It has been an evening of nightmares and horror filled memories for me thus far, but the day has dawned, and God has seen fit to give me another day. I suppose that it should come as no surprise that my horror filled evening translates to a morning filled with memories of Iraq.
My memories this morning are from my first deployment. I spent time in Contractor Heaven and a small place called Retrans Hill. One morning I woke up to snow in Iraq. I looked down the hill and it was white. From my perch on the high ground, I could look down into one of the many palaces of Saddam Hussein.
As I looked around, it appeared that it had only snowed at the palace. Then I noticed that it only snowed in one area of the palace. My replacement showed up, and I walked with a buddy down to the palace. As we drew closer to our destination, I realized that the white powder was not snow but lime. Engineers had drained the lake in the back of the palace and lime had been put on the bodies that littered the lake. For those unaware, lime keeps the smell down.
Nausea swept over me, and I instinctively clapped my hand over my mouth. My buddy and I walked into the palace and the first thing I notice is the extravagant interior. Marble, ivory, gold it was everywhere. Inside of the palace it was fit for a king. Outside in the lake, it appeared to be a personalized corner of hell.
Memories of my trips to hell serve no purpose other than to drag me down into the deepest reaches of depression. Many lives were lost to a cause, forgive me a war, that many people were eager to engage in, but lacked the spine to win. If you are going to send people to war, then you should do what is necessary to emerge victorious. Sending people off to fight for a cause that is nothing more than a fleeting brush of anger is the wrong answer. Lives are upended and ended when the government decides to “make a statement.”
Do not mistake my memories this morning as unpatriotic. I believe that we made the right call to go to war against the Taliban. I don’t have a problem with removing Saddam from the chess board. Viewing a mass grave filled with bodies of women and children will change your mind if that statement bothers you. As Jefferson stated, “the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Or in the words of my drill sergeants, “What makes the green grass grow? Blood, blood, blood, bright red blood!”
However, to get back on point this morning, war is not a game that should be played to make a point or to prove your manhood. War is a necessary evil, but it should only be used when all other alternatives have been exhausted. If someone decides (political party doesn’t matter) that a nation or nation-state is worthy of open warfare, they should be in it until the battle is won and objectives are complete. If the politicians lack the spine and guts to see it through, they should not even consider war as an option.
For all the anti-war folks, I understand. However, it was not tolerance and understanding that defeated the Nazis, ended the Holocaust, freed the slaves or stifled Communism. These events (if you want to call it that) was ended by war. There is a place for warfare in governance. We should be very careful about embracing it as the answer to all the issues facing our country, and we should never make it a focal point for our foreign policy.
That is enough about this crap. Y’all have a good day.