What did it all mean?
I wrote this on my blackberry while on the bus from Wisconsin to our homecoming in Lincoln, NE.
We've been up all night, and we're too excited to sleep now. There are about 400 Harley Davidson's bracketing our convoy of busses. It's crazy.
I find myself, however, sitting and wondering what it all meant. The deployment, the danger, the depridation, the detachment. Did we make a difference? Sadly I think I have to say 'No'.
I've now served in two countries trying to recover from the effects of generations under totalitarian regimes. Much like slavery dictatorship can rob people of all that is best in them. Under totalitarianism men are robbed of industriousness, individuality and that spirit of sua sponte which is necessary to live in and grow a healthy culture.
Dictatorship oppresses, stifles, coddles, and eventually crushes the spirit of its citizenry. Until such time as the Iraqis discover self determination as a culture they will be lost to democracy and the benefits of western culture and economy.
They may yet discover these things for themselves. They can't be shown them. I doubt, though, that this is going to happen next year or even next generation. There exists too much culture inertia thanks to Saddam, the Ottoman Turks, and Islam, and not enough necessity to change them at this point.
But my time there is done and now I'm home. I doubt I'll be going back. The writing is on the wall and I fear our feeble efforts will probably be recorded as an overall failure in nation building.
I guess it's best not to dwell on the negatives. Instead I'm going to get on my motorcycle, talk to a pretty girl, and try to recover my own life.
Thanks for reading.