07 May 2005

Once more unto the breach

Well, apparently "ask and you shall receive" means God is listening to me. On Thursday night my wife and I went out to a dinner party with some friends and on the drive home I was talking about my hopes for the Iraqi people. My wife asked me if I would ever want to return ( FYI: I have been to Iraq twice for my job as a defense contractor), I told her yes, and she asked me why. Why would I want to go back somewhere fraught with so much danger and uncertainty?

Well probably because I believe in the mission that we are committed to over there. I believe an Iraqi has just as much right to a better life as I do. I believe as an American it is my duty to help others whenever I can. That doesn't mean we as a nation should go forth and "slay every monster" that exists in the world, but if we can do something why shouldn't we? I post on a lot of forums including Sean Hannity's website and Protest Warrior and I get into a lot of arguments with my fellow conservatives, usually libertarians, about the role the United States should play in the world. Many libertarians are isolationists or at best non-interventionists, while I definitely fall into the Neoconservative camp, needless to say we cannot stand each other and arguments are always breaking out at these forums.

I was there in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq, I was attached to the 4th Infantry Division as an ASAS contractor. The ASAS is a product that the company I work for supports. In the garrison enviroment we work with the soldiers on a daily basis, in essence we become an extra member of the S-2 section, we go with them to the field, we attend NTC and JRTC rotations and provide around the clock technical support. In a wartime enviroment, we deploy directly with them, we are issued all of the basic load that a soldier has, except we wear no uniforms. We are not armed due to our Geneva convention status, but we do have all the protective gear to include body armor (the new stuff is fantastic) and Pro-mask. Anyway I deployed with 4th ID to Iraq and spent several months in Tikrit, Iraq doing my job. It was a very worthwhile mission and it made me proud to be an American. The Iraqi people are beautiful and are worthy of our friendship and our aid.

I returned to Iraq in March of 2004, this time to Ramadi Iraq to support the 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division that was working at supressing the insurgency in Al anbar province in joint operations with the 1st MARDIV. The second trip was definitely a different animal than the first trip over, daily indirect fire attacks combined with the huge insurgent offensive in early april made for a few sphincter clenching moments. A few of those mortar and rocket shots landed closeby, with once even hitting the building I was living in. Needless to say Al anbar was a mess. I returned from there last summer and I asked my company to transfer me from Texas to Hawaii. I got the transfer and now my wife and I have settled into our life here in Hawaii. Until Friday morning that is.

My boss called me friday morning and said he needed someone to go to Iraq in 60 days. I asked where and he said Kirkuk, supporting the 116th Armored Brigade, a National Guard formation out of Idaho. I didn't hesitate to say yes, I would go. Imagine that, the night before, I was telling my wife I wanted to go back and friday morning I got my wish. I'll say one thing for God, for some reason he listens to what I have to say. I'm not so sure if that is good or bad. Anyway, I got home and told my wife yesterday I was going back in July. She was upset, but he is also an Army veteran, so she knows the score. She did ask me why, and this is what I told her:

I'm going back because I believe in the mission, it is my duty as an American to do what little I can to make the world a better place. I'm not doing it for the extra money, although that does help, I'm not doing it because I love war, in fact I hate war. It kills too many of the best and innocent, but it is a neccessary evil. I'm willing to go back, because I think the children of Iraq deserve the same chance at a better life that I was given. I know that mistakes have been made and that we as Americans have accidentally killed innocents, but I also know that the Iraqi people are better off than they were under Saddam. I have seen that country with my own eyes on two seperate occasions exactly one year apart, I saw destruction and fear the first time, optimism and hope the second time. I can't wait to see what is going on this time.

I also believe it my duty as a Christian to do what I can to change the world for the better. Christian, Muslim, Jew, it doesn't matter to me, we are all God's children and he loves each and everyone one of us equally. I don't want to be 40 and realize I did nothing with my life to make a difference. This is my chance to say I stood up to be counted, I defended the freedom of my country and helped the establishment of it in another country. The people of the middle east deserve freedom, all of them, I am willing to help them achieve it. I have lost friends in this war and seen people I know die right in front of me and I still think this war is worth it.

So in July, I will return for a third time and do my duty. I intend to blog from Kirkuk and give the ground truth that is coming from that area. Anyway that's all for now.


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