I talked with a couple of guys who have been up in Iraq since the middle of last summer. One was a Combat Engineer, the other a supply person. Both of them talked a lot about the fighting they had seen and been a part of. The supply guy didn’t like it at all. The Combat Engineer found it to be the most incredible rush in the world. Both of them talk a little bit about meeting the Iraqi people.
Both of them talked about how comfortable Camp Spearhead is. Within the OIF theater, Camp Spearhead is one of the nicer places to be. Both talked of not have any electricity, running water (let alone hot water). Both ate a lot of MREs.
The supply guy had served a four year stint in the Navy before joining the Army. When he switched to the Army he went into supply because he had seen that it was a rather comfortable job in the Navy. Turns out the he saw more fighting action as a supply person than a lot of the Infantry did because the Iraqis prefer supply trucks. They are perceived as soft targets.
Both of these guys were mature beyond their years. Both of them have seen things that no one should have to see in an entire life time. They volunteered for that. They believe in what we’re doing here. We all know that if we do not finish this job we will be back, in one form or another. If we pull out now, if we do not use force to maintain the peace while a viable government is built, Iraq will very quickly disintegrate into civil war. There are a thousand Saddams looking for the opportunity to fill the void and assume the power.
What we’re doing here is an ugly job. However, we have to remember that 25 million people are now free after over 30 years of oppression. Iraq is moving toward a form of self-governance that will allow the populace to choose their leader. And remove them from power if they choose. As I have said in this blog before, whatever the rhetoric in the press or from the politicos around the world, OIF is about 25 million Iraqis and their chance to experience freedom and to define democracy in a way that works for their culture and society. Anything less and we have wasted our time.