If I knew that war was gonna be this bad, I would have never signed up for the military.
Too late now.
In the year I have been in (I'm currently stationed in Kabul), I have seen more death, more heartache, more destruction than anyone has a right to witness.
I have lost several of my closest comrades, have had to kill civilians (even women and children), and have come close to losing my life myself, more than once.
What I have seen, smelled, tasted, touched, heard will remain with me for the rest of my days ... that is, if I ever get out of here alive or in one piece ...
The latest incident resulted in the deaths of several people because they took me by surprise. It was the enemy. When you see the enemy, you aim, shoot, fire. It's that simple. I didn't care if the enemy materialized into a family of four (a man, his wife, and two small children, ages 3 and several months; the younger one was just an infant): I just wanted them dead. I didn't expect them, so I reached for my weapon ... and fired.
The satisfaction that rushed through me as I watched them fall to the ground was glorious. But only for a second. Not long after, guilt took in. Also fear.
I had broken one of the rules of the Ten Commandments ("Thou Shall Not Kill"). I also would probably be charged with murder, not once, but four times. I would probably end up in the hoosgow or even in a lot more trouble than that.
Now I see the people falling to the ground in my mind, over and over again. I can't get the image from my mind, no matter how hard I try. I didn't want to kill them, but one cannot trust the enemy; you don't know what they are capable of, even the little children. But a baby?? What did the baby ever do to deserve getting his head blown off by a weapon ... MY weapon????
I shudder as to think what my future might be like. I know I will never get a job because I will have a permanent mark on my record. I will probably end up on skid row, for all I know.
I remember when I was a child, my brothers and I would play war with the neighborhood boys, and it was fun, blasting our tommy guns, wearing our pretend pith helmets and military garb, pretending to vanquish the enemy. We used to do it evey weekend. It wsa fun because the enemy could get up or defect to the other side, and all was well when the "war" ended.
Not so easy now. For one thing, the enemy cannot get back up if they're shot at. If they're dead, they're gonna stay dead. Or hurt, oftentimes badly. And oftentimes, we end up being the ones being shot at (or killed, as were several of my buddies: I saw them die, right in front of my eyes.).
I have been seeing a counselor about what I have been going through, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good. I am still plagued with the nightmares. O, these horrible, goddamned nightmares! I know I will be messed up for the rest of my life: no treatment, no medication, no therapy will touch what I have experienced in this war!!