a Someone should care, maybe not you....: ...I may have been mistaken. A "war" story. .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

13 September 2005

...I may have been mistaken. A "war" story.

Early one evening in late 2003 a call came over to our office in the “Facility”, the Interrogation/Detention center on Bagram Air Force Base.  Seems there was a guy in the CSH (Combat Surgical Hospital) that needed to be screened to see if he was a candidate for occupancy in our building.  I got the call and took one of our interpreters and off we walked.
It turns out this fellow had walked up to an AMF (Afghan Militia Force) checkpoint and started shooting at the soldiers.  They quickly returned the favor with more accuracy than he had, then they picked him up and called for the US.  We picked him up and flew him to Bagram where he was patched up.  He was in recovery when I came in to see what his story was.

He was a young kid, said he was 17 which looked about right.  He was an Afghan but had been born and raised in the refugee camps across the border in Pakistan.  For the feast of Eid at the end of Ramadan a mullah had come to their mosque to preach a sermon.  In this sermon he told the men gathered together there that they had an obligation to go and fight the infidels (us that is) and the religious traitors that served us (the Afghans that accepted the new order).  He promised them blessing form heaven if they killed and American or an Afghan soldier, all the usual blandishments.  This young kid felt the spirit.  He went home and the next morning took his father’s Ak-47 and walked into Afghanistan.  (Yes, it is that easy for armed men to cross the border)  He went up to the first Afghan military checkpoint he could find and started shooting at the first soldier he saw.  This soldier was in the process of cutting wood so they could cook their dinner.  Our budding Jihadist turns out to be a lousy shot and the soldier dropped his ax and grabbed his AK and returned fire.  With much better effect.
So now our fine young friend was lying wounded, scared and alone in a hospital being run by the accursed infidel.  He was obviously a bit confused as to why we hadn’t killed him.  (My interpreter incidentally wasn’t helping; he was new and was reacting rather hostilely to the story.)  I got all this information from the boy and then asked him one last question, “Did you really think you would have gone to heaven for killing a man while he was chopping firewood?”  The boy paused, looked around, and replied “I may have been mistaken.”

The sad thing, I suppose, is because this kid was caught in the act of attacking coalition forces he stands practically no chance of getting released.  I wrote up my report and recommended him for a guest pass to our facility once he had healed up.  (Despite his callow youth he potentially had info we needed to get.)  Now if it were up to me we should have followed in the steps of the old British or French colonial armies and drafted the kid.  Put him in the Marine Corps and send him to Korea or something.  Let him really learn about Americans.  He was young and made a stupid mistake.  But we don’t do that kind of thing anymore.  So this kid will probably spend the next several years, maybe the rest of his life sitting in a concertina cage.  

No shit you were mistaken……

4 Comments:

Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Unfortunately, some mistakes are more costly than other.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Edge said...

I wonder, do we go after the guys that are convincing these kids to do this stuff? It seems like they would be the ones we want to go after.

6:54 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

Yes we do. The identity of the Mullah was one of the thinks we wanted to talk to this boy about.

12:17 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Wow. That was a heavy piece. I don't know how to reply to that.

9:06 PM  

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