What War Is

Mar 23, 2012 by

    Your first war is filled with things you’ve never done, never seen, never heard, never smelled. It’s a different continent, and everyone who goes there feels like the first white man in the Congo.  It’s the world after you fuck your first girl; you were a virgin, and now you’re not.  That first morning after you’re not sure what’s changed, but there is something fundamentally different, even if it’s not visible and no one else can see it.  You know something has changed. Some think war is an experience – something bad that happens to you like a father that slapped you around too much but then you grow up and move on.  War isn’t a time period in life, it’s the end of your old life and the beginning of life after,...

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Mar 18, 2012 by

Crossing into Iraq in that never-ending convoy felt like being caught in a river’s current, we flowed across the border in an inevitable stream of war machines. In the afternoon light of the desert we poured through breaches in the berms and tank trenches on the Iraq-Kuwait border, passing long-abandoned UN border posts standing a useless watch. Further on, as darkness fell, we began to pass the GOSPs.  Saddam had ordered them set on fire, so we drove through the jets of flame spewing from the earth.  At the closest we maybe got within 200 meters of a GOSP on fire, maybe as far as 400 meters. That may sound like a long ways away, but the heat was so intense it felt like my face was melting. The hot air blasted through the open...

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My Introduction to War

Mar 14, 2012 by

We all fear the unknown, and mankind’s fear of death comes from having never experienced it.  Ask the few people who have been certain, utterly certain, they were about to die, and I think you’ll find men and women who can ponder their own end without the paralyzing fear so many have.  Not that we necessarily want to embrace that ugly bastard, but we’ve shaken his hand and we’ve huddled together in the same fighting hole. It’s not that we’re more brave than the rest, but for some of us the fear has been worn away from long familiarity. Or maybe we’re just used to it always hanging around.  I’m not saying fear is a friend, but I think I’d be lonely without it. In March of 2003, a few days into the invasion of...

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