An incident Essay

     An  incident

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     Then, I  was  a  part  of  the  US  mission  in  Iraq. I  was  stationed  at  Um  Qassar, a small  town  in  Iraq. It  was  a  bright, pleasant  sunny  morning. I  received  a  message that  on  that  day  my  duty  was  to  drop  the  base  trash  in  my  dump  truck. This  is usually  a  low  risk  task, as  no  real  fighting  is  involved  in  it. For  the  very  same reason  it  was  very  easy  too. I  set  out  with  my  driver  to  accomplish  the  task, thinking  that  the  day  will  pass  off  peacefully.

That  did  not  happen. A  very  unexpected  incident  happened  which  will  be memorable  for  me, always. As  we  approached  the  dump  site, after  a  drive  of  few  miles, we  could  see hundreds  of  local  Iraqi  people, waiting  desperately  to  eat  whatever  we  throw  off  in  the  dump  site. All  of  them  wore  a  very  hungry  look  on  their  faces, and  the mental  tiredness  combined  with  physical  weakness  was  evident  in  their  body language. I  presumed  that  they  had  not  had  any  food  for  a  few  days, at  least.

I  instructed  my  driver  to  go  slow, as  the  crowd  was  very  strong  in  numbers, and  it  takes  no  time  for  hunger  to  get  violent. It  was  a  crowd  of  minimum  of few  hundred  hungry, war  torn  Iraqi  local  people. As  we  approached  them, they thronged  our  vehicle, and  broke  the  lock  and  opened  the  soldier’s  door. I  asked  my  soldier  to  close  the  door  and  told  him  that  I  would  get  down  and  jog  on  the sides, to  take  care  of  the  mob. As  I  moved  down, the  driver  drove  away  the vehicle  and  I  was  stranded  on  the  ground.  I  was  surrounded  by  a  few  hundred local  Iraqi  mob.

I  raised  my  weapon  to  ensure  my  safety, because  the  mob, though  looking  very innocent, was  likely  to  change  its  intention  and  decide  to  attack  me  in  a  split second. I  did  not  take  any  action  with  my  raised  arm, so  the  mob  felt  that  I  had no  intention  to  start  any  unnecessary  violence.

     Suddenly  I  felt  a  hand  moving  under  my  neck, on  my  back  side. My  excellent reflexes, backed  by  vigorous  military  training, made  me  spin  around, very  swiftly. I coul  not  believe  my  eyes !!!  I  had  hit  the  person  with  my  weapon  on  his  face and  he  was  profusely  bleeding. This  was  the  last  thing  I  had  desired. It  was completely  unintentional, but  it  had  happened. The  crowd  was  also  stunned.

I  moved  back  to  my  vehicle  and  asked  the  driver  to  drive  to  the  base  to report  for  assistance, straightaway. We  got  the  necessary  assistance  and  the  task was  accomplished  with  the  assistance  of  military  police.

Once  the  task  was  over, I  was  being  ordered  to  report  to  my  Commander. The issue  was  my  hurting  an  innocent, unarmed  civilian  without  any  provocation. I was questioned  in  detail, and  I  had  to  agree  that  it  was  a  mistake  committed  on  my part. I  tried  to  explain  that  it  was  an  accident  committed  in  an  attempt  to safeguard  myself  from  the  mob, but  my  arguments  were  rejected. Perhaps  they believed  that  innocent  should  not  have  been  hurt  in  any  case. My  self  defense was  surely  erroneous.

As  a  result, I  was  fined  with  a  slap  on  my  wrist. Nevertheless, today’s  incident  makes  an  interesting  story. Perhaps  my  young daughter  way  back  in  USA, will  be  delighted  to  read  this  self  experience  of  mine.

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