Today the wind blew from the South like a furnace. I don’t know how hot it was today, maybe 110, but it blasted your skin dry. For a similar experience, go into a sauna and turn a blower dryer on your face. I’m not kidding. The kicker? It’s not even hot yet! Right now there is a sandstorm and even in my container taste the dust in my mouth and feel it in my eyes as it blows around in desert craziness.
The heat has been turned up in other ways as well. More mortars are flying into camp. More of them are actually exploding. They are still ineffectual for the most part, but in the city the IED and the VBIED’s are becoming more deadly. The enemy is becoming more sinister and clever, I am sorry to report. Intel shows Zarqawi was successful in funneling great funds from over the border Syria. Probably the Bin Laden family.
Anyway, I can’t believe these soldiers ride around in these conditions still doing their thing. We have taken some significant casualties recently. These are National Guardsmen that have left jobs, families, comforts, and some sanity to sacrifice for both friend and foe. Literally. They pray for the Iraqi people in the same breath that they seek protection for themselves and for their families left home without them. Many of them believe their wives suffer more than they do. Where in the world do you find men like that?
It has been a sobering but inspirational time here recently in Kirkuk. Today, Sunday, I have heard these men mourn, weep, sigh, express their faith in God and His purposes, and have felt their resolve to keep at it. My greatest fear, honestly, is that the price they pay and the good they do may pass largely unknown and unappreciated outside these quarters. Stay tuned as I share more in word and image about some these positive effects they have here.
For starters check this tip out: a particularly articulate story about the Kurds, which are the group I’ve shown pictures of most recently here. Please click on the link at the right from Michael Yon for a GREAT story. If I could have my dream job for the next year or two, it would probably be his! He goes around with the soldiers and experiences what they experience, reporting with word and picture.
For now, I wish you a happy and safe Sunday; your representatives here are doing you proud!