Here is the email I sent to friends and family following the events of that day. I am not saying that the U.S. military has never done anything wrong or bad during the 6 years of conflict in Iraq. But to think that these Wikileaks reports mean anything when isolated from their surrounding context is naive and stupid. I mean that: stupid. If you have not served in Iraq or Afghanistan, then you have no idea what happens on a daily basis there. Not even the kinetic fighting. Just the whole experience.
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5 JUN 09: Red Dragon soldier killed in action
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I don't say this to sound superior. It's a reality check for anyone that wants to judge me or my soldiers based on internet documents released by a company who has chased sensationalism and their own political agenda. Before you judge me or anyone else, you better answer the following questions. Then judge all you want.
Do you know what it's like to walk down a crowded market with less than eight dismounted soldiers, days after the same market saw IEDs and VBIEDs? Do you know what it's like to have that godawful feeling in your stomach, that something is going to happen today? Do you know what it's like to step out of your humvee and feel that blast of 120-degree heat, and the rivulets of sweat instantly breaking out and dripping down the small of your back underneath your body armor? Do you know what it's like to smell the remains of human beings hours after they were blown up a suicide-vest bomber -- do you know what chunks of people smells like after they've baked in the sun for several hours? Do you know what a person looks like after he has been killed by a VBIED and his entire body is charred black except for the intermittent streaks of red and yellow (fat)? Do you know what it's like to wonder if this time that you leave the FOB will be the last? Will this be the last time you brush your thumb against the selector switch on your M4 before a sniper takes you out? Will this be the last time you key the hand-mic on your radio before your truck is destroyed by a deep-buried IED or EFP? Will last night's phone call be the last time you hear the voice on the other end before your MRAP rolls over on some shitty mud road, killing you and everyone else inside? Do you know?