Tuesday, July 04, 2006
On independence day, Remember the Civilians
gets up to 120+ degrees in afternoon. night down to about 80. Windy, dusty. just keep drinking water.Does anyone think about the civilians in Iraq?We live in the tents with the soldiers and marines. We eat in their chow halls, and pray with them in the chapels.We leave our loved ones back in the USA. We are bombed on, mortared on, shot at. Unlike soldiers, we are forbidden by international conventions from carrying weapons or shooting back.over 350 of us civilians have lost our lives here in Iraq. Bombs and IED's do not discriminate, they kill civilians and military people with equal enthusiasm.We deliver the mail, the food to the chow halls, we keep the computers running , the military cannot function without computers, we keep the generators producing electricity, so that the buildings can have air conditioning. We run the Recreation halls, where the soldiers/marines can have their limited free time. We provision the hospitals, where they are treated. We keep the supplies flowing, the ammunition delivered.the average civilian is 45 here, he has a gut, and his hairline is receding. He does not have the physique of a marine Corps lance corporal, but he misses his family just as bad. He is probably a veteran, many here served in Vietnam, and came back home to the USA to be spit on.He went to college on the GI Bill, and learned the skills to support this military operation.The civilians here, are bit by the same sand fleas, the same scorpions, and the same camel spiders, that bite the soldiers. They pick the same sand from their hair. They take the same 3-minute showers as the Marines. They eat the same food in the chow halls. They weep over the same letters from their families. They miss their kids just as bad as the soldiers.The civilians here are mighty proud to be part of this operation. Terrorism kills civilians and the innocent. 3,500 civilians were killed on Sept 11, and we don't forget. Saddam Hussein killed civilians, used poison gas on Kurdish women and children. Each one of us plays a part in the fight against terrorism here in Iraq.We have no fancy uniforms, we won't get a service ribbon for our time here. We will get no welcome home parades, there will be no band waiting when we step off the plane. The president of the United States will not serve any thanksgiving meals to any civilians. The VFW posts will not be named after us. No flags fly at half-staff when we are killed.But this operation WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE without civilians. Each one of us will receive the deep personal satisfaction of having done our part to fight terrorism. When this conflict is over, and Iraq has a constitutional republic, we will have the knowledge that we civilians made it possible. People I have never met (I am forbidden to have any contact with Iraqis), will live their lives in safety, and without the monstrous rule of Saddam Hussein because of what I have done here. The Iraqi people, and the people of the entire middle east, will have a future, without terror, because of the work and sweat of the civilian force in Operation Iraqi Freedom.