Soul Doubt

Looking back at it now it all seems to clear,
The absolute botching that was the entire occupation
And the lack of American understanding that
Drove us all to fight the enemy unseen, at a disadvantage.

Ill-prepared.

And regardless we took this obligation freely –
We kissed our homeland goodbye and went for
Foreign soil at the bidding of our masters
To fight the good fight; to keep the faith.

To stay the course.

And as we experienced the pain, and slowly
Understood the situation we opined and reported
What was needed to calm the tension, but were ignored.

Marginalized.

Not statesmen we were told, no Harvard education
We’ve no right to politicking we’re just the hired help –
Bore the emblem of our country on the right shoulder
Displayed proudly, yet learning from doing and seeing
The grounded truth. That in this way, we would not win.

Hopeless.

And time, it passed us by
And if we survived the tour we were thankful,
As quasi “honor with peace” was handed down
And the last Stryker crossed the border –
End of the occupation; Democracy…

Waiting in the wings

And we transitioned, some more than others
Struggled to find a higher calling,
Most of us floundered in the masses – hoping
We would find an answer.
Patiently respecting the system that sent us
Forth from our homeland.

Naïve. Expecting more…

And ISIS arose and surprised us
From nowhere they were waiting
To grasp the country for the taking –
Al Sadr we thought might claim it,
But the Levant – it was ideologs.

Sickened, beyond reason.

And as society forgets it, and the
Iraqis give up the battle
We are left at home and wondering
What purpose was it all?

To what end? For what means?

And time, she does teach us
That we should’ve known much better
But political agenda needed a quick win
At that – and so we struggled. And retreated.
Not taking away from our men’s heroics.

But sold out by the system; Soul doubt all that remains…

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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6 Responses to Soul Doubt

  1. The dead will speak no more of this – no. Those who knew them remember them well.
    And we will honor their final passage at the cause we all went for.

    But we who ordered them to such deaths, who still walk among the living –
    It is we who should still pay the price. And rightly so…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful wisdom here, all wrapped up in impressive succinctness.

    And as I read the above poem, it occurred to me that the same thing could have been written about countless wars before it, by even other cultures and nationalities.

    And as to the comment above, you can’t place your name among the list of those who ordered such deaths. You did your best, you didn’t stay behind walls, but instead chose to lead from the front and prevented who knows how many untold additional deaths.

    The orders, strategies, and plans — and the almost impossibility of the situation — rest on heads far further up the chain than yours…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a nicely written piece. I can’t help but think of the various causes of war, some of them seemingly pointless after the last bullet flies. We fight for “freedom,” land, prosperity, religion, revenge, hatred, ideology, gold, oil, status. Some have been all about bullying a region into following one rule. Especially true with Hitler. Some wars were started (or enjoined if you will) for imperialism (Japan for instance.) The wars in the Middle East have been over oil, yes. But more importantly, I believe it has been for political ideology and religious domination. Who’s to say if Islam is a religion of peace? Many claim it is, yet we hear of Imam’s making public statements that Islam is a religion of war, not of piece. When I learned that Hamas was formed solely for the purpose of wiping out the Jews race and retaking their land for Palestine, I realized there was such a thing as premeditated genocide. I know one truth: God alone will judge us all. Every person. Every nation, every “religion.” every practice we’ve every used to fight one another. We can only see the “truth” now through a cloudy glass, but one day we will be face to face with the Truth. God bless you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read and I sighed at memories of old
    Of comrades who fell on those far distant slopes
    Of Falklands the “conflict” and what that entailed.

    What was it for that caused such a toll
    For 255 souls that never came home
    Some say it’s for country but some say not quite

    It was the Iron Ladies chance to save her own life.
    When the flags fluttered high, she got her own way
    A win for the woman but a hell of a price.

    Was that all it was
    Was it worth all the pain
    The tears of the loved ones, no glory, just pain.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Darque says:

    I really enjoyed this piece – and, shared it with my readers. I’m very much looking forward to reading everything on your site.

    Liked by 1 person

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