Note: These are the thoughts of a gay soldier — a
North Carolina native — who has been deployed to Iraq. Because of
the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,
he must remain anonymous.
The troubles here in the desert keep mounting. Not only here in Iraq and
the Baghdad region where I’m located — but in Israel, Lebanon
and Palestine. The violence is amazing; the armies of the countries mentioned
are fierce and have no tolerance for each other. It’s a much different
battle than we are faced with here in Iraq. You could say that’s
a linear battlefield and you know where you enemy is. Here in Iraq it’s
non-linear — you have no idea where the next attack may come from. Israel
and Lebanon have modern equipment and are fierce dedicated soldiers. The
fighters and insurgents here in Iraq are all too often hide behind
women and children, news conferences or they send taped messages.
Most of the soldiers — myself included — learn of the happenings
from watching CNN in the dining facility. I have spoken to a
few and the conclusions are nearly all the same: thank God we are not fighting
a regular army. A few higher ranking personnel have stated that what’s
happening between Israel and Lebanon is taking the focus off Iraq for a
short period of time and allowing the U.S. and Coalition to do things without
the media all over their backs. That comment seems funny, but I guess they
feel it’s allowing them a moment to catch their breath.
Although some people have talked about this developing into a larger global
conflict — not many of us here seem to think that.
It’s a different war and a different agenda. The Israeli Army is
well equipped and won’t back down from anyone. I’m impressed
with them — but I hope that peace comes to the Middle East soon.
I still have my doubts about the long-term outlook for this part of the
The violence occurring in Iraq comes directly off the streets — insurgents
attack US and Coalition soldiers and then they go neighborhoods and attack
their own people. The relations between the Sunnis and Shias are terrible — people
are dying at an alarming rate just because of their religious affiliations.
I have known people that have been kidnapped, murdered and threatened — all
because of their religious background. Our interpreters won’t leave
our base to go home because they are so scared of being outside the
wire. I know I would be scared traveling — there was an IED that
went off not more than 250 yards from where I was standing at a fuel point
just this week.
Fortunately there were no injuries and only minor damage
to the U.S. vehicle. My time here in Iraq is getting shorter — and
I want to be sure I make it home — so I try to arrange all my daily
activities to reduce the opportunity for accidents or a potential
attack on myself or personnel.
We all pray for peace, we pray that we all make it home in one piece, and
we pray for those who have fallen during this processs. Out for now, your
friend and soldier in Iraq.
— Reporting from Iraq,
your friend and soldier from Charlotte