29 September 2005

Musings of a muddled mind

I really enjoy reading Jay Nordlinger's Impromptu's over at National Review. So I thought I'd post a short one of my own. This was an email to my wife, it was her idea for me to post it to my blog, so here goes................

I'm sure I might offend a few people, but I am what I am. I believe in social justice, just not that liberal pansy ass way of doing it. If it takes a war and money to free people, then surely God's reward in the Kingdom of Heaven for having fought the good fight must mean more than a little extra money in your pocket.

I'm actually leaving for tikrit in a few hours here, might stay until Saturday, don't know yet. Anyway, absolutely nothing to do anymore in Kirkuk, so I surf amazon and check out stuff I might want in the future or just read what other people have to say about stuff I like. I bought another thing or two off of amazon but it's not expensive. I think I have spent like 80 dollars total on amazon for like 5 things. I am going to stop as I think I have everything I want. I smacked my thumb on something, one side of it hurts, who knows what I did to it, but I did something.

Anyway don't sweat work, it's a learning process, every trainer went through it. I know you are doing as awesomely as you can, I believe in you, I personally know you could do anything in the world you want to. I have a deal to make with you, I'll work on my blog as often as I can when I get home if you sing more. I don't care if you sing to me in the car or sit down with your guitar and just sing church songs or whatever you know. I just want to hear you sing. I learn a lesson everytime I come over here, it's kind of weird and amazing and scary and cool all at once. The lesson I am learning this time is to always say exactly what I mean and to not hold anything back. You think at the age of 30 I would know that, but alas I don't. Hence the reason for God teaching me. :)

I also want to make sure that I do everything in life that I want to. It does make you wonder, what part of us programs our brains to not try everything in life we want to. At a certain age we stop trying new things and settle into a rut we call a routine and somehow convince ourselves we are happy there. Well I don't want that to happen to us, so let's make sure we always understand that life is a never ending series of adventures that enrich us whether we win or lose at them. I was going to say succeed or fail, but I don't know how to spell succeed, so I went with win or lose.

On a side note, I have noticed myself less and less in love with "conservatives" that I use to think of as fellow sojourners. That's not to say that liberals make me feel any better, and the terms "independent" or "moderate" aren't really indicative of what I believe in. I think I am either going to have to invent my own political label or something. The thing about liberals I don't like is that they have been bamboozled into thinking that not helping others in need or facing oppression is the same thing as being a pacifist. It's not! It just means that you are so naive that you cannot see the evil forests of tyranny and oppression for the trees of Saddam and Bin Laden. Moderates just want everyone to get along and that's not always possible. As for conservatives, there are two kinds that I have only recently seen the differences between. There are the fiscal conservatives whose God is money and selfishness and there are the Christian conservatives who are willing to bear the burden to achieve social justice, whatever the personal cost. Many in the military seem to socially conservative, if only the general population was as noble, you know what I mean?

EDIT: I am still a conservative and I do realize money doesn't grow on trees, but the fiscal attitude of some of my conservative brothers and sisters is disheartening.

Something else I have realized recently, well two things actually; Number one, if two men or two women want to get married, why should I care? I hope they are happy with each other and have a long and happy marriage. I used to be against gay marriage, but how can I claim to be fighting or supporting the fight for freedom for all of God's children if I am going to say that some can't get married because they are the same gender. Am I hypocritical much? The same goes for abortion, I am personally against it, but it's no one's business other than a woman, her doctor, and God. The three of them can work it out without my scorn or Government's permission. Again how can I want freedom for the women of Islam, (something I have written about a few times) if I am trying to control women in America? The truth is I can't feel that way about abortion if I want all women to be free to make their own lives.

Sorry I know this is a bit rambling, but I had a lot on my mind today......Yeesh get me listening to some mellow and haunting Bjork songs and I wax philosophical.

Enough of that, tommorrow is payday, so a big holla back for that. It means that in 2 more paydays I'll be on my way out of here and back to you and our little family. I am officially under 30 days by my calendar, so that is exciting in a "time moving slow as a glacier" kind of way. I miss you horribly and can't wait until we are just able to hold each other. That would be nice wouldn't it. BTW do you realize we have spent 25% of our lives together? How's that for a noodle baker?

