Soldier Girl
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Soldier Girl

number one girl

When they rescued me, it was like, you know, the Great American Show: helicopters swooping in, tons of explosions, soldiers screaming, "Go, go, go!" At least that's what was on tv—not the reality kind. In my world, I was hiding beneath the covers. The Iraqi military was long gone. Someone was shouting my name. Did you see that part? My answer was in all the sound clips. It's the title of my book, but don't confuse that with the movie; that made-for-tv thing wasn't how I saw it either. I admit there's some things I don't remember. My dad keeps telling everyone there's no amnesia, but there's nightmares and still lots of pain, so that all gets mixed together. There wasn't knife and bullet wounds like they said at first. And I didn't kill nobody at the capture. My m-16 jammed up good. There's other things I don't want to talk about. A broken arm, a broken thigh, a dislocated shoulder from the accident—that's enough without adding what didn't happen. I don't remember any black-clad guys slapping me around at the hospital like the lawyer who helped me said. I guess it could have been when I was asleep, but why would they do that? My mom said the hospital staff donated blood. The nurse was real nice, too.

And it didn't stop later when I went home—the being nice part. Folks was just getting going. Lots of parades and gifts and medals. But it was too much and all the time. Nobody needs thousands of stuffed animals and flowers. I mean, I'm glad they was thinking of me, but I didn't do nothing real brave. Not like lots of others.

That part about the photos and Flynt—I don't want to talk about that either.

I just want to be left alone. Not that I'm not grateful; it's just I'm not good at this talking in public stuff. The tv folks promised they'd keep most of what I said, but they still added their part. The next words is straight from my gut, [End Page 64] though, so listen good. You can believe them, unlike a lot of other stuff out there. What I really want to say is, "I wish you would all just stop talking about me."

last place and counting

Yea, I'm also from West Virginia, but I'm the other one, the one you don't like. I felt kinda weird about the photos and what we were doing, sure, but I was ordered by persons in my higher chain of command. I don't regret it. You're supposed to do what you're told. And you're supposed to smile in pictures. And you're not supposed to be nice to prisoners. How else are you going to get them to talk? Like I said before, the actions were for psy-op reasons, and the reasons worked. We were doing what we were told, and the outcome was what they wanted. They'd come back and they'd look at the pictures, and they'd state, "Oh, that's a good tactic, keep it up. That's working. Keep doing it. It's getting what we need." We were instructed to do this and that. I stick by what I said on tv. You've heard it before, so why is everyone asking the same questions?

I just want to have my baby and then be done with the rest of it. It's not like we laid in bed one night and thought, "Oh, I want to do this tomorrow. Let's do this." We didn't think of it. Something would come up, an mi would say, "Make sure so-and-so was ready. Make sure they were softened up and weak." What else are you supposed to do? Disobey a direct order? Then you get it for that.

And there were worse things, too. I don't want to talk about...



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