Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Friday, October 13, 2006


I know you can't really see it in these pictures- they're not zoomed in- but these are soccer fields with kids playing organized soccer. I kind of did a double take when we drove by; it looked SO much like the families gathered around soccer fields back home. Well, with lots more sand and trash than back home. And a little warmer.

But they're the future of Iraq. If Iraq is going to have a safe, peaceful and prosperous future, it will be because the kids receive an education, learn to live with people who are different and have the freedom to grow.

I think about that responsibility that we Americans have since we invaded Iraq. No matter what people think about the war, we are responsible for Iraq now. The future here is dependent upon the people of Iraq- there is no doubt about that. But we have a responsibility, a moral obligation, to take care of what we have started here. We have begun to lay down the foundations of a safe and free nation, by building schools, sewer systems, training police, helping to hold elections and so on. But there are people from places like Iran that will do anything to ensure that doesn't happen. (where do you think the rockets being shot at us are from?)

Iraq has a very challenging road ahead of it. It looks like the best political solution might be to federalize Iraq- making a few different semi-autonomous regions- with a federal government to coordinate defense, oil profit distribution and the like. But along with the political and military solutions will be the attempt to educate a new generation of Iraqis. I think about that when we drive by kids who wave at our humvees- how do they perceive us, and how can we help them to grow up differently than the previous generations?

In some ways, the nation of Iraq is a lot like children who have grown up in abusive homes. This nation has been brutalized, and they have lived under oppression long enough that it is no surprise that it will take some time to learn democracy and problem solving in a new way. We can't really expect them to become westernized overnight. But we can help lay the foundation.


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