Coursework – Monologue

You know. I had two families. I had the wife an the kids, and I had my unit. I was a father and a husband. But I was also a marine. And I loved it. I loved it so much.
I just… Being a marine was easy for me… The killing. The death. It didn’t scare me. I loved that shit and look I… Whether I want to admit it or not, there were times when I would rather be with my unit than anywhere else in the world.
But Afghan changed that. After three tours, I knew it would get messy but… The lines became blurred… it was different that time. The Colonial used to scream at us, “I point, you shoot”, so that’s what I did. We followed orders regardless of whether we agreed with the shit we were doing. But that night at the mission briefing I knew that something was up. The mission was completely incoherent… It didn’t make sense. At the last moment it changed and I knew we were walking into a death trap I said.. I said to him, “I think if we do this, men are gonna die”. But the Colonial just stared back and said “I pointed. Now you need to go shoot.”… That night, before we left, Billy said to me.. He said “Ours is not to reason why, Frankie boy. Ours is but to do or die”…

It was 0400 hours when we reached the surroundings of the compound. Was pitch black with the only light coming from the moon reflecting on our M27’s. The boys… they knew we weren’t walking away from this. The terrain meant we had to go in from the north on foot. No air support. No evac point that wouldn’t get us blown to shit or shot in the head. We had nothing. It was a trap. An ambush. A suicide mission. But y’know… they point we shoot. That’s what soldiers do, it didn’t matter to them if that was gonna be the last thing we do on this earth.
The next thing I know mortars are exploding all around us and we knew we were gonna die. But I couldn’t help but feel at peace with it… because there was still a chance to kill as many enemies as possible on our way out. The ones who could stand, we just grabbed our weapons and killed. That night we fought like we never had before… we took out about 25 hostiles using close quarters combat inside the compound. Which was exhilarating honestly… But it doesn’t change the fact that we lost four men that night. four good men… four good marines.
It was a God-damn suicide mission. We were always expected to die. But not just by our commanding officers, by civilians like you…Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying. Cos It isn’t the nature of a death that upsets people, it’s how expected it is. People can accept tragedy, so long as it’s expected. This is how people like you, civilians like you can sleep at night. You believe it when you tell yourself that there is nothing you can do but, when we come back… when those men who fought for your lives, who fought for your freedom, come back home, they’re treated like dirt.
There have been missions like this where men died needlessly because of the strategies that the government deem necessary, but there are also missions where I have sent men into war knowing that their deaths will save lives.
Y’know, soldiers can’t question the..the legality or… or the morality of their actions in the moment. That’s how you get yourself killed.

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