As it is, I have to consider the possibility that it is true.
This is the problem in war: no one is innocent. (link via Holden, at First Draft)
They were in Ramadi for three weeks before it got violent. Key’s job was to patrol streets and raid homes. “We’d use explosives to blow up the front door, then six of us would run in, grab the males and send them off for interrogation and hold the women and children at gunpoint while we completely destroyed their home. Soldiers could steal whatever they wanted.”
It was an adrenaline rush at first, but after a while Key couldn’t figure out why they were raiding homes. “I started seeing the mothers faces screaming and hollering; they don’t look at it as though it’s your government who is doing this to them, they see you as being the enemy. They look at you as though they would slit your throat at any minute if they could,” he explains.
When Key’s unit moved to Fallujah, he saw the enemy fighting back for the first time. “We went from not knowing what a mortar attack was to being under attack every single night.” Even though he was being shot at, Key felt that the Iraqis were just fighting for their country.
According to Key, sympathy for the Iraqi people was one of his downfalls. “You’re told to treat the enemy as though they’re guilty until proven innocent, and to have no remorse and no regret.” During a traffic control point that Key was part of, an American tank blew up a car that passed through without permission. There was a father and his child inside. The father was dead and the boy was badly injured. Key bandaged him up and took him to the closest hospital.
“I wasn’t supposed to do this as it showed sympathy to the enemy.” Key and other U.S soldiers searched the car afterwards and there were no signs of contraband anywhere. “They just didn’t understand what stop meant,” he says sadly. There were signs everywhere that showed the military’s lack of control. At a scene in Ramadi, Key realized that no soldier was going to be held accountable for their actions. “We turned a corner and all I saw were heads and bodies. It shocked us all. There were American troops in the middle saying they had lost it. My squad leader told me to go and see if I could find evidence of a firefight and what went on. As soon as I stepped out of the tank I saw American soldiers kicking a head around like a soccer ball.
“That disgusted me and I told my platoon leader that I wanted no part of it,” says Key. “He couldn’t do anything about it, even with his authority, and told me to sit down in the tank. The next day I asked him if anything had been followed up on the incident. I was told to shut the hell up, that it wasn’t my concern.”