I am overcome! Everyone has been so good to me. As I have traveled a bit thru the American West to meet friends old and new, I have been met with a buffet of love, hope, and concern for us over there in Iraq. So many mention their prayers on behalf of those of us over in Iraq and the work we are doing the moment we meet. I have no doubt that is in great part why we are so safe and in many cases so successful over there.
California itself loved me. The weather was perfect. Not the swelter of Summer, nor the chill of Fall, but temperature so perfect sometimes it couldn‘t be felt. Sunsets glimmered off the ocean in gold and hues of rose as el Sol slipped into his slumber. Only on the day I left did darkening clouds appear: the skies wept and the thunder seemed to roll out its lament. Fate itself appeared to become a willing accomplice in a home-trip come true.
Yes, I guess you could say the reprieve from the desert of Iraq has been nothing short of reviving and inspiring. Gotta love those purple mountain majesties, amber waves of grain, and fast-food drive-thrus in this great home of the brave, land of the free. Did I mention my awesome fellow country-men?
I was able to give a multitude of personal "presentations" and one formal slide-show presentation on the conditions I knew in Iraq. The questions were the same: Why did you go? (or WHAT POSSESSED YOU???) What’s the real story? How are we perceived?
I was proud to report: The Iraqis are beginning to trust that we will stay and not abandon them to their enemies. They are learning we are helpers, not plunderers. Their gratitude is less cautious and more mixed with optimism for a whole different future. The morale of “the troops” is up as we are finally starting to see some reciprocation and results of our efforts in building and training in this newly freed land (in the fine arts of democracy and the free market). The world’s investors show their understanding as well; billions and billions flow into this once forsaken land in hopeful enterprise.
It’s not all roses yet, of course! But you’ve already heard the bad. This, as an old favorite would say, is the rest of the story! As for why I went? For the adventure, of course! Now it continues…