Friday, May 16, 2008

Mental Separation of Iraq, with a dash of Hope

Sometimes its easy to lump people together, people talk about a country like Syria or Lebanon and we get images of AK toting extremists. They seem to forget that we call them extremists because they are the extreme, they do not represent the majority view, most people just want to live their lives, raise a family and do it in relative peace, they would also prefer not to be oppressed. In the same vein we think of Iran and similar scary thoughts pop into peoples heads but this time we included a mushroom cloud over Israel. Yes the government of Iran is a nasty lot, that doesn't mean they represent the majority views of their country. Just like how our government does not always represent the view of the majority of Americans, they sure as hell don't represent mine, and we're a democracy. I think its critically important to remember that when we talk about nuking Iran, does their government deserve to be taken out, probably, does that justify killing millions of people who are just trying to get by? Hell no.

It's this same type of thinking that I use when I think about the war in Iraq and our troops. The war is heinous evil and every other derogatory word I can think of, many with some four letter words added to spice it up. But the troops are people, theres some great ones who really want to help, theres some mediocre ones, and while no one likes to say it, theres some terrible ones, like the one who committed the massacre in Haditha. I want to focus on the great ones for a moment. A friend of mine is there, hes an old college buddy and I don't get to see him often, we only knew each other for one semester of school but through the joys of the internet we still talk. He had every intention of joining the military after college which always surprised me cause he just didn't seem the type. He was a little crazy but in a generally harmless sense, nothing made him happier than getting a nice big e-brake slide going on the dirt roads in his little Saturn. I never seemed worried about joining the military, I think it had been his plan for a long time. Of course this was also before we went into Iraq that I saw him regularly, wow I've been out of school that long? Damn I need to do something with my life... That might have been what he was trying to avoid when he joined up. Anyway he's just a genuinely good person who would do anything to help out a friend, pretty much all the happy stories I've heard from Iraq have come from him. He was the one who told me about working with the Iraqi police/army and cracking jokes with them, the simple line he said, "sure theres a lot of differences, but they're just people like anybody else." That was the greatest thing I had ever heard from Iraq. Now he sends me a photo, actually he tagged me in the photo as if I was one of the kids which was pretty funny. So without further ado here is another positive moment in Iraq, I hope there are many more.Thank you Josh. I owe you a beer when you get back.

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