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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted December 1, 2011 by
    SofGangsta
    Location
    San Francisco, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Stories from the Iraq war

    Though not killed by its shells, almost destroyed by the war

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     SofGangsta was deployed in as an Army infantry officer in Iraq in 2007, and believes that war with the country was unnecessary and avoidable. 'Sadly, almost everyone who was there has struggled and will struggle for possibly the rest of their lives (for their own reasons),' he said. 'The families who lost someone there will never fully recover. And the soldiers who came back wounded have to deal with something I cannot imagine. I ask that the media not forget that this is what the Iraq War really cost.'
    - jmsaba, CNN iReport producer

    I was an infantry officer in Iraq in 2006-2007. We operated south of Kirkuk, running patrols and gathering intelligence during the day, and conducting targeted raids at night. It was hopelessly futile because for political reasons our hands were tied behind our backs and we could not do what needed to be done to actually win. In the end, we came home, with far fewer people than we left with, and we accomplished absolutely nothing.

    When I came home the first thing my wife said to me was that she was filing for divorce. So ended an 8 year relationship and sent me spiraling into despair and hopelessness. The war didn't kill me but coming home almost did.

    In the last few years I've begun putting my life back together. I became a devout Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist and am only here because of the practice. Many of my friends were not so lucky. Some took their own lives, others submitted to the allure of self-destruction.

    This war was a terrible waste of all our lives. As Josey Wales said, "We all died a bit in that damned war." I hope one day I am no longer bitter and resentful about being sent over to fill corporate coffers and execute the vendettas of politicians.

    The attached picture is my platoon - the Black Sheep.

    To all those who did not make it back: rest in peace.
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