Friday, March 18, 2005

The Lost Kid

I wish he was the only one, but I know there will be others. He was only a kid, lost not in the physical context, but in the confused, trying to find my place in the world context. He was seeking acceptance from his peers, from his god, and maybe even from himself. He’d been misled by deceitful cowards who saw an impressionable kid willing to buy into their evil belief’s. He was an expendable pawn in a battle that his side can never hope to win. He was a 14 year old kid who blew himself up outside of our FOB, killing four Iraqi soldiers and wounding many more.

Driving a car packed with explosives, he drove up to a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi’s. We will never know if they were his intended targets or not, but once faced with the prospect of being discovered with his killing machine, those soldiers became his target by default. He wore a ring around his finger. This ring wasn’t a symbol of his unity with another person or group. This was no ring to mark the shared interests or desires of others. It was a ring of death, representing everything that is evil in this world, everything that we and those Iraqi soldiers are fighting against. This ring is worn by few and fought against by many.

The ring in which his finger had grasped was on the end of a wire connected to a bomb. When his confused brain ordered the muscles in his arm to contract, he became nothing more than a cowardly murderer. The ring, once pulled, set off a sequence of events that may have lasted an instant, but they will reverberate throughout eternity. The wives and children of those soldiers killed will suffer the eternal agony of losing someone they love. The boy, and those that he served, will forever suffer the tortuous wrath of a hell with unmatched fury, a hell that holds no sanctuary for their desperate pleas of relief.

When the ring was pulled, the bomb and every muscle, sinew, and bone of the boy’s body was thrust outward in a thousand directions, carrying shrapnel within its vicious path. This shrapnel and every cell of this boy’s entity ripped through the soldier’s flesh, their unarmored bodies unable to repel the very evil emanating from the boy and his bomb. Guards stationed at their post said that they could see three of the soldiers being thrown over the concrete barricade dividing the road. Others said that they could see the bright flash and feel the concussion before hearing the blast. Limbs, blood, and other body parts were said to be in abundance on the street. Some of the body parts, possibly from the boy, came to rest inside our FOB.

I’ve said in the past that I have no desire to kill another human being, but I fear I would relish the opportunity to cut the hearts out of the cowardly fiends who persuaded this kid to do their evil bidding. The kid is not without blame either. He should be condemned as well for his part in such a cowardly act.

Some demented souls may say that his willingness to die was an act of bravery. Being willing to die for something isn’t an act of bravery. Bravery is having the will to live and fight for something you believe in, defying the naysayer who sits rotting on the sidelines of life. Those Iraqi soldiers were willing to live and fight for something we believe in. They were willing to live and fight for something good and died in the process. They should be honored for their bravery and sacrifice. I am proud to be fighting alongside them.

At the time of the blast I was in one of our shower trailers shaving. The sound of the blast was unmistakable and shook the trailer, despite the distance of its location 400 meters away. I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if one of us were to meet that boy at an earlier time. I wish I had been able to meet him and talk to him and become his friend. I could have shown him a picture of my wife and her beautiful smile. She could have sent him gifts and shown him the goodness that all of us have in our hearts for these people. I wish he could have met my driver, who with a smile on his face and an easy-going demeanor, would have quickly won his friendship and trust. We might have gained his acceptance and he could have easily gained ours. We might have reached past his low self image and made him realize his importance in this world. Some of them may not realize it yet, but each and every one of these children are important. The best part of my job is helping them come to that realization.


Blogger Toni said...

Michael- that was truly a wonderful story. I don't know how you come up with the words to express your sorrow and anger at what this boy did but then to wish you could have saved him to live a better life. I am sorry for anyone who loses their life because of these sick murdering terrorists. I do hope through your efforts with the support of the American people we will succeed in changing many of these 'boys' for the future of Iraq and the Mideast.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Huntress said...

He was a child in the wilderness that lost his way...he found hatred instead of love...death instead of life....sorrow instead of do they get to be so angry so young?

To those Iraqi soldiers who paid the ultimate price for democracy, and freedom...they shall live forever in our hearts and my prayers are with their families.

Stay safe soldier boy!

6:14 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

The odds are pretty good that you've already deflected one or a few such; in any case, you can only do what you can do, and carry on carrying on.

But teenage brains have limited capacity to resist maipulators of group dynamics and frenzies and simplistic emotional appeals. It's pretty hard to protect all of them from their own impressionability.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...


It is a deliberate and organised effort in the Middle East to teach children to want to grow up to be a bomber. Of course they don't exactly say that.
They dress and groom them to be "Martyrs".

Here is what one young child had to say:

“I will make my body a bomb that will blast the flesh of Zionists, the sons of pigs and monkeys. I will tear their bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they will ever know.”

Of course that applies to us too.

Papa Ray
West Texas

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a psychiatrist once say that adolescence is a form of psychosis with a good prognosis. Maybe the prognosis depends on the people surrounding and influencing each adolescent.

pax Christi,

11:50 AM  
Blogger Army Wife said...

What hell war is......I cannot imagine...

3:20 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

What a horrible way to use children. I know it's VERY common in some countries... and it's so sad. As someone else said, they are groomed, pretty much from day one, to hate americans and want to destroy "infidels." I've heard of instances when children were playing "behead the infidel!" :-(

Praying for you all!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Papa ray -- thanks for that link.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have read "The Lost Kid" with so much emotion. I couldn't imagine a better way to describe the unsound war against all of us that the terrorists have declared. You have my full support. I, as a concerned Western citizen, am particularly proud of the job you US Soldiers are doing in Iraq with so much bravery for so little recognition.
Please hold on, and go back home soon and safe.
Thank you for being what you are.

May God continue to bless America.

Reggio Calabria

5:18 AM  
Blogger Token Asian said...

To use a child to fight is cowardice at its worst. Sacrificing children for a cause is never right. So many people have died in this war so far... how many more must die? I pray that the fighting will soon end.

1:56 PM  

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