What I’m writing isn’t exactly a support of the current Gulf War in Iraq, but more an unburdening of despair that I have felt for about 20 years. It’s about the inevitability of this war. How it had to happen. How it was fated to happen. And why George W Bush had to be the President to lead us back there.
First, I need to explain a bit about Nemesis. Some would call her a Goddess of vengeance, but that isn’t correct. She is is the one who brings the scales back into balance, who restores the natural order, and deals out retribution for evil deeds and undeserved good fortune. There’s a powerful curse that says, “May you get what you deserve.” Nemesis gives you what you deserve. That’s a much scarier concept than vengeance. I feel our current economic troubles are Nemesis trying to bring us back into balance for all the undeserved good fortune we have experienced. Likewise – as I watched video footage in real time in February of 1991, I knew that we would be getting what we deserved for the evil we had just committed.
My job in the military was normally a very sluff one. I was a military broadcaster. I wrote, shot, and edited the news, was the point of Contact for the Spanish media, and did an afternoon radio show. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm military broadcasters, like me, went into the gulf region to cover the war and to provide the major news outlets with pool footage. One of our other tasks, which at first I loved, was to take a satellite truck out to the front lines and show troops recorded messages from their loved ones and to record a message back. If Private Smith’s wife had a baby, the local TV station in their hometown would record some footage of baby and mother and satellite it to us. We would find Private Smith and play the message and allow him a first glimpse of his baby. We would then record a message from Private Smith and satellite it back to his hometown TV station and they would play it for mother and baby.
What I didn’t count on, when I started doing this, would be the reaction from the troops. I was a female on the front and these young men thought they might die any day. Plus there were fewer senior (and experienced) NCO’s than there should have been. I started sleeping in the back of the truck with the doors bolted, despite the health problems this brought on due to heat, and the two other broadcasters with me took turns guarding me. The ugly rumors of female medical personnel being raped didn’t seem like such “isolated incidences” anymore. These men are supposed to be my brothers and the thought of harming your own medical personnel violates one of the strongest taboos in the military. You are supposed to fear the enemy, but women in the military sometimes fear their comrades in arms more.
After I served my short tour in Desert Storm, I went back to Spain. Back to a base that was receiving and processing women returning from the Gulf. Women who were injured, pregnant, or ill from being sexually assaulted. They were being sent to Germany. For Psych evals. I learned later many of these women were convinced to not rock the boat during a war by pressing charges and then they were discharged from the military – a practice which continues today. Is Nemesis taking action on this, too? Or, since the incidents of rape are still escalating, is that something more to look for in our future?
I was back at my regular job which included receiving video from the front and relaying it to Germany. This was raw footage and almost none of it was pretty. I watched our troops push into Iraq. I watched as we encouraged Iraqis to rise up and over throw Saddam. We made a promise of support, if they rebelled. After all, everyone knows America helps those who yearn for freedom. So some of the Iraqi people believed us and they did rise up against Saddam. President George H W Bush, at the strong urging of his UN Allies, decided that we really couldn’t help them after all. Our mission was done and we needed to leave. And so we stood by and allowed Saddam to massacre those people, mostly Kurds in the North, who were stupid enough to trust and believe that we would help them.
When I say we stood by, I say this literally. We still had units and aircraft in the area. They were begging us for help. I watched the footage and knew it was happening right as I watched and I will never forget it. I will never forget it. Just like I’ll never forget huddling in the back of a truck, pissing in a bottle so I wouldn’t have to leave the safety of the locked truck to go to the latrine. The latrines, at night, had to be avoided by women. Or forget the looks on the faces of traumatized women who would be further victimized by the chain of command. Betrayal all around.
Because of all of this, I knew we would be going back to Iraq. While everyone else was celebrating the successful end to the war with so few casualties, I was already wondering how long until American blood was spilled so that we could receive what we so richly earned in those moments of betrayal. We were going to get what we deserved and the longer it took the worse it would be.
I believe we were fated to go back to Iraq to balance the scales – our betrayals on one side of the scales and our blood on the other side. That it was inevitable that George H W Bush’s son would be the one to lead us back there. I think it is no coincidence that many of the young people fighting in this war are the children of those who fought in the first gulf war. People like me, who stood by and watched it all happen.
My only child is entering the military this winter. I’m very proud of him and I support his decision, pleased that he wishes to serve his country. He will be an Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician – he’ll disarm or blow up bombs set to harm his comrades. They told him to expect to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and I’m sure he will be. I’ve prayed to Nemesis and begged Hekate for purification, yet I wonder, will he get what I deserve? Will it all come back to that damn video of blood and betrayal and lies that I can’t forget?