Sorry, I had to send this by email. Once we arrived in Iraq all normal communications were not allowed. I have to make this brief as our next movement is coming soon. Obviously I can’t say much but I wanted to share something I realized on our first day here.
I saw on the news that they are now calling us “Advisers”. That’s become a running joke around the teams now. Variations on, “I advise you to move or I’ll blow your F-ing head off” has become the standard mantra between the men. Did they label you as an “Adviser” in Vietnam when your men fought in the jungle for eleven months? It’s kind of funny actually. On my first tour here we were called “Liberators”, the next time in we were “Warriors”, the third time we became “The Problem”, and now we are “Advisers”. If they weren’t paying me to eliminate targets, targets that change each time I am here, it would almost be comical.
I was so proud the first time I came here, as I really believed I was helping the local people. Now I see that the vast majority of the locals just want to be left alone to raise a family and find a way to get by. But none of the players with the power in this place care anything about that, even us. Everyone is playing the game for prestige, ego, control of oil, or religious fanaticism. The people simply are not in the equation at all. Yesterday I ran into a local I met last time here, and I could see the weariness in his eyes. He told me that one Uncle had been killed in one of Saddam’s camps, one brother was killed in the Iran war, one of his sons was bombed in Tikrit by a misplaced US drone strike, and now his only other son who lives in Mosul has not been heard from since ISIS moved in. I had no words that could ease the pain I saw in that old man.
I did figure out how to describe the latest crazy militia stirring everything up. You know that kid in school that everyone stays away from? The one that all the kids know is nuts and that all the teachers continually try to help? No one can say for sure what’s wrong with him, but everyone knows instinctively how it’s going to turn out in the end. Well this new militia is made up of those kids who are grown up. You can just see it in their eyes.
I heard on the news the politicians saying “We must find a political solution to the problem”. Well dad, I wish those politicians could see into the eyes of these militia members like I have. There just isn’t a political cure for crazy. Back in school, the only teacher who ever got the message across to those special kids was our shop teacher, old man Reynolds with his big paddle. I hate to say it, but the only cure over here is going to be a super-sized paddle.
Sorry to cut this short, but was just told I have to grab my paddle and go do some “Advising” now.