"The bad guy squealed like a pig and hit the ground like a sack..." -- 20 seconds in Hell

It's not generally The Snitch's role to post information or news about the Iraq War (or anything involving the U.S. military, for that matter, unless it intimately involves someone or something in our backyard). But last night after work, relaxing with a beer and reading the soon-to-be-old June issue of Harper's, I came across a boxed-out feature in their "Readings" section that deserves attention. It's a synopsized report from Staff Sgt. Paul McCully, during a post-action interview for the Army Combatives School. The subscription link is here, but if you don't subscribe to Harper's (I don't either), you can see an extended version of the report here -- on "Some Random Firefighter's" MySpace page, under the headline "This is why you don't mess with Army."

To that end, this is why you don't mess with Army:

I put the barrel of my rifle in the bad guy's right side, point-blank, right underneath his armpit, and fired a single shot. The bad guy squealed like a pig and hit the ground like a sack, landing on his back. I immediately placed the barrel of my rifle in his face and fired ten shots to finish him. All of this happened within a matter of about 20 seconds, but seemed like forever.

"...ten shots to finish him." It goes on:

"After I shot him in the face, I took a knee and was trying to comprehend everything that had just happened. It was just kind of, I was like, "Holy shit, did this just happen?" It was kind of like a weird euphoria thing going on."

What I want is an interview ten years from now, if McCully lives that long, about how much effort he's put into trying to move beyond (or relive?) those 20 seconds of his life. In ten years, will he have forgotten those 20 seconds? Or will they exist, forever, as the 20 seconds that define him? Somewhere in between the two concepts, perhaps?

Also: maybe some hard-nosed journalist could -- again, in ten years -- supplement such an interview with an interview with the "bad guy's" mom -- if she's alive, of course. And then maybe interview George W. Bush, too. And not Dick (he'll be stone dead), but Lynne Cheney (she served as chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, so she likely knows a thing or two about compassion). See what they think. Actually, now that I mull it over, I'd like to get an interview with everyone in ten years about this -- just to see how they've grown, whether or not it was worth it, how things have changed -- you know, basic stuff: life, death, progress...

Related: "Takeover by Hamas Illustrates Failure of Bush's Mideast Vision"

--Matt Stroud

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