I will start this discussion with this, what I am about to write is purely an emotion reaction, I understand that my feelings may come across as flawed, inappropriate, and reactionary, but it's how I feel. I deployed to Iraq for a little over two years, I never set foot in Afghanistan, but we were very much sister wars. The main organization who lobbies on our behalf is the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. We are lumped into the Global War on Terror that has caused more of 800,000 lives lost in the last 20 years. My brothers and sisters who fought and were lost in a foreign land, feel just as close as those who I lost in Iraq. Trillions of taxpayer dollars have been spent. All for what amounts to a pissing match between heads of state. The middle class, the underclass, we were never a forethought, let alone an afterthought.
The American ideal that we shipped overseas has been a difficult pill to swallow. To accept my war for what it was, not needed, irresponsible, unplanned, and largely worthless. The scars I wear, the burdens I bear, were for naught. It didn't need to happen. There is no argument that Saddam needed to go, but were we the ones to bear that burden? Did Saddam have what Dick Cheney peddled? We now know the answer to that and it leaves the stain of blood spilled to eternally soil our moral high ground as a country, as a volunteer force, as a social structure. We are not who we entered Afghanistan and Iraq as, fundamentally we have changed. Life has changed, the climate has changed, our social makeup has changed. How we value sacrifice for the common good has changed. We fight each other over a piece of cloth over our mouths, for having the audacity to look out for one another.
That is to say what I have seen in Afghanistan has curdled my gut. Its eerily similar to the feeling I had sitting at a trading desk and watching Ramadi fall to the hands of daesh. (I won't call them their chosen name, instead they are forever known by the Arabic word for savages, daesh.) They took Mosul and many other Iraq towns in 2015, but Ar-Ramadi was personal to me. I trained or worked with the majority of Iraqi policemen in the city. To see a force of savages, hopped up on meth and whatever else they could fuel their blood drunk rage version of Islam on, take the town that I lived in for nearly a year. To know the men that I had breakfast, lunch and dinner with were dead tore me apart. The men that I shared a post patrol beedie (clove cigarette) or chai with. If they were lucky they died in the offensive, if not they watched their families slaughtered before their eyes or worse. Their wives and daughters sold off as sex slaves to be used by the filth who didn't do much to hide their disdain for anything holy, let alone the sanctity of life.
I am so incredibly proud of what we have done with Bed Block, and we are looking to grow. I am aiming to hire another veteran who is interested in entrepreneurship and show them the ropes of how this world works. My time is increasingly transitioning to my other venture Desert Valley Tech, another passion project that has developed out of personal experiences while in the Army. Not to delve too deep, but I cared for a civilian who had been shot while I was in Baghdad, unfortunately he passed shortly after I placed him on the helicopter to the hospital, from this I researched how I could have helped him better and fell upon the transfusion of whole blood at the point of injury. No one was making a device that could have helped that situation, so I decided I would and after a couple years of R&D my team developed the HemaPorter. The National Science Foundation saw our vision to change the world and charged us with developing our single use medical device into an enterprise level blood banking platform.
I am so thrilled to give back to the populations most impacted by war, natural disasters and humanitarian crises. While our product development has taken up more of my time, I am afforded the ability to take on a #2, my left hand man if you will. (I am a little bitter about the role left handed people have played historically, and even wrote the latin 'sinestra' for 'left handed' on my combat helmet before we invaded Iraq.)