I Forgive You and My Apologies

Recently by Andrew Mason: The Lives of the Occupied

A time of reflection is needed for me as a veteran of the State's war against Iraq considering we can now celebrate the official one year anniversary of American forces "pulling out". Of course, many of you reading this know there is an embassy in Baghdad the size of the Vatican, hundreds of advisors, and thousands more mercenaries to maintain its Mesopotamian outpost. Reflecting on one of the most blatant atrocities in all of history, I have realized I need to forgive those who attempted to kill me and formally apologize to the Iraqi people.

First, let it be said that I now fully understand why they tried to kill us. We patrolled your streets in 68-ton rolling death-creator (M1A1 Tank) looking for those deemed "insurgents" or in reality simply opposed to us doing this sort of thing. We sat and spied on their homes through my main gun's sight while they went about your daily business in fear; hoping we wouldn't pull the trigger. I can also only imagine being on the other side a gargantuan turret traversing, looking for something to murder. Just like the sounds of drone's flying above children in Pakistan cause them to "scream in terror", so did the sounds of our tanks. Our tank tracks ruined their farm and grazing lands simply because of our want to take a short cut to an over watch position. Either as a result of our unwelcome presence and the destruction of life and property that necessarily follows it or the events that I have just described; they placed an improvised explosive device (IED) between our old tank tracks in the middle of the desert.

During late January 2007 my tank and our wing tank left our position where we provided over watch for a supply route that was a hotspot for IED placement. Fearing we would hit yet another IED on this road, we took alternative route through the desert back to return to our command operating post for re-supply. However, we were silly enough to follow our old tracks that we had left a month ago. They were smart enough to know that we'd travel back through this area. The first tank passed through a cut in a line of hills and we followed. The 500-lbs bomb detonated, destroyed my tank, and seriously injured everyone but me. Every marine who witnessed the aftermath the destruction had no idea how we made it out alive. Of course, I was angry with the "Other" for a long time and was ready to re-enlist for the slaughterhouse of Afghanistan. Luckily, I had a change of heart and I now understand why they tried to kill us. I forgive them. If some invading force came into my backyard I, like every other American, would respond in a similar manner.

To the Iraqi People:

I am sorry for helping leave your country in ruins. I am sorry for detaining and violating the privacy of those who did no harm to me or any other American. I apologize to the children who have not grown up with parents. I apologize to the parents who have had children born with birth defects caused by our uranium-laced ammunition. I apologize for the sectarian violence and the potential wars in the future that followed the destruction of your livelihoods. I apologize for, having to learn of the State's depredations the hard way by being part of the biggest criminal gang in world history. The only thing I can truly offer you and the rest of the world is help. Help by preventing this form of massive aggression from ever taking place by changing the thinking of the American people. Maybe, they can learn something from a recent, tragic event in our own country.

The massacre that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary this past week is that event. Similar acts of terror happen weekly, if not daily, across the Middle East as a direct result of this State's foreign policy. Maybe someday, the mass of Americans will realize everyone comes into this world at their specific geographical location by complete chance. Maybe someday, they will realize that the children in Connecticut are no different than those in the Middle East.