I had a very interesting chat with a very drunk army friend of mine the other night. He’s just finished his first 3 months in Afghanistan and is home for a few weeks. He’s always had this ‘hard man’ attitude and seems to think that since he’s in the army he has the right to get extraordinarily angry about anything, and can knock anyone out. I got annoyed with him on a night out a few months ago because he seemed to be losing his rag about everything and he made a girl cry. He tried to justify it by saying “I can’t help it, I’m trained to kill”. Not a good enough excuse as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway…Sunday night. He told me that he’s only in the army because they pay him. I found this quite surprising since I thought he actually believed in all that. Even more surprising, he told me that he had asked his CO in Afghanistan why they were there: what the bigger picture was for soldiers to be losing their lives. And that eventually led to a conversation about the futility of war, conspiracy theories around 9/11, US hegemony, and many other things I would never have expected to chat to him about.

I’m going to copy one of my favourite songs for him – Letter Home by Strung Out. I’m not sure the music will be to his taste, but I think he’ll be able to relate to the lyrics.

Well I feel stupid writing this

Cos it’s almost like I’m getting ready for something I’m not ready for

I guess I just want to let you know, wish I could be face to face with you

And tell you how I feel

I wasn’t gonna write this you see my buddy and I had a deal

I just hope and pray that neither one of us has to deliver

If it comes down to it

I will always be with you

I will always be watching

I miss you all

Tell my girl that I love her

I’ll be dreaming of her

And I don’t want to fight anymore

And I’m still not sure what I’m doing here

I’m praying and praying, who we praying to?

That might understand

And if you get this letter I’m sorry I didn’t make it back

I will always be with you

Always watching

And I know, that I’ll never die alone

No matter where I am

Hold on please, don’t forget me when I’m gone

Cos I forgot why I ever left at all

These times take the best of men

And leave nothing for the rest of them

And I judge myself in every way

And I can no longer look at myself in the same way

And I don’t want to be a coward but does any of this mean a thing?

The sacrifice, who’s sacrifice?

I will always be with you

I will always be watching

And I know, that I’ll never die alone

No matter where I am

Hold on please don’t forget me when I’m gone

Cos I forgot why I ever left at all

Oh why I ever left at all

Oh why I ever left at all

I just had to let you know…..

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