Sunday, September 25, 2005

Stuck Inside of Texas With The Baghdad Blues Again

Even if I was inclined, it would be impossible to leave Iraq behind. It was in that God-forsaken land that I saw how low, how vile, humanity could be. I also saw the possibility of the human spirit triumphing over the base viciousness that characterizes far too many of our fellows.

I've been back from the war for just over six months now. I've had time to digest, reflect, and ponder. What do I think about the most? Proud Comanche Company was gutted by a stupid, insensitive Army "system" that cares nothing for comraderie forged in battle. We are a pallid shell, a slim imitator of the powerful band of warriors that existed not that long ago. Sometimes I feel like a piece of me left with those other men. I wish them luck in their new units, but if I could, I'd reassemble the old group for the return to Iraq.

Returning to Iraq. The thought doesn't fill me with dread, not in the slightest. I dread having to work a normal 6am-5pm schedule. I dread dealing with the ignorant mass of Americans who won't listen past the media distortions about Iraq. I dread having to do paperwork. I dread the insignificance of much of life in the States. Iraq? Bring it on. I'm ready to go back.

The reader might be asking him or herself "what exactly is wrong with this guy?" A fair question. For a few years, starting in adolescence, I imagined myself as a future historian. Perhaps that profession still lies ahead for me, but for now I prefer an active hand in world events. I'm not a billionaire, a religious leader, an aristocrat, or influential writer, but I am a soldier. I'd venture to guess that some of the decisions that I, and men just like me, made in Iraq, will reverberate for decades. The decisions I make here are limited to banalities such as which variety of gin to purchase or which particular shirt I'll wear for the trip to the HEB grocery store down the road. Monstrously dull, just like school and work. Boring and without consequence.

I'm not saying that I would enjoy the prospect of my life being an eternal conflict, but at least now, in my younger days (some of my men would disagree with the "younger" part), I feel the need to make a difference. That statement might possibly sound hopelessly idealistic, especially coming from a hard-bitten veteran. Oh well. I find it amusing, though, that the most idealistic people I know are soldiers or supporters of soldiers, most of whom would identify themselves as "conservative." Hope for a better world, and the guts to try and make it happen, are needed in this chaotic era. Sounds pretty liberal, doesn't it?