We were due to fly a mission into Iraq the next day. We had already had racked up 30+ flying hours, mostly during 24 hour work days, flying back and forth from Spain to the giant sandbox. But on that particular night sometime in late 2003 our minimum crew rest in Rota, Spain was extended. It gave us a chance to breathe and relax a little.
I remember the whole crew got together that night. We didn’t do anything exciting but sit outside listening to other C-5 crews land and take off. I sat with my squadron chief and two fellow Loadmasters on one side of the table, our flight commander and a new lieutenant sat on the other side. We enjoyed the company of a jug of Southern Comfort and Captain Morgan. The rest of the crew had either passed out or otherwise snuck off to one of Rota’s finer ‘gentleman’s club’
With nothing left to do, and the alcohol getting low, the subject of politics came up. I stayed quit as long as I could but eventually someone asked me my political views and how I felt about the war.
I gave the only answer I had, “Views….Views… I don’t have any”, and they just looked at me quizzically, pausing maybe to take a drink of their rum and coke.
“Please, elaborate on that, airman”, Either the chief or one one of the pilots had said.
Using rank instead of my name was just a inside joke amongst a crew when you are the lowest ranking on board. It’s one of the very few times you would be referred to by rank, the other time is when your getting ripped a new asshole. Otherwise, it’s pretty informal as a flight crew member.
“Yes sir!”, I said, (drunken mimic salute) “Well, I don’t have views. I’m a political mercenary”
“Political mercenary, I just made it up, I guess it means I just work for who ever the hell is in charge and not care either way”
“You got to have some views, are you a Democrat, Republican? Liberal, Conservative? How do you vote?”, The other loadmaster said.
“I never voted. Like i said I work for who’s in charge, and I don’t know what I am considered. I never could figure out who was who, or what was what”
“Well we can figure that out right now. We’ll ask you some questions and you answer them… Truthfully… and pass me that glass of Soco… and (finishes off the drink) tell you where you stand” , The other loadmaster said.
“and for Christ Sake, Vote.”, The lieutenant chimed in.
So they fired away at a series of questions, everything from the economy, abortion, drugs, the constitution, how laws are interpreted, and of course, the war. I answered what I could as fast as I could, I claimed ignorance on anything I couldn’t. Maybe I would find out what category I belonged in.
The only question I fully remembered answering was the one about a womans right to abortion.
I said “Yeah, a women has the right to choose, it’s her body” Two of them agreed and the third, a pro-lifer shook his head ‘no’. And then I added:
“If a women wants to get an abortion, it’s fine up to a point… what that point is, I don’t know, but the point when that stops being a group a cells and becomes a human being. If a women hadn’t made up her mind by that time she was a stupid cunt. except in the case of rape and incest where a woman could not, or was being withheld from medical care… and I also think that if a women who wanted to abort a pregnancy and the father opposed the abortion, he should have the right to prevent her from from aborting and she should have to sign over all rights to the child over to the father. why the hell should they get to deny someones son or daughter?”
It got real quit. Someone said “wow”. Not all answers are black and white, just as not every thing can be summed up as good or evil. I listened to their questions and I told them what I thought, with exceptions and reasonings.
Finally I asked, “So where do I fit in?”
“…Well, uh, you don’t.”
“You’re an existentialist”
“You’re neither, nor.”
“Figures, sorry to disappoint you guys, I’m still just a political mercenary if that matters”
“Na, whatever, lets kill this bottle, we got some flying to do in a few hours”, The Commander said.
“Cheers to that, sir”
I never bothered to really look into what existentialism means, or even if that’s really where I belong. That particular loadmaster may just have been an idiot. Who knows.
Now that I actually give a shit about what’s going on in my country. Why don’t you guy’s ask me a few questions and help me figure this out? But don’t be surprised if some answers are not what you were expecting.Share