit. I felt so helpless and hopless at times, because I had tried so hard to get help for my mom and siblings. The foster was home was a far better place, except for the church life. It was a denominational one and all I heard from the pulpit was preaching against our (my foster sisters) makeup, cigarettes, and mini-skirts. I never heard once that Jesus love me and died for me.
I stayed for a year there and moved in with my sister when I was in the 11th grade. I was 18 at the time. Due to an autombile accident and starting school at 7 instead of 6 I was older than everyone else. I was very immature and insecure also. I got in with the wrong crowd, started skipping school, getting expelled and finally ended up pregnant. I understand all the feelings that go along with that. All alone, abandoned, a burden to my sister and brother-in-law. With the wrong imput, suggestions about castor oil causing a miscarriage were what I fearfully tried. I had no effect whatsoever. I thank God over and over that abortion was not legal then. I ended up back in the same town with foster care where I carried the baby and gave birth. I thought long and hard on what to do. Whether to keep it, give it to the people who were taking care of me, or giving it up for adoption. The people I was staying with were alcoholics, and I felt uneasy about letting them take the baby, because I would be able to see it and I knew it would be a strife filled situation. I looked around at un-wed mothers who were on welfare. Their children were always dirty, runny-nosed, and whiny. I'm not saying that is true today, I'm sure there are some good moms, but where I lived, I didn't see any. The mom's were always with different guys living sexually active lives, and I knew deep down in my heart that I was not capable emotionally and financially to care for a baby. And since I grew up without a good father, I so desperately wanted this child to have that.
I was torn up until I gave birth on what to do. Any mom wants the little baby that she has carried. But a mother's love also wants what is best for the child. Afte I gave birth, they came with the adoption papers and asked if I wanted to sign them or if I was going to keep her. All alone in that hospital room, I silently cried out to God. "Lord, if you want me to give this baby up for adoption, you'll have to help me sign the papers, because I don't know what to do. (continued in the next post)

 
At 8/22/2005 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stifling the tears that were ready to burst forth, I signed the papers. They came and took them. Immediately I got up and went to the nursery to try to catch a glimpse of her, because I had not seen or heard anthing. They had put me out with ether as soon as she was born to shield me from that I guess. When I got there, she was not there, they had already moved her. Knowing I had made the right decision, I pushed any emotions down about her, because since I gave her up, I didn't think I should feel anything. Those feelings would erupt in tears a few months later when I had too much wine.
About 3 years later, I was married and had 2 daughters of my own. When my first daughter was born, I became saved and filled with the HOly Spirit. I would pray for my baby girl that I had given up, that she would be safe, happy, and healthy. While driving with my two daughters one day, I kept thinking about the daughter who was adopted. I stopped and wondered, why is she on my heart like this. I began to pray and listen to what God would say. The year of her birth was what came, and I realized she would be 18 soon. I knew it was time to tell my daughers because at 18 the children can find out who their biologial mom is. I said, "girls, I did something when I was a teen and please, please, don't do this because it's not right. I got pregnant out of wed-lock which is against God's word, but I gave her up for adoption so she could have a good mom and dad." I then explained that she would soon be 18 and may try to find me. They were excited and wanted to meet her. Months came and went and I was disappointed that she hadn't come, but understood at the same time. Years later after praying to God to make it possible for us to meet, if I needed to find her to explain why I gave her up. That it wasn't because I didn't want her, but because I wanted the best for her. About 6 weeks after praying that, through some miraculous events involving her family and my family who happened to be living in the same area, we found each other. I was told when I first gave her up that she was in the capitol city of our state which is a very big city. But all the time she lived right in the vicinity of my brother and his wife. God is so awesome! She looks more like me than my other 2 daughters, she has some of the same little mannerisms that you think would come from being around someone, but I guess they are in the blood. Today she is a happily married mother of 3,and her adoptive mom is so very sweet and understanding. So by me making a sacrifice of love, it brought untold joy to a couple who desperately wanted another baby but couldn't conceive. And now with our wonderings answered, Gwen and I have a peaceful joy in our hearts.

 
At 8/22/2005 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is forgiveness for any who have had abortions. Those babies are dancing happily in Heaven with Jesus and forgive their mommies for ending their lives. I do understand how fear, being alone, and abandoned can make you want to not even bring a baby into a hateful world. But there are many who want children.

 
At 8/22/2005 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, sounds like Eli went through some rough shit. I'm glad that he's safe and sound back in Kansas, and glad that he and all the folks in the Guard are dedicated to their duty (even if the politicians mess things up).

It sure doesn't seem that strangers hijacking a thread to refight the culture wars are very relevant to Eli or other returning Iraq vets.

