Monday, August 29, 2005

Similarities

I was surfing around a few blogs this weekend and came across one via Mudville that really grabbed me. Sunshine is a 14 year old girl from Mosul, writing about life as an Iraqi child growing up in war. I fervently hope it doesn’t turn out to be something like this.

What really grabbed me about her blog was how much she reminds me of my own 14 year old daughter, the same tastes in music, movies, books, and the same sensitivities and optimistic hope in the basic goodness of humanity. They even have a younger brother and sister in common. As I read Sunshine’s words it was my daughter’s voice I heard, and I imagined her caught up in this madness. I admit that thinking about her, going through what Sunshine has gone through, brought a tear to my eye. No father wants to imagine his child living a life like that, I mean, that’s what we are supposed to protect our children from, that’s what I tell myself I am here for. Like the quote on the top of the page says, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” I believe to the core of my being that I am helping to bring my children peace. I only hope that along the way, Sunshine can know peace too. In spite of what some are telling you, that day is not so far away.

This post did bother me. Here, Sunshine tells of an American patrol searching her home, and while most of the soldiers were respectful and courteous, one did damage some of their belongings. This bothered Sunshine, as she believed that if she was polite and welcoming to the Troops, they would respond in kind. I hope she still retains some of that belief. Her story reminded me of the first Cordon and Search operation I participated in, a joint U.S. & Iraqi army operation in a village near here this past April. We received intelligence that several “persons of interest” and information we were interested in were located at a house in the village. Now again, I am not going to give out operational details, but we went in, secured the area, and searched the target house. Turned out the intell was close, but not perfect, and the first house we searched was the wrong one. We wanted the guys next door. Luckily, because everyone searching, U.S. and Iraqi, was respectful during the search, we didn’t alienate a house full of innocent people. They went back to bed, we took down the right house, and got what we were looking for. That was the first time I was in an Iraqi’s house, and what struck me was the fear in the eyes of the children. 10 soldiers going through your house at 5 in the morning is a scary thing no matter how nice the soldiers are. I didn’t let it bother me at the time, but those eyes haunted me for a while afterward. Maybe they still do. Knowing a mission is noble doesn’t mean you don’t feel guilty about how it’s accomplished sometimes.

6 comments:

Breezy said...

I cant even begin to imagine the feelings from the other side of the line like Sunshine. I may invest some time into her blog.

Dee said...

i can't imagine her world in its entirety, but as a black woman growing up in South Georgia I have had my share of police raids, car stops and such. I thank God for a father( a Marine Vet) that reminded me that despite it all we have a justice system over here that we can turn to and most importantly, we can move freely between states until we find our own peace. Great entry. Praying for you guys.

db said...

Sunshine's mother also blogs, at Emotions. "Mama", as she calls herself, expressed her own outrage about that soldier's inexcusably boorish behavior:

I wanted to write about that to stoop the stupid guys in the military forces from offending the relationship more & more between the Iraqis & the soldiers .I want to stop the hate that is increasing even among the most peaceful Iraqis ,due to such irresponsible behavior, such soldiers affect the reputation of the American military forces ,whom already have enough scandals.

BTW, Sunshine is also the cousin of Nadjma, a 16-year old girl who has cajoled about a dozeon of her relatives to start their own blogs. Nadjma's Dad resents the American intervention, but Sunshine's Mama welcomed the liberation and wrote earlier about how lonely she feels among an extended family who doesn't share her pro-American views.

Mosul is the AO where Michael Yon is embedded with the Deuce Four. Is there any way to contact the commanders in Mosul, so that some American soldiers could arrange a visit to apologize to this woman? Aside from being the honorable thing to to, we have an opportunity here: an ounce of diplomacy here could help change a clan of minds.

Mama is a dentist, and Najma's father is an oncologist; both work in Mosul-area hospitals and have blogged their laments at the shortage of medical supplies. Perhaps suitable recompense would be to deliver a few loads of supplies to their respective hospitals?

db said...

Oops, somehow the quote from Mam got lost. Here's a bit of what Sunshine's mother had to say about that soldier who needlessly trashed her bedroom during the raid:

"My kids used to believe in your soldiers & their courage .When terrorists invalidate Mosul &then you came to help us they were very much amazed. But now after they saw that soldier behavior they got confused &disappointed.
I wanted to write about that to stoop the stupid guys in the military forces from offending the relationship more &more between the Iraqis & the soldiers .I want to stop the hate that is increasing even among the most peaceful Iraqis ,due to such irresponsible behavior, such soldiers affect the reputation of the American military forces ,whom already have enough scandals."

Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Mustang,

A wonderful and thoughtful post.

This is why, while I objected to the invasion of Iraq, I now just as strongly object to those who would have us pack up and leave the Iraqi people to a fate we helped create.

I was never In Country in Vietnam, but as a sailor on board the USS Bainbridge CGN-25, I saw first hand the suffering the people we left behind endured when we rescued a grossly overload fishing boat carrying refugees trying to escape to the Phillipines.

I cannot imagine the feelings that you and your fellow service personnel would endure if you were forced to walk away from the people you are in daily contact with.

As always, thank you for doing what you do.

B'shalom,

Jeff Hess

James Fletcher Baxter said...

The HUMAN PARADIGM

Consider:
The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view
of self, others, relationships, institutions, life, and
future. Important? Only the Creator who made us
in His own image is qualified to define us accurately.
Choose wisely...there are results.

Many problems in human experience are the result of
false and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe. selah

"Got Criteria?" See Psalm 119:1-176

semper fidelis
Jim Baxter
Sgt. USMC
WWII & Korean War