For the past 2 weeks I have been bombarded with one question:
What do you think /feel about the terrible turnaround in Iraq?
That is a hard question for me. I only spent 1 year over there but still, the memories of OIF1 are as fresh as ever. I have close friends who lost a huge piece of themselves in Iraq. As home to the 101st Airborne Division and a Special Forces unit that specializes in the middle-east, our community is intricately connected to the country of Iraq. I may have come home 10 years ago but honestly, it feels like a small piece of me is still there.
Still sweating on the hot tarmac of the Mosul Airport.
Still stuck in some god-awful convoy on some terrible MSR with poor security.
Still sleeping through a mortar attack in Balad, yet wondering when one of those things is actually going to find a target.
Still wondering if that target will be me.
I only spent a year there. Imagine my brothers and sisters who made 3, 4, or 5 trips to that country. How do we feel? Talk about a loaded question!
I have spent days trying to figure out how to frame the right words in the right way and I have come up with nothing other than anger, disillusionment, frustration, sadness, and heartbreak. Please do not get me wrong, those feelings are not necessarily directed at our country, our military, or even our leadership. Those feelings are directed at people who will not stand up and fight for their country. If called upon, our warriors will do what they do best: win. However, there is no deeper wound than to watch someone systematically tear your victory up, light it on fire, and spit on the ashes. How do I feel?
Freedom is not free. As a veteran, it would be nice to see a return on investment. It would be nice to see oppressed people stand up and walk in the freedom that was bought with the blood, sweat, and tears of America’s finest sons and daughters.
Pray for the latest round of warriors being sent back to Babylon. Pray that the Iraqi people will be set free from the spiritual chains that enslaves them. While you are praying, pray for the OIF veterans that are struggling with the entire situation.
What do I think about the negative turnaround in Iraq?
It hurts to think about.