He starts off with:
“When I joined the Marine Corps, I knew I would kill people. I was trained to do it in a number of ways, from pulling a trigger to ordering a bomb strike to beating someone to death with a rock.”
And moves on to:
“But one day in Afghanistan in 2010, my patrol got into a firefight and ended up killing two people on a motorcycle who we thought were about to attack us. They ignored or didn’t understand our warnings to stop, and according to the military’s “escalation of force” guidelines, we were authorized to shoot them in self-defense. Although we thought they were armed, they turned out to be civilians. One looked no older than 16. It’s been more than two years since we killed those people on the motorcycle, and I think about them every day.”
Here is my response:
The innocent people on the motorcycle that you killed are thought of every SECOND THEY ARE AWAKE by the people who loved them. And there are many times EVERY DAY when they cry over their losses. Your “suffering” is incredible tiny in comparison to theirs.
As to your question “Was I right or wrong?” my answer is: IT WAS WRONG.
As to the statement “the only people who can forgive me are dead” that is nonsense. There are still plenty of people who are alive in Afghanistan that you can seek forgiveness from. Maybe one day, someone will shoot two people you love in the streets for no discernable reason, and then you will have the opportunity to forgive them.
And there is no justifiable reason for America to participate in other wars. Wars are immoral, hideous, and unnecessary. To believe otherwise is to be brainwashed in my eyes. Our citizens do not need a better understanding of what happened to our troops, what they need is a better understanding of the consequences of war on the people who are the victims of our wars. They are the people who live there in the warzones. They are the ones who get the bombs and the poisonous aftermath dropped on them. They are the ones who bury the dead in the place where the shooting, killing and bombing happened. And it is likely that half of them are children.
Finally, asking a person (who is paid by US taxpayers) what they did on their job is not asking about an intensely private matter. Taxpayers have the right to know what you have done while they were paying you. I would like to suggest that you write it all down, include photos if available, and then had it out to taxpayers who ask. Maybe write a book and give any profits to the Afghan people.
You are correct in that you do have a duty to respond. We all do. Not all of us are guilty, but we are all responsible. And your actions will not be in vain. One day, this nation will stop such useless violence on others and ourselves, or we will perish from the earth.