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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

IT KEEPS ME WARM |

October 08, 2008

IT KEEPS ME WARM
Name: Cheese
Posting date: 10/8/08
Stationed in: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: Binghamton, NY
Milblog: Cheese's Milblog

Due to the current state of the GWOT, especially here in Kabul, we tend to forget that this is war. Don't get me wrong, I believe in helping the Afghan people as much as possible, but our (and by "our" I mean the military's) primary mission here is to seek out and kill the people responsible for the attacks that occurred seven years ago, and those that would aid them. We have a saying here that helps a lot of people through their tour: "embrace the hate." Now, you can say whatever you want about hate not being an adequate motivator, but it is best way for me to make sense of my role here. Even in Iraq, when American troops were killed you had two choices. You could listen to the combat stress briefings, talk about how senseless their deaths were and just check out for a few days, or you could embrace the hate that burned in your stomach, get back on your truck and go find and kill those responsible.

Seven years ago today, I was in my high school math class when I heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I was watching live as the second plane struck. I am thankful for having that image to carry with me, as a reminder of all that I felt in that moment. I readily admit that more than fear, sadness or even concern, I felt unchecked rage and hate. Those feelings have not been tempered or dissipated. I carry them with me, just as I carry two KIA bracelets, to remind me of what I'm really doing here. No matter how many blankets or bags of rice I hand out to the well deserving people of Afghanistan, I will always be ready and willing to close with and destroy all who attack us, because that, above all, is my job and my mindset.

Comments

Yours is not to question why
Yours is but to do or die

War never changes

duuuuude...I am nothing like you except in the way you feel....and I say right on. Carry on. Hunt those bastards down like a mongoose hunts a cobra.

I put hate as a wasted emotion, if you need the spur use it, but killing in cold blood seems to work better - cool focus and pin point precision. Take care out there and hate seems to burn the owner as much as his targets -- kind of like White Phosphorus...

Hate is something to get over as soon as possible. I'm not where you are, doing what you do, but I know that much. Hate makes people do stupid things, like blow up the World Trade Center. If you are using hate as a logic system, there is a problem. Hate ties you to and makes you part of that which you, uh, hate.

It is a peculiar fact that those farthest (geographically)from the events of Sept. 11, feel the greatest rage. Those of us who lived with the smell & smoke for weeks feel sadness rather than hate. Nothing good has come out of those horrible events, only more hate ricocheting around the world. Hate is by its nature destructive. Please be careful out there.

I'm not trying to be overly dramatic, but I am a New Yorker...but the smells I carry with me every day, and the bracelets I wear are a result of what hundreds of pounds of explosives did to my buddies on August 9th, 2005.
If you take the time to read my posts, you can see that I do more humanitarian aid...with a smile on my face...than most in theater.
Contrary to what you may have heard in the states, most unchecked violence, for which I have no tolerance, is a result of cowardice, not rage.
I can and do turn it off, but it's mine to carry because I won't forget.
Thank you for your concern, and I genuinely take your comments to heart, but as this is out of the context of the posts on my other blog, I figured you deserved some background.

In Iraq we used the phrase "embrace the suck". Interesting spin on that phrase.

cheese, i was too saddened to write yesterday. like earl and others above,hate doesn't belong in combat. it screws up your judgement,reflexes and spreads to others.i don't have bracelets.i do have my 1st cav brother,legless,burnt,bleeding badly begging me to kill him as i held him in nam feb.1969 rpg attack forever in my mind.be careful out there. bopdun

Whatever works for you. You're the one who has to get through it. FWIW if you were a real hater, you'd snap hard at those who judge you.

'Nuff said.

hate and killing. exactly why war will only lead to more war.

They say those that can't teach. Apparently those that can't also judge the soldiers that will. Do what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

"All that hate is going to burn you up kid" "yeah but it keeps me warm".

I'm left-leaning, but understand and respect your articulate views. Keep up the good work, and come back to us when it's done.

Thank you for carrying the weight of doing what's necessary, so we can enjoy our pretty and noble thoughts about "hate" and "love". Most of us have no clue what it takes to defend a country and keep it safe, so thank God for those who do.

Dear Cheese,
Thanks for the well-thought (& written) reply. My Sandbox reading is sporadic because of work, but I will read your blog & pick up the context that I clearly need.

YOU ARE GREAT!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND BE SAFE

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