Friday, May 18, 2007

Welcome To The Suck (Iraq)

The following pictures within this post are not meant to shock. They are simply photos from the frontlines of the Iraqi war and are shown here to illustrate the reality of the war America is involved in right now.

One of my best friends enlisted in the U.S Army about 3 years ago after graduating from college. He was fully aware that he would be sent to Iraq to fight and he accepted this fate. He did his boot camp in North Carolina and was assigned to a unit in Iraq.

We kept in touch via email and he even called me from a satellite-linked phone after taking over an insurgent compound. He was on the roof of the compound over looking the Euphrates River.

He has never talked to me about regret for enlisting, but he does fully believe that we are fighting an "endless" and or "pointless" war within Iraq.

The following are photos from his time in the war before being shot through the back by an Iraqi sniper and from his subsequent re-assignment back to the front for another 15-month tour, which he is currently waiting for deployment.

Above: A picture of my friend on a walk through

Above: A shot of HQ

Above: Human remains are a normal part of the terrain within conflict zones

Above: More grim scenery

Above: A captured prisoner and what they found upon searching him

Above: The view from a sniper's scope

Above: My friend after being shot through the back by an Iraqi sniper.

Sub-Note* When the bullet entered through his back he said that he became instantly parlayed because of the trauma from the bullet near his spinal cord. The shards from the bullet exploded within his chest cavity where he has close to over 24 different fragments that will eventually need to be removed.

Above: Close up of the stapled wound and tube used to drain the wound.

After being dragged backed to a safe zone my friend was told he was not going to make it because the chopper was unable to land in time. The medic began talking to him the same he way he had talked to other soldiers that had died in front of him before. My friend soon began to fear for his life knowing that the medic was lying to him like he had done before to soldiers that were sure to die. No one ever tells you you're going to die. They only say that "You're going to be all right."

The chopper did make it on time and he was later flown to Germany for emergency surgery. He returned to Washington D.C and then finally flew back home to California where I finally got to see him again right after this last Christmas.

Above: Here he is posing with an Iraqi boy

Above: This one was just simply titled: "Failed Mission"

Above: Another causalty

Above: Soon he will be on the front lines patrolling like he is in this picture

Even after being shot and pushed to within an inch of his life the U.S Army has seen fit to re-assign my friend and his unit for a 15 month tour in the deadliest region within Iraq. His unit had a 25% death rate and sees more combat then any other unit at this time.

I know he enlisted and was aware of the risks, but after already being shot it's hard to sleep knowing that his life will be in jeopardy for another 15 months at a minimum. If the U.S sees fit to invade Iran which he told me is almost entirely certain he may not return for a few years save for a 2 week leave once every 15 months.

At this point it would be nice to know that the U.S is planning to withdraw troops from the region, but that is a wish at a best.

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