Drill weekend last weekend… so I worked a lot leading up to it. I was pretty tired before Thursday came. I had gone to see Soriah that night and the next morning before leaving for drill. I had a good time seeing her, as usual, and enjoyed simply being around her. There was another awkwardness between us the next morning, a misunderstanding of sorts, where emotions and misunderstandings all alter perceptions. At least this is true of me. What I love about her, though it is taking me time to get used to and to incorporate, is how precise she is in her language. Vagueries and generalities are rare with her. We had a talk over breakfast and my admiration for her grew. I’ve said it before, if not written it, that I think I am at the beginning of something special here.
Drill weekend was good. We were out in the field on the Oregon coast and it was rainy and wet. We did classic infantry tactics, patrol, ambush, react to ambush, and so forth. I am not used to dismounted (on foot)_patrols and I need to do more of these to get some muscle memory, to be able to react without thinking. Yet there was one time when I had spotted a guy with a rifle and without even blinking I raised my rifle and shot him (we were firing blanks) and realized that I didn’t seek to ascertain if he was civilian or hostile. Yet I can’t be too hard on myself in this… it was a training situation where I knew what was happening, that we were being ambushed, and that there were no people playing the part of civilians out there… I knew everyone else was a target. Yet my quickness of reaction, while good, does need some more consideration of civilians. Perhaps I did great on the exercise but with my guilt over the firefight on Route Copper in Baghdad I feel more pressure to adjust and hold my fire. I am second in line at the Company to get promoted. Our squad leader has just left for another armory and so far I am going to be the new squad leader. I am, as usual, doubtful of my abilities to do a good job. Yet this will only push me to do better. I want to take care of my guys, ensure they are in good spirits and health, and to lead them efficiently. I am going to try to get one of them started in school this fall also.
Speaking of fire and warriorhood. I have a love of ancient warfare. I went in to buy Harry Potter yesterday and saw a book on sale for $7 on warfare in the ancient world. I had to get it. I am somewhat familiar with tactics and methods of the Romans, the Greeks, and the Celts and so forth. There was a legion of Romans that had pushed across the Rhine and were slaughtered by the Celts. I forget the timeline, but it wasn’t pretty. The blood and gore of the dead was said to be knee deep and to flow like a river. Such was not altogether uncommon in the ancient world and it is no stretch of the imagination for some of the writers of the Bible to use such imagery as ‘blood as deep as a horse’s rein’ in their writings. The Roman soldiers captured by the legion were tortured for sport during the feasts the following night, celebrating their victory over the Romans. The bodies of the soldiers made a long wall along a road used by the Celts. It was a Celtic custom to take the heads of particularly powerful enemies. The taking of heads is not uncommon in the ancient world.
Now, flash to today. I have a hatred for those cowardly insurgents that beheaded the likes of Nick Berg and other civilans like him. Cowards. Yet in the armory someone had posted some pictures they found on a website of some U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, their bodies mangled and beheaded. I looked at the pictures, letting them burn into my brain, and feeling the warrior in me rage inside. Ares yelled his bloodlusting cry for war within me. I wanted to fit magazine into rifle and to strap my fighting knife onto my thigh, afix grenades and go kill… mercillessly and with extreme prejudice. I wanted blood. I wanted death to be my guide.
Yet, strangely, I did not feel hatred. I feel hatred for their doing such to the civilians, yet I did not feel such here. I felt sorrow and muttered a prayer that the soldiers died as quickly as possible and didn’t suffer, that perhaps they died in a firefight and their bodies were mutilated afterward. Yet I found myself examining my own internal attitudes and feelings at why I never viewed the Celts as evil, even though they tortured and beheaded Romans (of whom I have admiration for as well) and yet I called the insurgents themselve evil because of such. What was the change and why the difference? Was it a dehumanizing attempt made by my psyche to allow it to kill more easily? I’ve referred to the enemy combatants by such names as ‘dirty’ and ‘hadji’, a derogotive term used widely in the military today, and yet I find myself able to see them as human… still. Human or ‘subhuman’ (as the website that posted the pictures called them) I am still able to kill… with rifle, knife, or grenade, and yet if I… a soldier who has killed them, and been targeted by them in the past, and witnessing pictures of what they have done to my comrades (again, a silent prayer for the soldiers), can I grow out of knee-jerk reactions toward all groups that do not succumb to the will of the U.S.?
It is odd and I do not expect others to understand or empathize with how I can understand, feel no hatred toward, and yet still be able to kill someone. Perhaps this gives me an edge in combat… that I wont allow my rage to guide me to kill everyone I see and to allow tactics to develop according to the need instead of just pushing the fight and perhaps getting killed or killing wrongly in the process. It is the feeling of a cold killer that is evident as much as the humanitarian as well. A paradox. Yet as I search esoteric teachings, magical practices, science and psychology, and everything else… I find that there is generally a meeting of opposites in things.
I know what my therapist would say. She would say that I am exhibiting a complexity of character. Maybe. But as I develop this complexity I need to develop my moral compass more and more. Tough being that I do not follow the book that so many others do. The good thing, and hard thing, about witchcraft is that while it seems incredibly flexible in its application of ethics, it places a great amount of flexibility upon the practioner. It is the existentialist dilemna all over again. This theme crossed my mind last night as I walked to my truck after closing the restaurant. What if our consciousness was a by product of evolution… (for more, read the great book “Emergence: Complexity from Simplicity”… or something like that).
In a bit I am going to go to Salem and give blood. Then it will be off to see Soriah tonight. I’ve got a double tomorrow and then two days off when I am going to go see the Simpsons movie with her. It’ll be a blast. I bought the new Harry Potter yesterday and started it last night when I got home. I am already 200 pages or so into it. So far I like it a lot.