Belated ramblings…

Day 144
Wow! I haven’t blogged in three days. My apologies to the regulars who have been disappointed at not finding some new bit of wit here. No new missions or anything. The real issue is that for the most part everything here has become very routine. There are a few interesting things going on but I can’t talk about them due to operational security. That’s probably the hardest part of this blog. Tracking what I can talk about here and what I cannot.

Still swimming everyday for the most part. Had watch all day yesterday and could not muster up the motivation to go swimming. I’ll go today though.

I took the first official step toward joining the Royal Australian Navy. I sent an inquiry with all of my personal data, address, phone number, service, etc. They wrote back asking for a package that includes my service record, all the courses I’ve completed in the Navy and their content if possible, my evaluations for the past five years. That’s a lot of stuff to put together. As I think about what I have to send I feel like I don’t have much and they probably won’t be interested. Such negatively is probably not a good thing. I will need to wait until after I get back home to put this package together. I will send it in though. Never know what might happen. I’d still like to live in Australia.

I’m back to thinking about switching to the Army. I’ve been reading some articles about the Civil Affairs units and what they do. Still sounds like really cool stuff. Assuming they ever let me go home from here I know that after a time I will want to come back. That doesn’t seem to be much of a problem with the way they are deploying reserve units these days. Lots of units are getting called back for a second tour. I’m guessing we’ll start third tours here pretty soon.

I’d like to come back here. I’d like to be more involved in the building of a free Iraq. If/when I come back, I would like to have a more direct roll. My current involvement is a support roll to the those going to Iraq with the exception of my time up in the NAG. I liked being in the NAG a lot more than I like being here in Kuwait. If/when I come back, I’d like to be in Iraq. In Baghdad would be rather cool. A little dangerous but that just gets the adrenaline pumping.

It’s awesome to meet and talk with the Iraqi people. I think most of them are still trying to figure out what it means to live in a world where there is no Saddam. To live in a world relatively free from fear, at least immediate fear. I would like to meet more Iraqi people. I would like to see first hand as they rebuild their country for themselves. I believe in what we’re doing here. I believe in a Free Iraq. I do not believe that a Free Iraq would happen without this war. I believe that if the US military does not retain control and remain in Iraq to provide security while a new Iraq is built, that new Iraq will be at risk.

It’s a lot like a new farmer back in the 1800s. Without the help of neighbors, family and friends, you would never make it. There was simply too much work to do, too much muscle required, too many skills required. One man or one family couldn’t really do it on their own. Likewise Iraq. After decades of being trod down and beaten the Iraqi people have no concept, no model of what a free and democratic society looks like or how it works. Because of the vast differences in culture, religion and society, there is no way that we can simply transplant Western democracy into Iraq. The Iraqis are going have to build a society that incorporates religious tolerance, personal freedom, democratic election, and secular government into the existing fabric of Arab society.

Wow! That’s a huge task if you think about it. They are going to need the help of a few friends. To take care of things like security until they can get to the task of building their own security force. The media and the government seem to think that Iraq’s first priority should be building its own security force. I sincerely disagree. The US should be leaving Iraq from the inside out.

First, the internal processes of running Iraq should be turned over to the Iraqis. We’ve started that with the handing over of sovereignty to the Iraqis. The Iraqis now need to be given time to build a government and for the Iraqi people to develop a faith and confidence in that government. This should happen before they are tasked with taking over their own security.

It would be convenient and less costly to the United States if Iraq took over its own security forthwith. At least in the short term. Stability in this region is going to be important to the world economy for as long as the world economy is dependent on oil. If we don’t finish what we’ve started here we will leave Iraq a more volatile place than when we started. Saddam was evil but he kept control of the country. If there’s no one in control then the situation would be worse.

All of that to explain that by joining an Army Civil Affairs unit were I to come back to Operation Iraqi Freedom it would be in a roll more directly involved with Iraq and its people. I would like that.


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