Dallas Stars are looking good, lots of young guys playing this year. I would ask for the hockey package, but with the time difference from Hawaii to Texas I don't think it matters.

Emailed my mom and got a response, Port Arthur, Groves and Port Neches took a real beating, the eye went right over them. It's depressing to know that my childhood home has been changed forever. Memories of places that no longer exist or are damaged beyond repair. I wonder how the football stadium held up.

One more thing from the musings of my muddled mind. I love Hawaii and we are going to stay as long as we want to, but I miss the sky of Texas. I was watching "Friday Night Lights" which was shot around Austin, and they have these panoramic shots of the sky and it is so blue and open and the clouds are amazing. I miss it, I miss Austin! The sky here isn't even blue, it's this brown smudge with a trace of blue in the morning and I haven't seen a cloud since I left El Paso. Anyway there's that.

Just wanted to say hello and I love you. I'll send a "I'm here" when I get to Tikrit.

Love you,

P.S. The Bjork song is "Pagan Poetry" off of her Vespertine album. Not you cup of tea, but it is haunting and makes me feel better. So I believe that's good. Love you my hummingbird

22 September 2005


I actually had time to stop and think about the last 2 and a half years and I realized a few things, I am meticulous at keeping details, so I thought I'd share some things with everyone out there.

1472 Number of days since 9/11 happened
916 Number of days since Operation Iraqi Freedom started
537 Number of days I have served away from my family on operations in support of the War on Terror
4 Number of countries I have been deployed to in the War on Terror
3 Number of the anniversary's I have missed in the 4 years since 9/11
3 Number of my wife's birthday's I have away for during the 4 years since the war started
77 Number of indirect fire attacks I have been in in my three tours of duty in Iraq
2 Number of IED's I have had go off within 150 meters of me in my three tours in Iraq
5 Number of times I have been shot at with direct fire in my three tours of duty in Iraq
1 Number of rockets that have hit the building I was sleeping in in my three tours of duty in Iraq
4 Number of wounded Seabees and Army soldiers I helped treat and load onto Medevacs when they were hit by Indirect fire last year in Ramadi
3 Number of personal friends I have lost here in Iraq
50 million The number of free Muslims since 9/11
1 Number of convictions it will take to execute Saddam Hussein the butcher of the Middle East

I didn't compile this list for my own edification, but it does make me think, I have given up so much in these last four years, but what I have lost is nothing compared to the 2100+ men and women that have fallen in this war. They gave everything of their mortal souls, their families will never see them again, their wives and husbands will have to tell their sons and daughters of the sacrifice of their mother or father. That spouse will have to live with a lifetime of memories and thoughts of "what if" in many cases this moment will be remembered as one of the most tragic in the survivors lives. The fallen men and women did have a choice, no matter what Cindy Sheehan or Phil Donahue say, the fallen volunteered to be here. And isn't that something that makes America special? The men and women of our country actually believe in doing good, not for riches, power, or conquest, isn't that statement a marvel to read. A small group of Americans believe in going to another place and doing whatever it takes to ease the suffering of a group of people they know little about. They give their hearts and souls and their sweat and blood, because of the feeling that they get when an Iraqi child smiles because they have been given crayons or a soccer ball, I know that feeling, it is the most peaceful joyous feeling in the world. That soccer ball might be the only toy that child possesses, and for one moment in time that child isn't feeling malnourishe or afraid of the monsters that move among the Iraqi people. That child feels happiness and we feel it with them, not because we gave them the toy, but because the feeling of love and caring for another human being especially an innocent is a universal feeling. We who have everything risk it all to give to those who nothing, going against the dictates of our popular culture. The people of Iraq were brutalized, victimized and traumatized under the rule of Saddam Hussein, the children of America live the life of the most advanced, wealthiest society in Human history and some of them find more peace and happiness in coming here and giving to the Iraqi people than they do in the life of materialism that our society offers and even encourages over sacrifice and civic duty. Again reread that sentence and let me reiterate, there are some among us who have found our true inner selves on this journey into the heart of darkness. I know "heart of darkness" must sound cliched to some of you, but that's what's here the heart of darkness and evil. Muslims are not evil, Muslims that like strict Islam are not by definition evil, but the people that are fighting us here in Iraq, well many of them are evil. I have said this before, but I'll do it again for emphasis. Evil is waiting until the coalition builds a playground and then firing rockets at it as soon as it is open for children to play on. Evil is taking over towns lining up anyone that does not agree with the insurgents and gunning them down. Evil is kidnapping a female election worker, raping her, record the rape and send a copy of it to her husband. These people in Iraq are evil, I call myself a Christian and have a hard problem with bloodlust, but in this case evil must be destroyed. I find happiness when I hear we have captured or killed an insurgent that attacked Iraqi women and children or my comrades in arms. They are either confessing their sins to Allah or they going to be talking to the walls in Abu Ghraib, either way I feel peace at those thoughts. The scum of the earth have no place in a society of innocents seeking a way out of their 25 year nightmare, the insurgents are going to fail. I have always been confident Iraq will be all it wants to be, but I have never been as confident as I have these last few months, seeing the Iraqis in action and the people's hatred for the insurgents, I truly believe Iraq will win its struggle against the monsters of humanity's dark soul.

