Yeah yeah...I'm not updating. The reason is not much is going on.
I thought I'd have something to write every day. Before we got over here all you heard on the news is the craziness. I was expecting anarchy, bombs going off on every corner, dogs and cats living together, bands of armed men roaming the streets chanting, "Kill the Americans!". I expected to find American soldiers building permanent bases and not letting people go back to their homes, randomly shooting people and torturing poor defenseless old ladies.
Well...alright...I didn't expect that last part. I knew that last part was bull. If you ever hear about some torture incident or a murder by a US soldier...think of it like this for me...
The military is made up of just regular folks. People like your brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, parents, cousins, friends, nieces and nephews. Are they likely to do that stuff? No, of course not. Now think of that one person you know...related or not that has committed a crime...heck, maybe you're the bad apple or blacksheep of your family. Would most of them do the stuff you hear about in Iraq? Maybe the really bad ones but for the most part...no, most of them wouldn't.
Now remember, we're in a war zone. Yeah, it's extremely calm compared to how they make it seem on the news but that one car bomb or attack they broadcast happened somewhere. So all over the country, we're ready...just in case, it's our day to be on the news. A 19 year old soldier patrolling on the street is always thinking, "Today is our day to be on the news.", and he has to, because if he doesn't that could mean the loss of his life or someone in his squad's life. So he's nervous...and sometimes, very very rarely, mistakes happen.
Now that 19 year old soldier is your little brother. Growing up he was the nicest kid, did well in school, had a lot of friends, was respectful to his elders...an overall great kid. He isn't a murderer, he isn't gunning down defenseless old ladies...he's just trying to stay alive in a bad situation.
It's like being a police officer in a way. You approach a man you believe to be armed and dangerous...he looks at you then suddenly reaches in he jacket...now, as a cop you have to think, "Is this guy pulling a gun or is he just getting his cigarettes?". If you shoot him, he could just be getting some cigarettes...if you don't and he pulls out a gun, then you're dead. It isn't too easy of a decision, is it?
Now imagine that, twenty four hours a day. That's what your little brother, or cousin, or aunt is going through here. Yeah...nine times out of ten it's a cigarette but is today the day that they'll make the news?
That said, the biggest excitement here is a small political battle between the local governments and the local criminal court. The court needs a new courthouse, and they want to move into one of the town halls...but, of course, none of the councils want to give up their building.
We tried to help out a bit at first. We were looking for a building suitable to house the court. We heard about an old Iraqi Army recruiting station that was abandoned, so we checked it out. Turns out there was a really nice Iranian family living there. Three beautiful little girls, a pretty wife and nice husband.
When the Iran-Iraq war started in 1980, Saddam kicked him out of his house due to where he came from. The Ministry of Defense took control of the house and used it as the place where people had to go to sign up for the draft. They returned in 2003 after we kicked Saddam out and they moved back in. They had mounds of paperwork backing up their claim.
When we first arrived they were very nervous. Their faces serious. When they realized we were there to ask questions and not kick them out, their attitude changed. They were smiling and laughing with us. They said that last time soldiers came to visit them in this house, no questions were asked, they had to pack up and be out by the end of the day. It was like night and day for them.
I'll try to post more often, even small things. I plan on never making the news, sorry.