Making time to write a blog these days is about like panning for gold. It’s become a full time job where people actually get paid. It would be nice if I got paid for this thing, but that’s just not gonna happen. My problem isn’t time but creativity. My blog muse left me a long time ago and I’m trying to get her back…..the bitch. I’ve also had a lot happening in my life the past year so I guess you could say that I have a lot to talk about. But I’ve become really apprehensive about posting private things on the inter-web-tubes. I don’t know, we’ll see how far I can get back into this. MTF.
It’s common practice these days to dismiss what’s going on in Iraq. With all of the attention on Afghanistan, the Middle East and the “Arab Spring”, and the nations economy, it kind of seems like the Iraq War has fallen off of the radar. It certainly isn’t what it was when I was here during the Surge in 2007. Here I am in Iraq doing my second tour out in the middle of nowhere in the Anbar Province nice and safe on a huge Air Base where there haven’t been any major incidents in quite some time. It’s so easy for us to come here in this type of setting and become complacent to what’s going on around us in other parts of the country.
I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of it too. We came here for this mission to help “shut ‘er down.” It’s gonna be a simple mission with no serious dangers in our way. It was going to be too easy.
Just the other day I had a nice dose of harsh reality and it had a major impact on me for some reason. Mainly because I thought we were in this fake “bubble” where nothing was going on. As I was sitting at work the other day, I opened an attachment in my email that, among other things, contained a few significant activities (SIGACTS) in another part of Iraq that we will eventually be heading to. It said that an IED hit a convoy and hit the gunners turret. The gunner was KIA.
That right there stopped me in my tracks.
Now, before I go any further, all of you barracks lawyers and military spouses that think you know everything there is to know about how the military is supposed to work regarding operational security (OPSEC), you can all calm down. This particular event happened more than a week ago and I’m sure that soldier’s family has already been notified and that route has been cleard by route clearance teams. So shut the fuck up.
Here I am, all nice and cozy in my office digs in a supporting role to…..well….whoever it is that we support. I read that a soldier has died from an IED strike and the sadness and remorse hit me like a train. I felt guilty for thinking that we are here on a mission with no dangers. All of that was in the past. All of the insurgents were supposed to be in Afghanistan. I guess it’s a reflection of what the focus is from the top down. The President doesn’t care about what happens here. He’s got priorities elsewhere. The media is bored with Iraq so they don’t cover the things we do here now. And our leaders didn’t prepare us and remind us for what we are dealing with over here.
As I read that SIGACT, images flashed through my head. I wondered what his name was. I pictured what he was doing before his mission. Was he smokin’ and jokin’ with his buddies? Did he just get off the phone with his wife or parents? Is he even married? Did he have kids? Then I thought about his wife if he had one. I saw the uniformed men walking up to her door and the disbelief in her eyes. A family’s life is now forever changed.
I know it’s happened before and it will happen again. It’s the price we have to pay for freedom. But the mindset of the soldiers in my immediate vicinity (myself included) all think that this is just another training exercise far, far away from home. I’ve been thinking about him ever since. Wondering what his name was, feeling empathy for his unit and his buddies, and coming to terms with my own mortality; almost disgusted at how some of the people I live/work with are complaining about the stupidest things.
So as we’re over here, some of us working 9-5 jobs with daily trips to the PX, and others facing the real dangers of war every day, don’t forget about us. We’re still fighting a very dangerous enemy and we still have a lot of work to do. Please keep that soldier who died and every other soldier that is here and in Afghanistan in your thoughts and prayers.
Man, what a great weekend. Sure, there was a lot of driving. I mean, I’m sitting in class right now after just getting home this morning at 0400hrs but hey, it’s all part of the experience.
The fam and I went up to VA this weekend to observer Memorial Day and to celebrate my step-daughter’s 13th Birthday. On Friday, we made a stop at Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to this country’s fallen. It was my step-daughter’s first time and I hope she got something out of it. I know that every time I go there, I get amazed even more every time. It is truly an amazing place. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend going one day.
Other than that, we just visited family, went to a water park on Saturday where I got thoroughly baked and lobster-red from laying out in the sun for 6 1/2 hours. Good times. Then we made it back home for some good friends, good food and good beer.
I hope everyone took the time this past weekend to pay respects to the fallen in their own way. And to also take time to unwind and get with friends and family and relax and celebrate the unofficial opening to summer. To those who couldn’t be with their families who are still serving over seas, my heart goes out to you and don’t worry, you’ll be home before you know it. Thanks to all the family who made my weekend what it was and especially to my wonderful wife who makes life itself more fun than I could ever imagine.
I love you all!!
My father-in-law is a weak little man.
Well, I shouldn’t even really call him my father-in-law because he has never actually been a father to my wife. He’s spent his life devoting most of his time to being an asshole who thinks that he can do and say whatever he wants without repricutions while everyone else around him, particularly those that stand up to him, are stupid, immature and wrong for saying what they want.
In the past, I would say that he’s a pretty funny guy and that our views are pretty much the same. He certainly doesn’ t like this current administration and it’s policies but he’s beginning to lose it. Recently, he posted this little gem on Facebook knowing full well that his daughter is married to and has devoted her life to her husband who is in the military (that would be me).
I think his little comment on Facebook went something like, “reading this made me nautious.” Look for yourself.
I’m sure you were all captivated by the pretty pictures and official-looking graphs and pie charts. I know, it took me a minute to look away too.
Now, I don’t give a rat’s ass if any of that is true. I know we, as a country are taxed out the ass and that at times what the gubmint does with that money can be questionable. And everyone with an IQ that’s slightly more than a quivering blob of smagma from the underside of the balls from a water ox knows that in these times that we’re in, Defense spending is a must if we want to be kept safe from harm from abroad. If you have a hard time understanding that, then it’s time for you to relocate elsewhere.
On a personal note, I’m horrifically insulted by the fact that someone I used to call family would knowingly post something like that on a public domain. Granted, there are other members of my immediate family who do not necessarily have the same political or strategic views that I do and they are certainly allowed to their opinion.
But when you act like a child who throws a tantrum because not everyone is playing by your rules and then you “un-friend” us on Facebook tells me that your issues go way deeper than your disagreement with whatever the gubmint is doing with your tax money.
Just keep in mind that no matter what you believe, there are people out there fighting for you and your beliefs. And, not if – but when the next terrorist attack happens right in your back yard and the gubmint doesn’t have any resources to combat the culprits, just thank your stars that they cut all that defense spending that you hate so much.