13 October 2004
I need to clarify a couple of things that readers have asked or stated and expound on others, one of these issues being the story of the goat's milk. I have never had goat or sheeps milk before, however, one reader has and informed me that they didn't think it tasted too bad. I guess in my haste and my mild exhaustion while posting that particular piece, I did forget to mention the general lack of refrigeration in this country. Yes, most do have refrigerators, however, with the unreliable power found throughout the city, they are almost completely useless. They seem to act more as food "storage lockers" (for yes we have found locks on refrigerators and I don't think that it is for dieting purposes), rather than for keeping food cool and fresh. So hopefully this clarifies the intensely revolting and nauseating experience of the other day.
I had one reader comment on their wish to see a silver lining in all of this mess. There are many, and for me, one of which happened this morning. The recollection of whether I related the actual story of what has led to the heartwarming event of today to you all escapes me, however, I have mentioned that we have friends here. I will give you a little background into what has happened up to this point. A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to save lives instead of taking them or seeing them taken. There was an incident where a house had been shot up and we found the perpetrators of that crime. We arrested them and in the end justice was served to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. Well, the family that we helped avoid a rather violent end has become our fast friends in throughout this entire matter. They have a small daughter of six years of age and a nearly infant grand daughter. Well, the little six year old girl has become extremely attached to all of us and gets upset if we go too long without seeing her. We avoid going to such homes and places too often for we do not wish to attract "unwanted" attention from the insurgents who may see them as "cooperating" with us. Yes, there has been information passed, however, for the most part, it is just a plain old run of the mill friendship. Well, the father has expressed his extreme wish to join his family currently residing in Michigan. I have done every thing in my power to assist them, be it recommendation letters or what not, and he is leaving with his family to an American embassy in a neighboring area soon. He stopped by today to inform me of this, but to also let me know that his family refuses to leave until they tell us good bye. Well, we have set up a time for them to come by and visit us. He was adamant in his wish that if he is successful in leaving this country, he and his family will visit us upon our return to the US. He has pledged his life (as most Arabians are very wrapped up in honor) to us and I told him that his life and the life of his family is not mine to have. I told him that there is one thing that he can do and everything will be clear. All debts paid and nothing owed. Friendship. That is all I ask for. The man is in his early to middle forties and as he began to cry, I did feel a little uncomfortable, however in my heart I was happy for I know that at least one life has been impacted by the actions of my soldiers. If there is one thing I can take away from this mess, is that I will know that I have done at least one good deed for somebody and perhaps changed their life for the better. I hope and pray that this man is able to leave this country of conflagration, violence and corruption, and raise his children in a better world with hope and happiness that most Americans take for granted every single day. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers although I know they are nameless to you. I pray for a successful and safe journey for each of them and their speedy exodus from this place.
On a more disheartening note, I really hate being right sometimes. What I mean by this is I have expressed my suspicion that things will get worse before they get better. I was on QRF (Quick Reaction Force) yesterday and the activity of last night was rather astounding for this particular area. Bombs, shooting, etc. There were some casualties, although none life threatening, thankfully, however, things could have been so much different. My thanks goes to the men and women of the medevac unit and to those soldiers who were with me (with the exception of a few hot heads, but that is another story in itself), who reacted quickly, safely and professionally to assist those soldiers who were down. Be proud of your soldiers. I know I am. I could not be happier serving with any other group of men, than the men who have been assigned to me and who I have been charged to lead.
I will close this for now, as I am sure I have bored you enough and I need to get some sleep. Yes, it was a long night, and I need to catch up, for I am sure today will be long, and the night may be longer. God bless you all. Till next time.