A Soldier's Journal
Editor's Note: The following is a brief excerpt from the first two pages of the journal/manuscript that Staff Sgt. Darrell Griffin Jr. kept during his deployments to Iraq. It was an ongoing project that father and son shared. Griffin Sr. provided a copy to U.S. News. Much of Griffin Jr.'s writing was later lost when the Army erased his laptop's hard drive after his death.
I am attempting to create an account of two tours of combat in Iraq as an Infantryman. I am trying to make sense of a world that I had never known until the first time that I had to kill a man. A world where men wanted to kill me and a world where friends didn't just move away but died violent deaths on the field of battle.
I was an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) prior to coming in the military in June, 2001. I worked on the mean streets of Compton, California and knew what senseless dying looked, smelled and felt like. With all of the attenuated emotional, psychological and spiritual trauma that has come with seeing death and dealing it out, I have also been plagued with the unanswered questions that our government is asking itself concerning solutions for the complex situation that we have put ourselves in.
With no clear strategy politically, the consequences have a direct effect on how we, as the sword of our government, engage not only the "enemy" but also how we engage the various political/religious blocs in this complicated world of intrigue and shifting loyalties. As of late I have started to wonder whether or not we are killing insurgents or merely combatants fighting each other in a "war of all against all." At this stage of the war, I choose not to use the word "insurgent" as a description of who I am trying to kill.
If nothing else, this attempt at a book will hopefully put to rest the demons that I have courted by killing and living in this chaotic world for two years. I want anyone who reads this to remember the anonymous tens of thousands who have died as a result of being caught in the middle of the storm created here when we chose to invade this country. Is this a moral attempt at redemption or a political, clinical description of my experience here? I do not know.
This being said, I will give an account, in the most broad terms, of the people of this country that I have spoken with and what they feel the answers are to the life and death situation that they face on a daily basis....