What I am trying to get across with the story of the accosting busker is an illustration of the intent behind these long-winded, emotionally exhausting, and sometimes scathing posts. What I am not trying to do is merely glorify myself, show off, say "look how cool I am and look at all the bad-ass stuff that I did". Honestly, I didn't really do anything 'bad-ass'; I was a truck-driver, and not a very good one. When I told the story of preventing the beatings that my fellows desperately wanted to mete out to civilian detainees, I wasn't trying to put myself above anyone, nor was I fishing for compliments or sympathy. Rather I was trying to present my view of what happened, how I handled it, and how it continues to effect me.
Further, while I did not condone and certainly continue to oppose unnecessary violence, I do understand where the anger was coming from. My deployment was fairly representative, I think, of what the vast majority of our troops experienced during the majority of their deployments. That is, long periods of boredom punctuated by short periods of extremely grueling and physically demanding work, all under the shadow of seemingly unending mortar and rocket attacks and the looming unseen threat of roadside bombs. Of the entire reenforced battalion stationed at our forward base, only a handful of Marines ever even laid eyes on a known insurgent who was actively engaged in hostilities. Rather, mortars land inside the wire, the Quick Reaction Force rolls out to investigate...and find abandoned mortar tubes, if anything. Convoys and combat patrols range the freeways night and day, often without event, sometimes spotting IEDs which Explosive Ordnance Disposal comes out to defuse, and sometimes they miss those IEDs...usually with no enemy to retaliate against. Intelligence operatives spend weeks gathering information and cultivating informants, only for the raid mission to inadvertently search the wrong town.
So...I fully understand the anger and frustration, the ceaseless fear and stress, and the feeling that here they are, we have them...this is the enemy! We've finally got them in our grasp! Only most of the time, it is just not that simple...