Friday, November 10, 2006

Sergeant Willsun Mock - A Salute

We've probably all watched a fair amount of stuff on TV about the fighting in Iraq and are, perhaps, experiencing a certain degree of emotional burn-out. But yesterday, I turned on CNN towards the end of a piece involving an interview a young soldier, Sgt. Willsun Mock, from Harper, Kansas.

A fresh young good-looking bloke - auburn hair, chestnut-coloured eyes, freckles - you could still see the boy in the man. He was a certain classic American type, something of a Huck Finn. But also everyman.

Though quietly spoken, he seemed clear and articulate. He understood his point of view, but with no trace of arrogance. There was also a sensitivity and trauma that did not suggest weakness. Just the unspeakable all around him. He said the war had changed him and, though he didn't elaborate much, I understood it had allowed him to connect with the inner self truth, in a clear and direct way. It's the thing we usually spend a life-time trying to achieve. The horror of war had accelerated this process for Will.

When asked why he was going to stay in the army, he said without self-aggrandising calculation:

It would break my heart to see one of my brothers in the military serving in a place like this. I would much rather myself suffer than one of them, and they have kids to think about, and I'm a little young for that right now.

He was posted in Iraq in 2004 and involved in the Falluja offensive, and been redeployed in August 2006. He was being interviewed during this second tour of duty.

Will Mock was killed by a roadside bomb on the 22 October, in eastern Bagdad.

I burst into tears.

The event has affected me more than any other of the war. And in a more general way. Like that photo of the young girl running naked down a dirt road in Vietnam, her clothes and skin burnt off. So I'm not interested in how this may be used in the debate about US or Australian involvement. It just tells me about the vile fucking insane waste of war. And that not much has been learned by anyone since the monstrocities of World War One, and the pronouncements around the time of the Versailles Treaty about 'The War to End All Wars'.

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