I have been changed by my experiences in Iraq, last year I sought counseling for PTSD, last year I saw friends die in front of me and nearly lost my own life if not for divine intervention and I belive that's what it was. I'm not special, nor does God favor me, but it was not yet my time. I had many of the classic symptoms of PTSD and my wife and I went through some hard times. Through her help and my acceptance of God back into my life we have triumphed. I was told to avoid coming back here, I disobeyed my therapist and came anyway. This third time has exhausted me like nothing else in my life, but like a marathon runner I have gotten my second wind and a few things have been revealed to me.

1. No matter how Iraq votes on its constitution or its next govt. it is a triumph of the will of the beautiful Iraqi people. If the Sunnis reject the Constitution, guess what? Democracy worked! If the people chose an Islamic govt. I personally will be upset, but this isn't my choice, or Cindy Sheehan's choice, or anyone's choice except for the Iraqis. Democracy is messy, their destiny is in their hands, we can sit next to them and help them if they need it or we can do what our moral cowards want and abandon them to the virus that is Islamic terrorism.

2. I miss my wife a lot more this time than ever before. We have been married 7 years now, but it is only recently that I discovered what it is to be a good husband and a good man, I want to share that with her. I want us to be together whenever possible as much as possible. She truly is my everything in life, without her I would not be half the man I am today.

3. My feelings about Americans in the military has been reaffirmed yet again. Everywhere I look I see heroes, they go out on patrols, they change oil in Humvees, they sit behind computer screens for 12-15 hours a day. They are quite simply the most amazing people I have ever known in my life. They believe in a better world made through the efforts of their own hands, they truly are the children of America. If you read this and see a service member, say hello or buy their meal or just talk to them, they appreciate anyone just talking to them. The patriots of America are not the shrill fanatics you will see in Washington D.C. this weekend, the true patriots are eating a meal in a dining facility at least 5000 miles from the people they love most, they are manning a checkpoint that has been attacked already this week while thinking of their wifes eyes or smile, or they are treating a wounded comrade, doing everything in their power to keep that friend alive to see a son or daughter he does not know. If only the people against the war knew more about those fighting the war, one wonders if they would still be so full of hatred if they knew the love of soldiers.

I will close with a lyric or two from a song named "Bug Eyes" by a band named Dredg, they are a progressive rock band, but almost everyone of their songs touches my heart and my soul.

It's been ten years strong, that's much too long
It's time to do something good for my health
Time to do somethin' good for myself
It's been ten years strong, that's much too long
It's time to do something good for my health
Time to do somethin' good for myself
I've wasted all this time, I've wasted all this time

Your journey back to birth its haunting you it's haunting you
Your departure from the earth, it's haunting you, it's haunting you

Like Macarthur I have returned

Due to the mission tempo of my job and the lack of a good secure internet connection, my postings have been few and far between. I will be an everyday poster again when I am back in Hawaii in November. I'm probably going to purchase my own domain and I am thinking of making my own podcast with music, politics and my stories of the war on terror. I see I have a new troll, welcome Keesha, I can assure you I am not a fake, but the more important question is what is your agenda? Tell Uncle Caelestis what troubles you. Anyway I'll be blogging a bit today and then back to whenever I can, but November is not that far off, and home is calling me.