The days grow hotter and longer in this, my generations war. The heat rises, without mercy, by dawn as the sun engulfs the darkness of the night it burns away my hope for manageable temperature, the heat moves in so fast it is as if the night itself retreats from it. Two days ago I rose from my dreamless sleep to venture into the morning calm, a breeze blew past me and it chilled me. For the first time in months I was cold, the gentle caress of the breeze put a smile on my face for the first time in days.
I just wanted to say thank you all for the emails of hope and encouragement I have received from you. They were most welcome and indeed comforting. Our loss and sense of it is enormous. Our hearts are still heavy from it. For the past few weeks I have been in grim spirits, on this day I awoke with a refreshed sense of purpose. It is easy to quit, and to give up hope and to stop caring. For weeks I had given up, and stopped caring, not just about our mission here but about Iraq as a whole. Then my thoughts went back to a little girls smile, a girl I will never see again but one I will remember for the rest of my time on this earth. My sense pf purpose for our task here born anew.
There is so much that can and has gone wrong here, so much beyond my ability to control. Caring about that which I cannot change is pointless, I realize this. Mentally I had been allowing myself to wallow in pity. I couldn't help this, I am the center of my own universe. Yet I am not a greedy man, so this realization was doubly bothersome to me. Again I forced myself to realize that despite how important I am (in my own mind), I had to again come to understand that the mission here in Iraq is bigger than any one person. This is in fact a world war, even if the rest of the world won't admit it. I am walking through the first pages of the first chapter of the 21st century.
"There is no right or wrong in our profession. The present changes from the past from moment to moment. Only pray for the future to vindicate your action."
This fight is larger than you or me, what is at stake here is a clash of civilizations, of the progress that mankind has made against those that would see the world repressed by their own intolerance for change. The historic irony here is not lost upon me, this is the cradle of civilization, and the people we are fighting are fighting their own history. Some of the greatest advances in the history of our species were made in this very region. Those that oppose the changes that cannot be stopped by bullet or bomb, are beyond reason, thus beyond comprehending the very way of life they strive to re-establish disappeared by the desire of man to advance.
In the heart of all mankind is a desire to be free. It is one of our most primitive instincts. Throughout history, we (humanity) have fought against oppression with such fervor that it cannot be anything short of instinct to do so. Many people are calling my generation the next great generation, I wish that was the case. Yet, the silver lining upon these accolades is this, we are great not because of the generation that now fights this war, we are great simply because our nation demands it of us. We are here not fighting for`Iraq`but for freedom itself.``Roosevelt`called it The fourth freedom. Freedom from fear, anywhere in the world.
It is indeed better to fight here. If Iraq has become a training ground for terrorism, so be it. It is then fortunate that the best military in the world just happens to be here ready to locate, close with, and destroy them before they spread. Here in Iraq we are a target for terrorism. Good! They know where to find us, and we invite them to do so. We are wining this fight. One shot at a time. One block at a time, one pair of shoes on a child's feet at a time, one vote at a time, one free election at a time. To a soldier this is simply duty, nothing more. To the Iraqis, this is a gift, paid with the blood of youth, paid for in missed anniversaries, paid for in bitter combat, paid for in the hopes and dreams of Americans being forever extinguished on streets called, Haifa, and 60th, in towns called Dora, and Karadda. In a country called Iraq, in a place once called the cradle of civilization. We are the light by which the new democracy of Iraq will traverse through the darkness. We are Americans!
Rusten D Currie