Sunday, February 25, 2007

The 5-ton taxi

I have received both praise and prejudice about my journal. Some say I am saying too much, some say not enough. I know I cannot please everyone, so know that when you read my journal, it is not for you as much as it is for me. I have elected to open a little piece of my life to you as I experience things here, in my perspective and from my point of view. If you don't like it or agree with it, that's great, I'm okay with that.

So, with that out of the way, the past week has been busy now that everyone is here. I have been playing tour guide and helping run people around in a huge 5-ton truck with no shocks. It takes as long to get that monster from one place to another as it does to just walk most of the time. But, it keeps me from walking all the time. We have finally gotten all the personal gear passed out and everyone is excited to be in trailers instead of tents. It is as close to "home" as we will have for quite some time. We are quickly realizing how secluded we are when we go to buy little "niceties" and find we can't buy them here. We are finally receiving mail, so if you have had letters or packages returned, you can send them back to us now.

Sometimes, as you run about on your daily business upon the post, you forget where you are. Yesterday, we were out moving gear and took a short break enjoying the sight of the Ziggurat of Ur when a loud boom thundered through the area. A large plume of smoke rose to the distant east as an IED was triggered. Now, this was nowhere close to us, but it is an unfortunate reality of where we are. Several IEDs have detonated along our main route. They have been close enough that we can hear them from our office. I always have to stop and listen. Was that an IED, or the beginning of a rocket or mortar attack? Every time I hear a boom or a thud, even a door slamming, I flinch. It drives me crazy being so paranoid.

One thing you must know up front is that you will never hear of my soldiers being hurt or of the tragedies of war that I and my brothers see from this journal. I will only give a small glimpse into the dangers we face. Please don't ask if people were hurt or killed because I would never want my friends or family to find out about me through some random online journal. I will continue to respect the privacy and dignity of my fellow soldiers, so please don't take offense if I don't tell you everything you want to hear.

I was told not to include the dangers in here because it makes families worry more. I was told to only include the fun, good times. But, that is not the truth of the war we are in. That is not the truth of the life we live in this place. So please don't read my journal so you will worry more. You have a hard enough time as it is and I never want to be the one to add more to your plate than you already have.
Take my journal with an open mind and never look to me to be the ultimate, all inclusive and immediate gratification to all your concerns or to confirm some horrible rumor. Some of my fellow soldiers here do not like my journal being so "truthful". They don't want you to know of all that we go through. I respect their opinions, but I will continue to tell my story as I want it told. As I have said before, this is my journal, about my life and I'm not ashamed to dance with my curtains open.