Wednesday, June 27, 2007

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.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Here we go again...

20 Mar 2006

..> ..>

Here we go
Current mood: determined

"When a man seats before his eyes the bronze face of his helmet and steps off from the line of departure, he divides himself, as he divides his 'ticket' into two parts. One part he leaves behind. That part which takes delight in his children, which lifts his voice in chorus, which clasps his wife to him in the sweet darkness of their bed.

"That half of him, the best part, a man sets aside and leaves behind. He banishes from his heart all feelings of tenderness and mercy, all compassion and kindness, all thought or concept of the enemy as a man, a human being like himself. He marches into battle bearing only the second portion of himself, the baser measure, that half which knows slaughter and butchery and turns the blind eye to quarter. He could not fight at all if he did not do this."

-Stephen Pressfield Gates of Fire

"Looking darkly upon Hector, swift footed Achilles answered, 'I cannot forgive you. As there are no trustworthy oaths between men and lions, there can be no love between you and me. Before then to glut with his blood, Ares, the god who fights under the shield's guard. Now the time comes for you to be a spearman and a bold warrior. You will pay in a lump for all the sorrows of my companions you have killed in your spear's fury.'

-Homer The Illiad

Here we go. Pass time is over, weapons are back on our shoulders, and very soon it's off to war we go. I'll keep the photos coming as much as possible. Keep us in your thoughts and your hearts.

15 months ago we set out anxious to give a good account of ourselves, accomplish the missions set before us, and take care of each other.

It's been a long fifteen months. In August of last year we lost Sergeant First Class Jeff Hansen when his truck rolled into a canal. He was medevac'ed to Germany where he passed away a few days later, his family at his side. Less than a week after that while escorting a convoy from Tikrit to Balad the humvee driven by Sergeant Germaine Debro was struck by an IED. He was flown from the attack site to the hospital here on Anaconda . He died there while the rest of his team sorted out the chaos and completed their mission.

It was, I believe everyone's greatest wish to come home with all the soldiers we left with. Sadly, this won't be the case. Their memories will live on.

Fifteen long months enduring heat, cold, wet, and dry. It seems like everything imaginable fell from the sky on us. Rain, hail, sleet, mud, mortars, rockets, and who knows what else.

Well, the Cavalry is coming home. Lock up your daughters, your beer, and judging by the expressions on some of my comrades it might not be a bad idea to secure your livestock as well. It's mission accomplished for us. We'll see you all when the bar opens. First round is on me.

Garry Owen!