Copyright © 2012 Scott Middlemist
All rights reserved.
For Annie, Jack, Ryan,
Carolyn, Arthur and Amy
PART 1: HATE
During Desert Storm, I slaughtered thousands in the wide-open sandbox of Kuwait and Iraq. As a combat air controller, I directed aerial attacks around the battlefield like a 3-D videogame. It was simple and sterile without blood on my hands or bodies to bury, because airstrikes leave little more than dust. Yet killing from a distance beyond the dying screams and charred remains convinced me that combat was a joke. But the dead weren’t laughing. Before they tore my soul apart, they waited for me to fight another war, this time with carnage close enough to pick my pockets.