I haven't been blogging much because there's not really much going on in my life. Much of what I'm doing these days is routine, taking care of the illnesses and so far, minor injuries of a helicopter squadron. I'm not flying CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) so all of the war stories I experience are either second hand or through CNN. We have had some broken bones, not of a serious nature. Biggest culprit? Riding bikes and getting in fist fights with walls. If you're coming out here, remember all of the gyms have punching bags, walls out here are all made of solid concrete and are therefore dangerous, unless you are Superman or the Hulk, a wall is always going to win.
Even though we're deployed to a war zone, most of my Marines have not seen any action except for the aircrew flying and that action has only been muzzle flashes. Three trips out here with 2 different squadrons and what does that add up to? Zero discharges of any of our personal weapons either by accident or on purpose. Unless they came they came from the grunts, 95 percent of us haven't even looked a bad guy in the eye.
Last month, all of the troops were required to go through Values Training to reemphasize our core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment following the following the fallout from Haditha. Every single thing they went over are values that are supposed to be ingrained in us being members of the United States military not to mention that it should be just common sense and decency for most human beings. For my unit, we first experienced Haditha like most of you, through CNN and other news channels, then though official messages about personal conduct. We don't have any contacts with the locals so there's little or no chance for my guys could be involved in any sort of act that could be labeled an atrocity. Just because we haven't been outside of the gate, doesn't mean that we won't though.
My thoughts on Haditha? Finish the investigation and throw the book at the guilty parties. We're supposed to be the good guys and after spending 12 years of my life in the military, I have yet to run into anyone who would tolerate behavior like that. I wouldn't do it nor would I let anyone around me do it. But on the same token, punish the guilty parties. Don't find scapegoats all the way up and down the chain. How can you blame the commander or a SSgt who wasn't there because there's a psycho hiding in the ranks? Maybe if there is a past history of that fellow or squad doing that sort of thing and there was no corrective action. Considering part of our job could involve shooting people, of course we're a lightning rod for a horde of wanna-be serial killer sociopaths enlisting with itchy fingers just waiting for the moment when they can snuff someone and not get in trouble. Iraq is turning into a breeding ground for those wackos, ten years ago, you had to go through a lot of work to find footage of a beheading, now they are all over the internet. Whether it's us or them, this kind of behavior is evil! Do you think your god appreciates you lopping off the heads of these tied up captives for disagreeing with you? If he does, that's not a religion I want to belong to and would have no problem snuffing out under my heel.
My point is that there are enough bad guys out here without us importing more and as a general rule, US troops don't kill innocents.