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Thursday, June 09, 2005
 
OPEN THREAD FOR COMMENTS FROM US MILITARY PERSONNEL

We rant a lot about things we don't know much about. I recently heard from a college friend and fraternity brother who has spent some time in Iraq. He will be posting in the comments section. Our thanks and prayers go out to all those serving in our nation's military or in support of their mission.


Comments:
I have been in Iraq as a civilian contractor for 17 months. (Been here before as a soldier in the first Gulf War). Forget the pros and cons of the strategy and the warfighting...we can argue that all day with no resolution, but remember we are not in the room making the decisions.

I can tell you in short I have made many friends in the units here at my camp as well as Iraqi civilians. I have and am friends with many...I have lost many friends both military and local citizens...I have seen the results of war from both sides...and the short term losses are terrible...but they are all part of a sacrifice that is made for the emergence of a free nation.

I will discuss later my job here but want to share a story from my day today that touched me peronally and will give you an idea that we ARE making a difference one person at a time. Remember that this generation of Iraqis already know they will not see ALL the benefits of this action...but their children will and it is them whom we are serving.

Back in Jan/Feb of this year I was in the aid station (medical clinic) inspecting some construction work we did and talking with my medic friends from 1st CAV Division. They brought me into a treatment room where 2 female medice were tending to a young Iraqi girl, about 12 years old, they were painting her nails for her and braiding her hair, and basically mking her feel like a little girl again. She was there because she had her legs broken by a "quack" doctor in her neighborhood (directly aross the highway from our camp). Her mother brought her here because she knew we would help her. I asked what happened to her. She was burned severely in a firefight and ensuing explosion. With no medical treatment for some time the skin scarred on her legs forcing them into a permanently bent state, she could not walk or straighten her legs. he "doctor" in her neighborhood came by and forced her legs straight and broke them.

Fast forward to today...a Civil Affairs Captain friend from the Army asked me if I could find an AC unit for a family he has been working with. They had nothing, very poor, and no AC in the house. The temp yesterday was 120 degrees so imagine the misery of this family. I asked my AC guy if we had any extra, and we did...they jumped at the chance to help a local kid who needed AC in her house...his exact comment, "that's what it's all about". After talking with the captain more tody I realized he was describing the family of the same little girl I met in the winter at the aid station. She had surgery (by the Army) to fix her legs but was still convalescing slowly. She lost her sister in the firefight and was the only child left...and needed to live in comfort to heal well. Bottom line is that we got them the AC and they will have a comfortable summer in spite of their poverty...the United Sttes did that for her and her family, a couple civilians who long for the opportunity to elp someone, and a captain who cared so much he followed her progress and made sure her family was taken care of over the past many months. this is the face and the story you will never see on the news...the ones where we change lives with a simple act...the ones where we change the notion that we are here to harm them...this girl is the future of the country here, the ones whose impression of the US is formed by the acts of love and kindness shown to her and her family by us...I can tell you story after story like this...NEVER let anyone tell you we are not making a difference...we do it quietly and one person at a time.
 
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