I feel so blessed to be here in Iraq. This experience has held a great amount of incredible blessings and I wonder how did I receive such an amazing opportunity? To see history in the making, to see the American soldier and be part of the American War machine in action. To come to understand its physical AND moral superiority. And to experience the warmth and goodness of the Iraqi people, who, in the press, are often made out to be something less than human.
I love seeing Iraqis happy and beginning to fill with hope and optimism. I love seeing them on this base, laughing and joking; it seems they know they are safe and in better hands than maybe they are even out amongst their own countrymen, where murders and the power-hungry can still lurk. With each passing month they seem more confident and enjoy interacting with Americans more. It seems they had been told how bad we were, just as we believed they were all a bunch of marauders and could never be anything else.
It has been an eye-opener and a heart-warmer. Yes, there is still grave darkness here, hatred, and evil. As there is anywhere. But I just read about some soldiers on a raid in an Iraqi's residence. They found no weapons, but a baby with a serious medical problem. They adopted that baby, gathered donations amongst themselves and are sending the baby and its grandmother to America for an operation, where a top surgeon offered a no-cost surgery. That story is symbolic of the trust Iraqis have for us and the greatness of the American hearts that beat in the breasts of these soldiers. They are touched and they reach out to a people in need. What army in the world's history does that???
(See Micheal Yon's blog for a link to this story, scroll down until you see Georgia National Guard in Iraq or click here)
This story is not a rare exception. It is common. Just as there are soldiers involved every week in bringing toys, candy, and school supplies to children all over Iraq. Along with the inevitable rounding up of bomb-makers, snipers, and suspects, etc. Oh, which reminds me--I hear the most amusing stories like from the detention center here! Like a guy they found near a weapons cache. He says over and over, "those are not my bombs!! I am a sniper! I have shot 8 or 9 people, but I swear, those are not my bombs!" They are going to hang onto him anyway, in case you were wondering.
You can be proud of who we are and what we are doing. We're not perfect, but we are good. And so are these people, given a chance.
Pray for those in Iraq.