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.