Blog Entry

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

Posted on: January 23, 2009 12:34 am

The one thing that irritates me more than anything, is how some people can demonize our troops.  They see in the news that a soldier shot an unarmed civilian, and assume that this soldier (and all soldiers) are murderers without taking the time to consider why something like that may happen.  Picture this:  You're a 19 year old private first class, barely a year out of high school.  This is your first deployment and you have a girlfriend back home who you plan to marry when you get back.  You've been in country for two months, and have been attacked several times.  Two weeks ago, your good friend was killed by a suicide bomber, so you are understandably jumpy.  Today you are manning a .50 cal. machine gun at a security check point.  Hundreds of cars pass through your checkpoint, and nothing has happened.  Then, you notice a car coming toward your position at an unusually high rate of speed.  There are signs in English and Arabic warning drivers to stop and wait until they are called forward, but the driver ignored them.  You signal him to stop, but he keeps coming.  You point your gun directly at the driver as a show of force.  Still no response.  Your mind is racing at a million miles an hour now.  Your thinking maybe he cant read, and he just didn't see me.  Keep in mind that this is all happening within 5-7 seconds, so you have no time to lose.  Either you fire, or gamble with your life and the lives of every one at the checkpoint, and hope this guy is a good guy.  You decide to fire, the driver is killed, and the car rolls to a stop.  Later that day, your command determines that....there was no threat.  Oops.  As far as the media, and human rights groups are concerned, you're toast.  You fired without warning and killed an innocent man.  Never mind that you followed the rules of engagement, and the driver made no attempt to stop.

Now consider another scenario:  Your the same person.  19 years old, girlfriend back home ect...  This time you're looking for a weapons cache in a Baghdad neighborhood.  You are conducting a house to house search and on the third house, your team leader is shot, but not severely hurt, although it was enough to shake you and every one else up a bit.  Four houses later, your rush into a room and are immediately confronted with an angry man, who rushes you.  With less than one second to deem this guy as friend or foe, (remember you are shaken up from that fourth house down)  you determine that this man intends to harm you in some way, and you fire your weapon, killing him.  Once the house is declared secure, you can tell that this man was not armed.  Once again, you were forced to make a split second decision, and you were wrong.

Can you honestly say that you would have held your fire in both situations?  Do you still say this soldier was wrong,and deserves to be punished?  You say that it was clearly over the top to open fire?  Would YOU bet your life on it?  That's basicly what some of you expect our soldiers to do.  I can tell you that it is better to shoot and be wrong, then to hesitate and be wrong, because when that happens, some one is going to die.  I think I could live with shooting and being wrong, but I would never forgive myself if I hesitated and one of my friends died because of it.  Better them, than us I say.  That is how you must think if you want you survive  in combat.  Better them, than us.

Category: General

Since: Nov 22, 2008
Posted on: March 24, 2009 12:02 am

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq


Thanks for the thoughtful post.

It's the nature of warfare that mistakes will occur.  Look at the friendly fire incidents in which our troops kill our own in error.

We should all thank our brave defenders, past and present, for all that they sacrifice to allow us to live the freedom that many seem to take for granted.


Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: January 28, 2009 6:04 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2009 12:49 pm

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

What a great blog post I agree with everything you said and it makes me sick that people and the media judge our soldiers and cast them in such a poor light more often than not.  These brave young men and women should be commended for their actions and should be celebrated as heroes in the truest sense of the word

Many people look at an action without considering the events that led up to that action. People tend to forget that this truley is a life and death choice and not just some overused metahpor on the sports field of "do or die" for our favorite team

I salute ALL of our servicemen and women serving both at home and overseas and I pray for each and every one of them and their familes that have sacrificed so much for all of us

Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: January 23, 2009 11:03 am

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

Agree 100%.  The same thing can be said about the police force in many cases.  Its hard to condemn until u've spent time in their shoes.  The media is just always out to make a story.  Since the war is disliked, anything that can be twisted to the negative will make the nightly news.  Good bless our troops and make it home safe and sound.

Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: January 23, 2009 10:45 am

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

I have 2 sons that serve in the military along with some good friends.  The one thing that those on the outside looking in need to remember is that we didn't set the rulse of engagement, the enemy did.  We're merely playing by the rules that they set.  To do anything less is suicidal and stupid.

Since: May 2, 2008
Posted on: January 23, 2009 12:54 am

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

My buddies lives ar more important to me.  I'm not saying that I would not have remorse, just that when it comes to going home, I'm not about to let a suicide bobmer get in the way of my ticket home.  That's all I'm saying.

"them or us" is an unhealthly mentality.  Period.  We're all people.  In the end there is no them, there is only us.

It's easy to say that when you dont have to worry about getting blown up.  Put yourself in their shoes.  It is a very cold thing to say, but there is a grain of truth to it.  It's our survival instinct kicking in.

Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: January 23, 2009 12:46 am

Friend or foe? Russian roulette in Iraq

Better them, than us.

I was with you until this last statement.  I appreciate the pressure that the troops are under, but "them or us" is an unhealthly mentality.  Period.  We're all people.  In the end there is no them, there is only us.

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