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Mr. Hyde
April 21st, 2005, 06:25 AM
I wake up and the staring red numbers on my clock say it's a quarter until eight. I'm going to sleep later and waking up earlier. I pop my neck, back, wrists, and knees then take some pills to ease the pain I feel every morning. I turn on the comp and go for a jog. I run a few miles north to a Baptist Church and then a few miles back past my house to the other Baptist Church a few miles in the other direction. When I'm done I come back, shower, throw on some shorts, and sit down to type.

My Psyche says the pain and the nightmares will fade with time as I heal. He keeps telling me to remind myself that I was just following orders; that none of this is really my fault. Just following Orders? I couldn't accept the same excuse the Nazis gave at Nuremburg as a reason NOT to feel guilt. I keep replaying the even over and over in my head.

Helicoptered in at night, we loaded up and readied ourselves. Intel said the village was a cover for a terrorist breeding ground. As members of God's Hand, a black ops group for the US military, our job was to do the things that the rest of the world would consider morally lacking. So, there we were, about to be dropped in half a click from the village with orders to kill them and blow a weapons cache as well as capture a high level leader of the Logistics cell of a terrorist group.

I'm standing there at the door, my hand on a rail to hold myself as the pilot cuts hard to the right and I swear it's so sharp a turn that I could see the propellers cutting into the trees. He drops us off and disappears into the night. "Stay calm Alpha." We move just to the edge of the forest and observe for a few minutes, try to see if there's any sentries, any sign of possible resistance. There isn't any. So I make a call.

"Alpha one one to base. Alpha one one to base." "Come in Alpha. What's your status?" "Just outside the village. There's no signs of resistance, no signs of hostiles, just villagers. Are you sure we're at the right place?" "Location is correct ALpha." "Then maybe the intel was wrong. Sir this doesn't..." "Intel is correct Alpha. Do your job." "Yes sir."

I grit my teeth and Marcus asks, "Are we really about to do this?" I can barely hear myself say to him, "Yeah. We're about to reenact a regular Viet-****ing-Nam senario." We move in, split up, hit the corners and quiet. I snatch an old man to his knees and run a blade from his right ear to his left, deep, silent. Each of us, in groups of two, take it house by house that night. Silencers equipped, you hear that low whisps in the dark as we splatter blood on the walls. No one is spared.

The sound of bullets ripping into the children is almost too much to bear, but I'm following orders. This isn't MY call I try to remind myself. But, a hundred and eighty seven people later, there's no weapons cache, no terrorist leader, and no one left alive. We spend the next few hours digging holes and burying the children. I guess we were trying to ease our guilt. Trying not to look completely heartless. When it's all over we head to the rendevous and check out of that place. None of us says a word. We just sit there listening to the helicopter. It's only after the pilot says, "Mission Accomplished, Job well done Alpha team." that it hits home for us.

We break down. The nightmares start. Spells of crying and fits of shaking uncontrollably. We fail our psyche evaluations afterwards and we're each given a medical discharge. They called it "Honorable." We were just following orders. I tried to stay in touch with them. Marcus couldn't cope. He killed himself, Jenson and Rooper both went three shades of crazy and wound up in some holding cell in God only knows where they put people like us. The rest went off the map. Trained maniacs. I try to cope. Try to take it day by day. Try to Soldier on.
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This isn't an anti-war story.