Friday, March 03, 2006


You know there has been an increase of bombing, specifically the common road bomb or IED here in the Kirkuk area. It seems that the cultural tensions successfully repressed by Saddam and his reign of absolute terror are now finding freedom for expression. Anyway, it breaks my heart to see both young men and older family men and even young beautiful soldier-ettes, like one who worked with us recently, so affected by this type of warfare.

Some boys came in today and their sole duty is to drive 20mph looking for these IED bombs, always wondering how bad it will be should they miss one. Each day the same thing. Can you imagine how insane that would be? And there is usually no one to finger and fight back at. They hold up extremely well under these circumstances and the value of your prayers for them cannot be overstated.

Other soldiers will have to cruise the bad parts of a town, always keeping aware out of the corner of their eye, and then on another day have to be sweet and hospitable for a meeting with local officials or a visit to a school or orphanage. The switching back and forth between killer and kinder mentalities is also very hard on our forces. Again, my job as mechanic is part “shrink” as I listen to their stories and meagerly attempt to empathize with them. They are my heroes.

And although this all may seem distressing, and it is, this does not shake my knowledge and faith that we will succeed in teaching Iraqis to be different; to learn not to settle everything by the gun or bomb, and to not just exploit freedom, but to value it. And as that happens, some will wonder how it finally did. I think even the soldiers often don’t understand either how astounding their collective examples, actions, and restraint will profoundly alter the historical volatility of the Middle East and change the future for the better for a whole race of people.

And it is hard for me to “give up” my little portion and influence here on their behalf, especially when armor has never been more important in the peace process and their protection. Yet, I feel it is the right thing for me to do now. The Lord only knows why.


Don Putnam said...

Ernest ... I've been reading your blog for several months. Now that your time in Iraq is coming to an end, I wanted to simply say THANK YOU!

Good luck in all that you do!


Ernest said...

Thank you, Sir! Someone was making that ticker at the bottom go higher, must have been you.

God bless!