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Evasion of Discipline

Categories: Case Histories

By Kenneth Scroggins, (c) 1998

I once heard a soldier say, “Freedom is a harsh mistress. She demands only one price, and that price is blood.”

I know who bleeds today.

I watch him drive up to his robin’s egg blue cinder block house. He exits his dark green chevy suburban, the kind the Secret Service use as a chase vehicle. He thinks about his lovely wife, his two children who still aren’t back from their soccer game. I know their names. I know how long they will take. I know what they will find when they come home to daddy.

His will is strong. His purpose is resolute. They have told him he’s doing the right thing, and he believes them. For this, he has betrayed me. For this, he betrayed Delta Green. For this, he has betrayed us all.

He chose his loyalties unwisely. I remember the screaming in Mogadishu. “Take no prisoners!” he shouted as snipers and bandits defended the greed of their leaders. Prisoners can escape. Prisoners can be released. What I take cannot be returned. Our vengeance is irreversible.

We tell ourselves that what we’re doing the right thing, that our unsanctioned slaughter of the guilty serves the higher good. The thousand bad cliches for every blood-spattered moment of truth are nothing but lies rationalizing our evasion of discipline. My will is wavering. My stomach turbulent.

He unlocks the door with a worn brass key. He walks a tiled floor. He opens the refrigerator and opens a watery bottle of beer. He sees me.

*******

Army Doctor Commits Suicide

United States Army Col. William Brewster died today of an apparant self-inflicted gunshot wound. He is survived by his wife of fifteen years and two children. Col. Brewster was the chief of Virology at Tripler Army Medical Center for the past two years. He served in Somalia, the Gulf War and Panama. No criminal investigation is pending.

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