 
At 8/22/2005 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly, but that first person was trying to compare abortion to what the soldier had to do and that is trying to promote their agenda at someone else's heartache.

 
At 8/23/2005 7:21 AM, Blogger The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Thanks for reminding me that Oklahomans are psychos, everyone. It is psychotic to suggest that a woman must inconvenience herself to become a parent, unprepared; even if by "become a parent" you mean nothing more than carrying a pregnancy for nine months for everyone to see-- loss of social status, family abuse, loss of job (since healthcare options for a person too sick or too weak to work because of a complicated pregnancy are few). It is wrong to demand that women give up their lives in ways that men are NEVER asked to do, simply because you think that quantity of life is more important than quality. You are not being asked to like the idea of abortion-- you are being asked to respect women who choose not to share your view on the value of breedership.

And on the other hand- I'm sorry to my fellow liberals who suggested it, but there is no comparison between killing the baby in that girl's arms, and terminating a fetus. As he indicated by his nightmares, the fact that he was forced to do so clearly haunts him every night. I am sure it would haunt me as well, even if that 8 year old had come at me with murderous intent, as we often saw in Vietnam.

I'm sure this solider, like a policeman here in the USA, did not have time to consider whether or not the gun was unloaded. We are occupiers in a land that does not wish our presence-- everything must be presumed as a threat. Perhaps instead of throwing our own moral perspectives at this guy like our own version of ammunition, we could simply sit back and listen to what a person who has seen it first-hand has to say, from his heart.

Blaming each other for being patriotic/unpatriotic, liberal/conservative, nonbelievers/believers, and so on, is to miss the real situation going on here. This guy had a real story and almost no one commented on it-- you were all too full of your own prejudices and preachings to look at his pain, to understand what it takes out of someone to fight for this cause, however legitimate.

You can not speak of family values and then ignore that this war is taking a heavy toll on the families of those we asked to serve in it. You can not speak of moral authority and then ignore the moral burdens we are placing upon the young men and women of our nation, fighting an endless battle in a hostile region that has not been pacified by ANY military force in over 1300 years. You can not speak of empathy for their sacrifice, when you do not even seek to understand before you speak.

 
At 8/23/2005 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Athiest,
Did you read the prayer by patriotic believer. The best comment on this site.

 
At 8/24/2005 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold.
On.
A.
Minute.

An eight year -- 8 year old girl -- is clutching a baby on one arm. And then she then raise a weapon with the other.

This is a threat that requires split second decision to kill?

Folk, eight year olds can barely lift a revolver, never mind aim it, or, god forbid, fire it accurately at a target. Especially with a baby clinging on.

It is a nightmare. And in real life the nightmare spooks him with his family.

 
At 8/24/2005 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forget or are ignorant of the fact these children are taught at early ages by the leaders, how to shoot, bite heads off of snakes, and many other gruesome acts. Don't blame the kids, blame their leaders. And don't blame our soldiers. You probably would have done the same in his circumstance.

 
At 8/25/2005 11:53 AM, Anonymous Elias said...

Bite heads off of snakes?

What are you talking about?

 
At 8/25/2005 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to www.journeyman.tv to read documentary on how children are trained for war

 
At 9/02/2005 2:21 PM, Anonymous Cougar said...

Semper Fidelis. You people seem to forget what real war is. Here's a fact none of you seem to know about. Remember the 1st Gulf War? Do you realize how much combat the US has been in that Clinton never told ya about? Somalia, Haiti, CAR, Bosnia, Sierra Leonne, Liberia, Kosovo and the list goes on and on. I am a 100% disabled veteran and I was not in either Iraq War. I was in all that shit in between. Before you pass judgement on this young soldier, imagine yourself in a fighting hole or standing at a checkpoint and a 5 year old shoots at you. If you still think you wouldn't defend yourself, then come on down to my neck of the woods and I'll let my 6y old daughter shoot at you. She doesn't miss either. You do what must be done to survive. Imagine your buddy getting killed by a hand grenade thrown by a 5 year old. Happened personally to me in Africa. Sorry to say, and I hated to do it, but at that point, age becomes a mute point. I've seen kids firing mortars, RPG's and AK 47's.

So next time you wish to jaw flap a bunch of bullshit at a combat veteran, think about your life ending at the hands of a "kid" and if you're not willing to stand there and give your life up, RIGHT NOW-AT THIS MOMENT, then shut up because you are nothing but a spineless liar.

 
At 9/13/2005 2:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not about the soldier being right or wrong. Of course noone wants to kill a child. Our young men and women are faced with terrors that only someone who has been there can understand. The real issue here is why was this young man even faced with making this decision? He will obviously be tramatized for the rest of his life. It really isn't even any of our places to judge his decision. What we should do is to find a solution to this war. No matter why we are there or
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