sorry for the length, tried to minimize as much as possible. this is a pic on the northern boarder of iraq
There has been a lot of talk recently, both in the news and on this forum, on how we mishandled the events leading up to combat and how wrong we were for going into Iraq in the first place. I too questioned our reasoning early on, after the war was seemingly quelled and I had been away from the states for about 4 months(didn’t know shit would kick up again in another 4 months). Then I had the priviledge of flying one of our Generals up to the northern, Kurdish, region called Lake Dokan where the Kurds were having a fourth of July celebration for us. I call this a priviledge not because of the general we were flying, but the people we were about to meet.
On our way up there I was like yeah great, whatever, it’ll be some sheik kissing some ass so that the military will look kindly on his interests. My misconceptions were quickly changed when we arrived and I was able to meet with some of the guards. We weren’t used to leaving our aircraft unsecured, hell we we hadn’t walked around without flak vests and helmets til we got up there, but we left them and our lives in their hands. Even with the language barrier we were able to have a makeshift game of frisbee with these guys who were genuinely happy to meet us, take pics, and hang out.
They put us up in a hotel overlooking this picturesqe lake; this was the first time we had showers from running water in the four months since we had left home. That night there was a big party, they gave a bunch of speeches both in kurdish and very fluent english. They brought out a bunch of alcohol and whatnot, but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to drink any, though the cia bastards were busy getting lit.
Anyways after the party was over and all the bigwigs were off to bed, I’m cruising by the pool cause I don’t know when I’ll get to go swimming again, and all the Kurdish guards are down there too. A few of them spoke english and a couple had even been educated at American colleges. So a few military guys sitting around talking, they’re showing me their ak-47s, mp5s, handguns, etc and I show 'em my m4 and m9(what else are soldiers going to talk about but weapons?)They’re telling me about how grateful they are for us finally coming back and finishing the job. Their only fear was that we’d dig out and leave them again as we did the last time. It was the first and only place in the world outside of the US where I felt that someone was truly happy to have us and not just saying it.
There is some good being done over there, and anytime I found myself down and questioning what I was doing so far from the country I love, I only had to think of them.