Reddit Gold highlights the most useful and educational content on Reddit as found on r/AutoBestOf.
Today’s post is from u/ski_busser who shares his experience serving in Iraq.
I understand what you mean. A couple of things I would like to share from my experience in the military and specifically in Iraq.
I was the typical, impressionable young kid from Smalltown, USA. Population ~900. Coal town. I knew I always wanted to “give back” to the world.
Like the 7 kids in my graduating high school class, I went to college. During my second year of college, 9/11 happened and I felt to compelled to help somehow. I quit college and I joined the Army on February 22, 2002. At the time. it was the only thing I knew to do.
I wound up in Iraq immediately after training and it didn’t take me long to realize it was all a sham. About 3 months in, the stories I was told of why we were there, didn’t jive with what I was seeing.
Long story short, this experience opened my mind to empathy, the thirst to question everything, and a realization that I was lied to in order to advance imperialism and control over oil interests.
I’m not sure why a lot of people on this post are calling it propaganda or saying so many negative things.
This was simply a reminder to me, that although the world or your own government tells you to hate another country or group of people, you should be empathetic and try to learn something about what what you’re being told to hate.
Before I arrived in Iraq, I believed all Iraqis were barbarians and couldn’t speak English. That couldn’t have been any further from reality. Most of the Iraqis I met were wonderful! I would post more pics here, but I would probably continue to receive death threats in my inbox for sharing a photo of me and a Kurdish girl that I interacted with and changed my perspective on the world.
I am glad I went through this experience in the Army, but I would never want to do it again. Sometimes it takes a challenging event, to really open your eyes up.
Since 2004, when I returned from Iraq, I have traveled to 36 countries, in search of knowledge of their cultures and ideas.
This post was simply meant to say, people aren’t so different. We all like to laugh, love, eat, dance etc. But if it makes you feel better to be a hateful person towards me, for sharing the moment in my life where my cognitive dissonance was shattered, go ahead. Your words don’t really bother me.
And I absolutely DO NOT support the endless wars in the Middle East. The war in Iraq was pointless and I tell people everyday about it. The only good that came out of it for me personally, was this moment.
There are some really angry and hateful people on Reddit. That’s for sure. I can only hope you never have to experience a war, before you become a little nicer.