May 6, 2006
Written by a fellow scout in the Shadow Recon Platoon of 2-63AR BN,
one repeatedly rubs their hand lightly across a rough surface, the hand
will become numb to the sensation and to any sensation of equal or
lesser intensity. This holds true for the mind. If one constantly
exposes themselves to extreme situations, then all sensations there
after of equal or lesser intensity offer no stimulation.
heroin addict must constantly increase the dose because the mind has
grown tolerant to a lower dosage. A cocaine addict must snort more and
more to obtain the same rush of endorphins that was felt the first
time. This constant increase to obtain a desired effect is met with
graduation to a more intense medium or fatality. However, a higher
dosage or different medium does not always exist to take the addict to
the next level, and even if he were to continue to utilize his current
choices, the supply is not always infinite.
When the supply
diminishes, one is left numb to all sensation, and hence follows an
increasingly desperate situation. For the soldier; war is his drug. His
mind grows an addiction to its ravenous stimuli from abnormally
stressful situations. His time within this medium is finite, and when
it comes to an end, he will find it hard to deal with his unwanted
addiction. This is the tragedy of all those who have fallen to the drug
of war, myself included.
Life becomes dull and frustrating.
Normal situations make one feel a sense of anxiety, of desperation, as
if constantly hoping for a sudden horrible rage to sweep across and
take normal right down to hell, where things are violent, and gruesome,
and stimulating, and the adrenaline flows. Where veins bulge and the
mind sweats, and purpose is abundantly clear, to fight, to win, to love
the drug of war. But it is no more.
I feel the phantom left
behind by this drug milling around in my mind, and I hear its fateful
whispers, begging me to take it back to where the drug flows endless. I
beat this demon down everyday, and come to grips with my reality. That
I am a shelved piece of machinery that must now perform tasks it was
never meant to. This is life for those whose purpose was unique but is
no more. This is life through the eyes of a weapon of which the machine
has no use for anymore.
Normal people can
sit in front of the television for hours, hypnotized by its glow. I too
am hypnotized by the colorful piece of technology, but this only makes
me think of things that have come to pass. I become mesmerized and soon
feel myself drifting into deep thought, where I reflect on the time
when watching a movie on my dusty television was a temporary escape
from the madness that surrounded me. I always go back to many times
where I would be watching television, and my mind would suddenly be
ripped out of its blissful hypnosis.
Some barking doomsayer
telling me I had to go exterminate a hoard of insurgents that were
armed to the teeth and sure to totally annihilate all in their path if
I did not get my ass up from that television and get my war on. It is
not only my mind, but also the television itself that can sometimes
remind of me of yesteryear.
The news-ticker that flutters at
the bottom of the screen is like a scoreboard for the big game going on
3000 miles away. I'll see a familiar name of a town or city, and
quickly be sucked through a tunnel, and put right back in the turret of
the war machine, cruising through the streets of the before mentioned
town. Sometimes my mind gets confused as to why the couch has suddenly
been turned into a nylon strap, suspending my body in my armored devil.
I might even be so lucky as to have a scent receptor in my nose
short circuit and suddenly send the smell of shit-filled dust into my
mind. Those sort of high quality trips are few and far between, but
none-the-less, noteworthy experiences. Not even the machine that has
been said to be responsible for the degradation of youthful
intelligence, the television, can keep my mind far from where it wants
Driving presents its own unique set of experiences. Everyone at one
point or another daydreams while cruising down the highway in their
vehicles. Perhaps it is the flash card animation of lane markings that
streams from an infinitely distant focal point or the gentle hum of the
engine and the wind rushing by. But unlike soccer moms wondering if
they are forgetting a child, or young teenagers imagining themselves
performing the songs on the radio, I find myself imagining those long
dusty desert highways that seemed to go on forever.
highways who’s beautifully barren surroundings looked so familiar to
the photographs taken by some robotic probe on Mars. That foreign
planet that seemed so desperately inhospitable. Just as I’ve made peace
with the vicious beauty, and temporarily looking through this strange
perception, I am suddenly surrounded by the angry inhabitants of this
barren world, who want nothing more then to rid their world of these
dastardly villains. This is all a hallucination, and I suddenly find
myself drifting onto the shoulder of the highway, perspiring slightly
and clinching the steering wheel. I find myself completely in shock,
and desperately try to rid my mind of these foul memories.
It is not just the constantly resurfacing memories that plague my
psyche everyday, but the alienation I feel. My experiences and my grasp
on the world separate me from the people around me who are strangers to
the hell their fellow human beings are capable of. Who speak of war as
if it is their entertainment, as if they are residents of a city who’s
team is nearly undefeated on the road.
I am alienated from
these people who buy me drinks and praise me for my service to their
country. Who thank me for all those dirty Arab bastards that I ghosted
in the name of freedom, democracy, basic cable, and free trips to the
salad bar. I am not these pseudo patriots who go on to tell me how they
would’ve been in the desert with me, if they didn’t have such a
dynamite job, or a bad knee, or a promising future at the local
university. I hate them for their gross ignorance, as they declare they
would kill without hesitation.
I envy them for the fact they
unknowingly avoided a completely screwed existence and I loathe the
reasoning that those who never went wish they did, and those that have
wish they hadn’t. How those who were there that never quenched their
urge to kill bullshit themselves silly in order to make up for the
sense of inferiority that they have imposed upon themselves and how
those who did wish they never had.
I often find myself at the
bar, briefly separated from my newly found friends who are strangers to
my world, and begin to deeply miss those that shared my experiences.
The ones that match me in all categories, the ones whom I could have a
conversation with and didn’t try to make up for their regrets by trying
to share my experiences that they deem glorious.
I miss the
bond we had, "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today
who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. Be he ne’er so vile,
this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed
shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their
manhood cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us…" It only
aggravates me further to know that William Shakespeare would have made
better company then those surrounding me now.
No matter what I’m doing, or where I am at, nothing can keep my mind
from reeling for that drug once more. It cries out in agony and makes
me wish it never happened, when in reality, all my mind wants is more,
more, more. To return to that time when the skills bestowed upon it
were so easily applied to the tasks at hand. There is a sliver of light
that breaks through the fog, that being that I wasn’t always this
instrument of war. My mind and body was merely transformed to suit the
needs of the powers to be.
Before I was the soldier, the
killer, the destroyer of worlds; I was innocent, and naïve, and
unknowing of the horrors that my fellow humans were capable of. I was
proud of the soldier and praised him for every enemy he killed, and I
lavished in the thought that I too would do the same. I told myself
that I would be there if it weren’t for the fact that I was too young,
or still in school, or desperately in love with a girl.
this picture of the past is only just that, a picture. As a lethal
sword was once nothing more then metal in the earth, I was once but a
simple boy before I became a soldier. Just as that sword will never
return to the earth, I will never again be a simple boy. I can only
hope that by voicing how my experiences have changed my life, I can
minimize the number of people that have to go through the same, and
those that must, do so for a good reason.