This week marks the 10th anniversary of the 20 March 2003 Iraq invasion, about which I’ve written an article for the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper and which is online.
Most of my words survived the editor’s discerning eye apart from one paragraph that got the chop, which was a shame as it was an attempt to inject some humor.
So, as a reward for your loyalty, dear blog reader, here is the excised text, which came after the paragraph ending with a description of how the soldiers looked out for you and each other.
“And they were never dull, ever full of surprises. On a round of the camp’s sangars one night when my troop was on guard duty, I found one of my soldiers extolling the qualities of Viagra pills he’d bought from an Iraqi and was testing out during his guard stint in preparation for two weeks R&R with his wife. Fortunately, the sangars weren’t illuminated.
My squadron’s senior sergeant major had a habit of saluting us younger officers and, as you returned the salute, with his other hand grabbing your crotch, causing you to buckle, lose your headdress, as he strode smartly on. Other than that, he was a wonderful SSM for whom we had enormous affection.”
Despite the thread of the comments about the article being mostly negative–civvies, what can you do–there was one positive note sounded by another ex-soldier in an email he sent me. He’s written a blog for the New York Times about how he learned the war had started while deployed in the Gulf.
So this 10th anniversary spare a thought for us jabbering old soldiers who can’t let go of the ghosts, as well as for, dare I say, all those Iraqis who suffered and continue to do so.