I am so tired I can hardly see straight, so I will make this brief.
The last few days have been very emotionally draining. Thanksgiving was tolerable, a good meal but a 45 minute wait to eat it. I found out on Thanksgiving afternoon that an old friend, who had deployed with another of our Batteries only to be sent home when he was diagnosed with cancer, had died. He was my age, and his sons are the same ages as my daughters.
I was still dealing with the loss of a friend and the simultaneous peek at my own mortality on Friday when I heard that 2 soldiers I knew and had worked with at the Gate had been hit by an IED and were Medevaced. The patrol captured the suspected triggermen, and was bringing them in for questioning, so I grabbed my Intell Sgt and volunteered our services to help question the bastards. They never talked, but their clothing did. It was covered in TNT residue, which was adequate evidence to send them to jail. The wounded soldiers will survive. I won’t say they’ll be fine, but they will survive.
Saturday morning, after only a few hours of sleep thanks to a late night of interrogations, I mounted up for a Civil Affairs patrol. During the mission brief we were reminded of an attack on a hospital in south Baghdad, which hit members of the same CA group we were supporting. We were also briefed about the tired tactic of booby trapping toys being used by the insurgents, dusted off from Soviet tactics in Afghanistan and again by the Serbs in the Balkans. We hand out toys, the terrorists take those same toys, booby trap them, and when innocent children are killed by them somehow we are blamed for it. I don’t have the energy to try to figure out a positive way to look at that. Fortunately the mission was uneventful.
Later in the day I heard that some more detainees were inbound, suspected of shooting one of our interpreters, but the biggest reason they were being detained was the contents of their car, which included several 107 mm rockets and a few mortar rounds, assorted AK 47’s, things like that. The excuse they gave for the presence of the weapons? “I just bought the car yesterday and didn’t know the rockets were in the trunk” Oh, in that case no problem, sorry for inconveniencing you! The fact that you had a freshly fired AK and we have an interpreter with a GSW, and the road you were driving on leads to an area from which rockets had been fired at our camp just the night before, total coincidence. We’ll let the guys at Abu Ghraib sort out the details.
I’m tired, I’m cynical, and in a month I should be on U.S. soil. The Artist is now a cheerleader, the Athlete made the “A” hockey team, and the Jedi has gone from barely reading to typing faster than me. I can’t get home soon enough.