By Pastor Greg Young
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
We sit here in America, completely oblivious to the realities of the soldier in the field. We judge a man by one act of violence and presume to know all there is to know. A crazy soldier who apparently shoots his own and then himself. Over and over again, we read the story and make our petty assumptions. How could they behave like that? What evil could be going through their minds?
But what if there were told the rest of the story….
A soldier has just spent the last 72 hours on patrol searching for a high level target who has just blown up a highly sensitive building and who it is believed has plans on more destruction. This, following the previous 72 hour shift which ended with two losses of life by IED’s, one MRE and two hours of sleep if you want to call it that.
Knowing the names has made it more difficult, so to keep that at a minimum everyone is either Bob or John, or if they are particularly interesting, Oliver. It’s not for a lack of caring, but a heart can only take so much pain. There is a small band of brothers who you would die for but the new guys are all the same until they have been in country at least six months.
Having finally come in and not knowing when you are going again, with more sand in your eyes than on your boots, you tell your battle buddy you have to get a shower. He is already out. You decide that though you have heard the rumors about Iraqi troops looking for guys alone in the shower to rape for some higher level of Islamic heaven, you cannot wait. You take your necessities and make your way to the shower. You are careful to look and you circle the tent at least seven times, until finally you duck in.
The water feels great – and for once there is warm water. You finish lathering up and are almost rinsed when you feel a sharp pain in the back of your head. Instinct takes over and you begin to repel the aggressor only to discover there are six of them and you are on your stomach before you can react. The next thirty minutes are a blur of pain, blood and shame.
They leave you on the flower with the water running and then clean themselves over you. You manage to stand. It is unbelievable pain and as you pass a mirror, you notice why your vision is blurred you can only see out of one eye. You stumble back to your tent and pass out on your bed. The next thing you know, your battle buddy is waking you. “What happened to you?” he says. You mutter but nothing comes out.
“Did you go out drinking? Why didn’t you go to bed? You look like hell, you’ll have questions to answer buddy!! And so will I – what happened?” At first you think it was a nightmare, but you make your way to a small mirror in the tent used to make sure you are properly dressed for an inspection. When you look in the mirror you know it was real.
Slowly you tell your battle buddy, who is furious. “Did you see them? Can you identify them? Lets go deal with this!” About that time, your direct commander appears on the scene as your buddy has gotten pretty loud and a crowd has gathered. He motions everyone to leave. He starts to ask you questions. You give him the best details you can remember. He gives you a temporary leave and tells you to report to the infirmary. You do as instructed. At the infirmary they say the need to gather evidence. Poking and probing, they ask if you are in a sexual relationship, to determine the extent of the damage. You tell them never with a guy.
They look at each other and make notes. Next they take and begin their “rape” kit. After several hours of waiting for the MP’s show up, you are taken to a holding cell. No pictures of the assailants are presented and no drawings are requested. Later, in come two officers, one American and one Iraqi. The American has a strange way about him. He says that in the report you were quick to say you had never had a relationship with a man.
“Do you have a problem with Homosexuals?” he asks? “Did you have a fight with a boyfriend? Have you had consensual sex before?” ‘It is common here,’ you are told. The questions make no sense…you were raped and they act like it is your problem. You ask them why the Iraqi officer is there. You are told that it is their country and he is there because you accused their officers. They are very concerned over such accusations and that American soldiers have been caught lying in many of these instances. With that they excuse themselves and you are left alone.
The whole issue is now swimming around in your head. You want to just go back to your squad and head out again. “Sir, can I return to duty?” you inquire. No one speaks to you. Several more times you inquire. No response. Finally another officer appears. He has a lower rank with him. Your swollen eye is making it difficult to make things out. He says you need to sign some paperwork and then you can go home. “Home?” “Yes, in cases where there has been an altercation with foreign nationals of this nature, it is best that you are shipped home.” “Altercation? I was….well I was…attacked” you say. “Yes, we understand that this is what you believe happened, however due to sleep deprivation, dehydration and your general mental condition, coupled with your predisposed prejudice against homosexuals, we believe that this is not what you think that it is.”
Now a paper is slid in front of you. Sign this and you go home, don’t sign and you will be brought up on charges of falsely accusing foreign officers. This will require a lengthy trial and you will be turned over to the Iraqis for imprisonment. How could this be? You sign and are shipped home.
When you arrive at home you are debriefed and told you are not to discuss the incident and that you will be taking tolerance training courses and doing community service in the gay community. Your friends are puzzled by your behavior. Your wife does not even feel she knows who you are. You try to take a shower but the fear is too great to overcome.
Simply walking around the base alone becomes a nightmare. How do you tell your father, a decorated soldier, what was done to you? How do you tell anyone? How could you have let this happen? You ask yourself these things. You slip further and further away and no one knows why. But you do…you were led like a lamb to slaughter. When they should have had your back, they castrated your front. You served, gave blood, lost friends and then you were thrown to the dogs. You come home to find that the very types of perverts that did this to you now have all the power and you have none. They taunt you and make threats to you. You attempt to use the chain of command and the nightmare starts to repeat itself all over again.
Get the picture? What would you do? This is the kind of sickness that is being done to our good men. An entire generation of young men who were proudly choosing to serve their country are being destroyed by this sick resident and his regime of evil.