Twenty years ago, I was sitting in Mr. Carey’s history
class going over the differences between constitutional and absolute
monarchies. He got called out of class for a couple of minutes, and when he came
back, he told us in a deadpan voice, “So there’s been a terrorist attack in New
York. Both of the Twin Towers were struck with pirated airliners, one of them
just collapsed a few minutes earlier, and there might be other hijacked planes. You
now understand whatever that I understand.”
That was the minute I knew I would be fighting. Coming
from a household with generations of military service, and understanding that I lacked
the dedication to succeed in college, there was no other practical option.
Through several bouts of dumb luck, I made my way. I fell
into location as a scout in an air-borne cavalry squadron. I got transferred to
another cavalry troop weeks before we released and went to Afghanistan’s.
Paktika Province rather of the now-legendary
Camp Keating in Nuristan. The transmission on the loaner Humvee I was driving.
got a hiccup, it changed the order of march, and another truck team captured the.
IED. I shattered my fibula parachuting into a mud hole and spent my second.
Release running the radios in the troop operations.
There wasn’t any skill involved in getting away five years,.
8 months, and four days in the Army fairly unharmed. A great deal of the guys.
I served with didn’t have it so great. They went to Keating. They combated at Saret.
Koleh They captured RPGs, or IEDs, or got shot by snipers, or were burned.
The war’s lastly over. Provided that I saw a video.
on Twitter of Taliban-flagged Humvees barnstorming around my old outpost on June 29, it’s safe to.
state things didn’t end according to plan. We ended it about as fecklessly as one.
could, and now we need to handle the second- and third-order impacts, or as.
Chris from Northern Direct Exposure would say,.
These people didn’t simply come out of nowhere.
A lot of people that I know who saw severe action and took.
brain injuries act like this now. A great deal of those same men got radicalized simply.
like Copeland and think a great deal of that wackadoo Q rubbish. When we got.
back from Operation Enduring Freedom VIII (“ The Ocho!“) in 2008,.
several of my buddies were having severe difficulty. Some were the men that.
Jake Tapper discussed in The Outpost.
Total psychological breakdowns, awful decision-making, and little to no thought.
as to the consequences of their actions.
Fear, delusional thinking, near-instantaneous escalation.
to violence– classic outside symptoms of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and a.
lot of psychological ailments. Did you understand that battle injury can.
bipolar condition? Neither did I, and in my youth I was too oblivious to.
recognize what was going on. Such things didn’t even calculate until my friend.
was identified with bipolar (likely from putting fist-size holes in bad men.
for a year directly with an enhanced fight rifle).
We went out and did a bunch of now-meaningless things on a.
Sisyphean crusade for 15 months, and when I finally saw my pals who.
went to Nuristan after being separated for so long, a decent portion of them had.
come back crazy. One time, a whole carload of my friends drove to Amsterdam, returned.
with a trunk full of drugs, got captured, and then all I heard from them for the.
next month were these tirades that, in hindsight, were as logical and meaningful.
as a Trump speech about how they “had a strategy to leave it.” I kid you.
not, they pulled exactly the same move that Copeland drew in court when.
they entered front of the squadron leader.
Crazy stuff like this kept happening throughout the squadron.
After we had all left the Army, I kept tabs on everyone by means of Facebook.
Over the last 11 years or so, I’ve been enjoying guys go through a laundry.
list of hazardous life events: meteoric marriage/divorce cycles, in and out of rehab,.
and homelessness. (I was homeless for a minute there in the winter of 2017– it.
happens to the very best people.)
A bunch of my men spent about a month locating our.
former very first sergeant, who had a nervous breakdown and vanished in Los.
Angeles on a meth bender. A former squad sergeant got captured in the nick of.
time in a bath tub in New York City with his wrists cut open. Another man I deeply respect.
passed away when his liver finally blew out from his attempts to drown himself in Jack.
Daniels, which, I might add, I found out about since Jake Tapper tweeted the.
news (I had to inform Tapper through a mutual pal that it wasn’t suicide).
