I am not a war monger. I hate the words “war”, “conflict” and “combat.”

By Gus Bode

“From the Other Side”

I am not a war monger. I hate the words “war”, “conflict” and “combat.” When I hear those words, I think of the many friends I have made over the years. Friends I have sweat with, shared triumphs and devastations with. I have held my friends close as we cried over tragedies, and bought the next round when we had a reason to celebrate. Friends I have rolled out with, before the sun was even close to coming over the horizon, on a 30-day field exercise to hone our skills. This is what I think of when I hear those words.

Yet, the time has come for what we trained for. The last resort for when diplomacy fails. When the call had come to go, I knew that I had taken my fellow soldiers in hand and trained them to the best of my abilities to perform under the stress of combat, and survive.


I remember sitting out on the tarmac of Ft. Campbell dressed in my desert camouflage, my vehicle tied down and ready for airlift operations in the years following Desert Storm when the Iraqi government was making troop movements in violation of UN orders. Both my troops and I had our chemical masks and atropine injectors close at hand, ready upon a moments notice to pull them out and use them if subjected to a chemical attack upon landing. I know these things.

But even in the midst of all this knowledge, I know that our soldiers are willing to go, to fight for a cause. Our soldiers are some of the best trained fighting forces in the world. Why do we train so hard–For nothing less than survival in a combat situation. Every time you get killed in training, is one less overlooked item that might get you killed in a real conflict.

Could we have waited another three or four months while Hans Blix played another shell game with the Iraqi’s? Of course we could. Could we have kept up the embargos and sanctions the UN imposed that hurt no one except the Iraqi people? Sure we could. Could we have petitioned the United Nations for yet another resolution that could be violated like every other resolution passed concerning the disarmament of Iraq? Why not? Because we have declared enough is enough. To paraphrase an old folk song, “How many resolutions must a country violate, before the world finally gives up?”

Well, we have had enough. Unlike France or Germany, Iraq does not hold a large monetary debt to us which might not get repaid if we invade. Unlike other nations, we are not losing a large influx of capital from illegal arms sales if we invade. Unlike other nations, we declare with the highest law of the land that the security and safety of our citizens is one of the key responsibilities of the government.

Yes, we will take casualties, that is a given. I hold my breath every time the news reports that there is another coalition casualty, waiting to see if it is someone I know. But the soldiers know we are over for a two-fold purpose:First, to remove a serious threat to the populace of the United States (that whole providing for the common defense as mentioned in the constitution) and secondly to free a populace from the grasp of a murdering, raping, torturous regime. If that is not a just cause, then why didn’t everyone protest Bosnia?