Fit to kill
I came across an Iraqi soldier who was sleeping
By Pesare Gol
October 31, 2003
These days, the images of the Iraqi war on television
takes me back to my own fighting in the battlefield. As much
as I try
not to have flashbacks, a recent television program on CNN made
it difficult not to think back to one of my past experiences
during the Iran-Iraq war. The program was named "Fit to
focused on the post traumatic experiences of American soldiers
after they had shot and killed an enemy soldier.
One cool November night in 1982, myself and
five brave young Iranians were part of an elite commando
were ordered to destroy an ammunition depot deep in Iraqi
territory. The depot was thought to be the main supply for artillery
rounds constantly hitting Iranian targets near Khorramshahr.
We were to be dropped by helicopter within a mile of the depot
at night, complete our mission and be picked up by the same helicopter
three hours later.
At 4am, we were given the green light; we had
cleaned our weapons, picked up our supply and waited for the
final call. Within our
unit myself and Behrad were the youngest and the most inexperienced.
I was selected to join the team because of my good marksmanship.
Behraad and I were good buddies and this was our first mission
and collaboration with the special forces unit.
was a young major who was trained in the Shah's special
forces mostly by British SAS and American Delta Force officers.
He was an exceptional soldier and his cool demeanor gave the
younger guys a tranquility that we were so thirsty during
those terrible days of the war.
A black Huey helicopter picked
us up, escorted by two Cobra attack helicopters. After
a 45-minute ride the helicopter dropped us off at the designated
zone. We walked for a good hour and spotted
the target. The depot seemed exceptionally quiet as if it was an
abandoned tree house. We were divided into groups of three. Two
went through the back, two to the side and me and another soldier
went towards the front.
As I tip-toed towards the entrance, my
finger playing with the the trigger of my MP-5 assault
rifle, I came across an Iraqi soldier who was sleeping. He had
a smile on his face,
his helmet still on and his hand on his stomach.
For a second,
I stumbled, I aimed at his heart, but my finger was still only
playing with the trigger and not wanting to press any harder.
The thirty second decision I had to make seemed like thirty
I suddenly saw him at home, with his wife and his
kids playing with him. I saw him with his mother, embracing him.
saw him playing soccer with his friends. And in thirty seconds
I was to end all that with a bullet that traveling from my
weapon at a speed of 1000m/s at close range, shredding his
skin, ripping his blood vessels and ending his life.
been told about an approximate time of death from a terminal
illness. But few of us have been in a situation where we would
decide someone's life. And now, at 23, I was about to face this
Why am I doing this?
What has this person done to me? I shot him, the quite "bleep" from
my rifle's silencer was testimony to this act.
When returning to our base, the other four were cracking jokes.
Behraad and I were quite. We could see the others had
probably killed before.We were in shock. I had
taken a life without any provocation. To this day I remember
the face of the sleeping soldier who's life I took away.
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