Nothing left to give
by Craig Burnham
Sun Jan 07, 2007 at 12:11:44 AM PST
I want to share with everyone here and experience that I had the other night. I was over at a friends house, and we were having a little party. After about an hour or so a limo rolls up, and I see my old friend Andy come out. Andy is in the Army, and he just returned a few weeks ago from an 18 month deployment in Iraq. I went to high school with Andy, and we played baseball together. We partied all throughout high school, and we had some great times.
I could tell right from the second I hugged him that he had changed. He was hammered. He has been hammered just about every day since he returned from Iraq, so his best friend later told me. I asked Andy how he was doing. He said "I just got back from Iraq, how the hell do you think i'm doing". Of course he's not doing good, after an 18 month tour in Iraq i'm not sure how I would be. But he kept going. "I'm broken, I've just returned from the worst experience in my life." I can't imagine what he went through, and to be honest I didn't want to ask him any specifics. Still he kept going.
"I want to go back." At that point I nearly spit out my beer. He wants to go back. I asked him why, and he responded "I killed someone, I killed many people. I've seen shit that I hope no one ever has to see in their lives. But I want to go back. I came back here after being there for 18 months and I get no respect." He was visibly shaken. It may have been the fact that he was very very drunk, but I could still tell he was shaken. "I'm on five different medications right now, they've diagnosed me with PTSD." Post traumatic stress disorder, which i'm sure just about everyone here is familiar with, is a problem plaguing the soldiers coming back from Iraq. He went on to tell me about his lack of sleep and his vivid nightmares. But what he told me next shook me to the core.
Andy told me his best friend from the service became paralyzed from the waist down after an IED attack. He returned from Iraq to his home, to his wife, and to his child. His wife left him, and took the child with him. He was left without a job, and without anyone to take care of him. He was also diagnosed with PTSD. About a week ago, Andy's friend killed himself. Andy told me "I might be next."
This war has become more and more personal to me. Before this encounter with Andy, the war really wasnt personalized. Sure, I know a few people who went there, but I didn't really know these people. These were kids from my high school, and kids from surrounding towns that I had met on an occasion or two. But never someone that I had known well before, and someone who was noticeably different after the experience.
I'm really at a loss of words right now, but I do know one thing. It's time for us to end this fucking war once and for all. Immediate withdrawl is our only option. And we must, we must impeach this fucking excuse of a President. He has caused the deaths of over 3,000 American Soldiers. He has caused physical and mental damage to tens of thousands of soldiers. He has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. And who knows what's going to come next. But here's what I know. It needs to stop. It needs to stop now. We voted for a stop of the Iraq war on November 7th, and our newly elected Democratic Congress cannot fuck up the oppourunity to fix this.
Withdrawl needs to happen now, and then we need to impeach this son of a bitch, before more of our soldiers return broken.
Update: I should mention that Andy is a pseudonym to protect his identity should anyone recognize me or him
posted by Steve @ 3:42:00 PM