We’ve been hashing and rehashing the armed
conflict in Iraq. Most of the folks here in the Eatemup know
someone involved with Operation Iraqi Freedom or know someone who
has a relative that has been deployed there.
"I still think this will be a quick war," said
LeRoy. "I’ve watched all the news channels, and from what most
commentators are saying, it shouldn’t last too long. Say we’re
just too big and too well equipped."
"Well, you must not be watching the same
channels I do," answered Tiny. "I’m not sure how long it may last.
One person will say it will be a quick war, and the next expert
will say it could be long and drawn out. One says we won’t have
many casualties then someone else will predict there may be many.
Half the time I don’t know what to think or believe."
"I know it’s causing a lot of concern around
the world, and as I understand it this is the first time the
United States has ever declared war and then actually attacked
another country without real overt provocation," declared LeRoy.
He was so proud of the term ‘overt provocation.’
It was evident both LeRoy and Tiny were very
concerned about this conflict and its outcome. As most of us are.
It’s very difficult to be neutral in a situation where young men
and women of several countries are willing to put themselves in a
position for possible harm.
"Why do these people do what they do Eddie?"
asked LeRoy. "It doesn’t seem natural. I know I’m glad we weren’t
at war when I was in the service. I don’t know if I could have
done what our military are doing now."
"Well, in one sense you’re right LeRoy,"
answered Eddie. "It takes a great deal of training to instill the
courage for a person to run toward danger when their instinct for
self preservation says ‘Don’t. Stay here. Stay down.’ None of us
know how we will re-act in combat until we’ve been there."
Eddie continued, "You see so many young
military personnel telling us how they’re ready and will do what
ever it takes to get the job done. Their adrenalin is pumping,
their hearts are beating, and their confidence is as high as it’s
ever been or going to be. Then bullets begin whizzing by your
head, bombs and mortars are falling all around throwing up dirt,
and debris, and causing deafening shock waves. Then your friends
begin to die. And you watch them die. You hold them as they die.
And all that ‘my country do or die,’ or ‘my country, love or leave
it,’ goes out the window. All you want to do is live, and that’s
when you do what ever it takes. Whatever is needed to stay alive
so you’re able to return home to be a normal person again."
"I agree," I said. "There’s just not any glory
in combat. When you encounter the enemy up close and see the fear
in his eyes, you realize he’s looking at the fear in your eyes.
Both of you are humans locked in a battle of survival. Were it
were not for these circumstances and you were passing on the
street you probably wouldn’t pay any attention to each other. But
here and now one of you must die so the other may live."
"But don’t you think that your country has to
go to war sometimes?" Tiny wanted to know. "I just feel that there
are some situations that are unacceptable and you either tolerate
them or do any and every thing possible to make a change."
"Yeah, I think that’s true," responded LeRoy.
"But I just hate the thought of war. So many times there are no
real winners or no real losers. Except for a lot of people who
died were innocent of the overall cause or the war. Like the war
we’re in now."
"You know you’re partially right," answered
Eddie. "A war is normally a bad thing. It’s a lousy way for two
countries to settle their differences. But there is a big
difference between a war and a battle. In war there are many
battles. The more battles, the more deaths there will be on each
Then Eddie said, "For the good of us all, I
hope to God this is going to be a battle and not a war. If we can
get by with one battle, it will be a blessing." Peace.