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Friday, February 09, 2007

Conversation with a Soldier Part #1 and #2

Hat Tip to Moderate Voice, which led me to Central Sanity, where Conversation with a Soldier, Part #1 and Part #2 is found.

I am going to show a couple excerpts here, but please....go read the whole of both pieces.

They are disturbing and touching and gives us a glimpse into the mind and soul of a soldier.

Excerpt from Part #1:

Though he had never committed to a position either way on the President’s presumed “surge strategy,” this soldier’s combined remarks – brief and friendly as they were, decisive but never harsh – echoed the unspoken message, the silent admonition that I sense whenever I talk about these matters with my nephew, the former Marine who served in Afghanistan, shortly after 9/11, namely: Civilians who sit in the isolated solace of comfortable lives, spitting out stark, black-and-white opinions on what should and shouldn’t be done in Iraq, despite the fact that few of them have ever lived in a war zone or engaged in a firefight for their lives – those civilians should re-learn the value, the honor, of discretion.

Excerpt from Part #2:

He was in his mid-20’s, winging his way home from DC to Wichita via Chicago to see his parents. While he was in Iraq, a bomb had detonated, flipped over his Humvee, catching him underneath, cracking a rib and puncturing a lung. Later, as he was recovering in Germany, fluid built up in the injured lung and an infection set in, causing him to drop the weight on his six-foot-three frame from 175 to 125 pounds in a week’s time. He had added 30 of those pounds back, he said, by the time we sat next to each other in the airport restaurant – where I munched on fish and chips, worrying about the effect on my 42-year-old-heart, while the soldier scarfed down fried mozzarella sticks with blue cheese dressing, explaining that he was on a high-fat diet to replace the still-missing weight.

Despite his injury and ensuing struggle, he was convinced he and his fellow soldiers needed to be in Iraq, and he was intent on returning as soon as he was healed. He talked about the importance of breaking the pattern of the last several years, where they would secure one city only to see the sectarian terrorists move to the next city, in a never-ending circle of fight, secure, follow; fight, secure, follow – until they were back doing the same thing in the first city they had secured.

As with the other soldier, I told him my family, friends, and I appreciated everything they were doing for us, that I knew others felt the same way, and that despite the doubts and controversy surrounding the war, the general attitude toward soldiers returning from Iraq was much different, much kinder and gentler than the way in which many Vietnam vets were treated.

He said, “Yes, but it’s starting to change.”

He then recounted an experience on his last trip home between tours of duty, getting off a plane, walking through the airport and passing a stranger who leaned in and said, “Welcome home, baby killer.”

I do not think much commentary is needed. I just thought that more people should be reading these two excellent pieces.

Please go read them.

Bless these soldiers and to the stranger that called one of them a baby killer...... Rot in hell you Bastard.

Nuff Said.