My best friend, Jayme, eliminated himself in a drunken fumbling match with his better half.
as she attempted to take the gun away, which was a week after another good friend simply.
shrugged his shoulders and put the gun to his head at the shooting range, which.
was a week after another pal had killed himself (technique unknown). The.
self-destruction didn’t end there. A year later on, it was followed by John, who,.
after getting all of his rank removed and kicked out of the Army for a series.
of DUIs, chose to leave a final Facebook status– Screw all of you, roughly– then took all of the tablets from all.
nine of the bottles the VA docs prescribed.
I still keep in mind assisting Jayme clean up the open hole in.
John’s arm after an IED. I’m the only individual left who does, because everyone.
else in the aid station that night is now dead.
3 days after John passed away, I invested a few hours talking his.
buddy out of eliminating himself in the middle of the Arizona desert over a.
joint. Put down the weapon, get the spliff. The previous decade has been a.
modernistic headache, and far deadlier than both combat implementations. But.
what’s even worse is that a lot of the men who weren’t preoccupied with.
leisure pharmacology or eliminating themselves were busy elsewhere.
In our quest for justice and rejecting terrorists a safe.
haven, we achieved neither. We’re the person at the supper party who declares to.
remain in the import-export service but in all reality is a drug dealer– except.
instead of bags of cash and mountains of drug, we exported world-shattering.
ultraviolence and imported the really style of extremism we sought so difficult to.
To a regular individual, all of the memelords, centipedes, and.
chan group urchins appear like a sick joke. To numerous of the individuals who got.
their bells sounded a couple of times, spent the pivotal moments of their lives shooting.
at people, seeing their buddies pass away in miserable and worthless ways, and.
who returned from the war into an increasingly alienating online society,.
these groups were legit.
They had similarly distorted senses of what can be considered.
funny, and provided a sense of belonging. The harmful vetbro lifestyle pumped up.
their egos, they threw on T-shirts with crazy.
slogans, and sleazebag.
ideologies provided something on which to focus their seething inner.
Whereas the vets with whom I voluntarily associate nowadays.
invest their time assessing the things they did and attempting to find out and.
grow from the experience, these individuals dove into the next excellent war and.
preparing to shed yet more blood in the name of the most recent outrageous.
conspiracy theory. When Donald Trump came along, they were already Three.
Percenter chapter presidents (one of my former associates), Proud Boys (an.
uneasy variety of my former pals), or just plain cynical and wanting.
to view everything burn down.
They were primed to storm the Capitol and do all way of.
What scares the hell out of me is that I comprehend them.
because, in weak minutes on dark nights, I feel those propensities– those urges to.
blast authority, the apocalyptic anger at the world for all the.
revolting things that occurred in Afghanistan and buddies I needlessly lost,.
the indignation that any concept of God would permit such dreadful things. Such.
limitless anger that I can feel the fuse linking me to truth pop, and the.
only thing that keeps me in check is my large drive to be a decent human.
So when I see insurrectionist scoundrels like Copeland do.
completely crazy things like that in a court of law, I see my old roomie.
raving in divorce court. I see Steve-o flipping out at our squadron commander.
I see my friend on wife number six. I see a course that I am thankful every day.
that I did not take a years back when all of this looney-tunes things started.
occurring among good friends from my time in the service. I see people who discovered.
something to feed their inner demons, and in so doing I gaze into a dark mirror.
at the individual who I might have been– a cryptofascist hate-fueled degenerate bent.
on taking down the very structures and society he testified protect, and with.
every fiber of my being I oppose him.
The war in Afghanistan appeared like a war without end even.
back in 2007 when I first showed up in-country. People have been describing it by the title of Joe Haldeman’s.
1974 impressive sci-fi book, and to those ostensibly familiar, it is.
suitable. Combat operations in southwest Asia, in all regards, were just.
the opening skirmishes. If we continue to postpone any effort towards resolving.
this national illness of radicalization, it plays right into their hands. The.
longer we wait to take an extensive audit of how we reintegrate returned.
veterans, along with deal with the physical, mental, and moral injuries.
generated by this too-often-forgotten, incomprehensibly and immorally dragged out.
war, the more recruits these degenerates will find in the hearts of disaffected.
veterans, and the higher the threat that January 6 will happen.
again– next time with much better special impacts and much more bloodshed.
I feel no pity for those who have actually come under the sway of.
this insanity, and neither should you. Those who have actually broken the law will pay.
for their criminal activities. We need to focus on prevention. Now. Or the Forever War will.
have only just started.