January 22, 2001
Sometimes I think I never went to war—war came to me. It hit, burned, changed, and tempered me. And taught me many things.
Bad people, I learned, don't go to war. It's the young who go to war, the nice lads. And it's the civilians who become the real innocent casualties of war. But the people who actually wage war are so far behind the lines that they don't even get a smell of cordite, let alone hear the shells explode.
That's part of the reality of conflict. The other part is that, when you go to war, it becomes your job to kill people just as nice as you.
The Argentinian flying the A-4 Skyhawk that bombed the landing craft Sir Galahad in "Bomb Alley" was a guy named Carlos. He's a nice guy. I know him; I've met him and his wife Gracía—they're lovely people. I have no quarrel with him. When he dropped the bomb that killed so many of my friends and left me burned, he was just a man doing a job. His country was at war with mine, and he had a job to do. If roles had been reversed, I know I would have done the same.
Both of us have had our share of nightmares. He saw my picture in the Argentinian papers, and it haunts him to know he caused such pain. As he said to me, "Why do you have to be such a nice person?" It would have made life so much easier for him if I'd been the devil. But as it was, we were all nice guys.
I'm not interested in war anymore. I'm not interested in the reunions, getting together with the old mates and patting each other on the back, saying, "Damn, didn't we do a good job?" What, shoot and kill and bomb their side? Lovely. It's a job. If you somehow come out the other end the winner, you'll find there was nothing victorious or glorious gained in the conflict. The only winners are the financial houses, the arms industry, and the politicians who've used the system and current affairs to aid and abet their desire for power.
Then you've got two sets of soldiers, which are the losers and the losers. It's just a matter of who loses most heavily. There are no winners.
Simon Weston fought during the Falklands war. He wrote the prologue of Dan Hallock's book, Bloody Hell
This short excerpt is published under the provision of U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107.
Bloody Hell is Copyright © 1999 by Dan Hallock
Publisher: The Plough Publishing House
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