Spent a little time with a vet last night, and I cannot go on without saying something about it. How he goes on with his life is the title of this piece.
He didn't really talk about what he's seen much, he didn't have to. It was written all over his face, in the figurative sense of looking into the eyes of a man who has seen thinks worse than any nightmare. But also in the literal sense as you see the scar above his eye, or the way he can't move his hands as well as he should from nerve damage due to the shrapnel in one hand and the other that was crushed. He's not a close friend of mine, I went to high school with him we may have had a class or two together. He couldn't recall if we had either but he had the excuse of having taken a round to the face and has forgotten half of his childhood as a result. Then theres the PTSD, which must be exasperated not only by the chaos in the streets, but also by the only vaguely organized chaos that is our own military. Plus the fighting within our own soldiers, he says that they don't even have each others backs anymore, then backtracked and said when shit really hits the fan they are there, but thats it. It's amazing how resilient people are, I would expect them to break long before this point. This war cannot continue, it simply cannot. No one should be asked to live like this, no one.
He is a very good friend of a good friend of mine and she filled in some of the things he didn't say to me. He's a good soldier and he keeps going back, hes done 4 or 5 tours, because its his job, but he suffers no delusions that there is anything to accomplish, that might be the only thing left he isn't suffering from. Good luck my friend
(he'll be back in Iraq in a few weeks, if you think thats as fucked up as I do then do something about it, don't pray for him, write to congress, do something, and most of all be there for the troops, just be there for them)