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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! :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Return to Blogging

As many of you have noticed, I have taken a number of days off from blogging. First of all, I erased some of the entries, because someone had posted a comment attacking my posts, and then wondered why the comment was posted. IF you leave a comment, it will appear- it isn't a personal email to me. The only way to remove the comment was to erase the entire posts. So I did.

But I also haven't posted for a couple of other reasons. First, we've been on a communications blackout, which has since been lifted. Second, I wanted to think for a bit. Here is what is on my mind:

As Americans, we have the right to express opinions, and our military exists- and is willing to die- to preserve that right. As a Soldier in Iraq, I think I have earned the right to express my views on the war.

But this isn't academic for me; it is also personal. I love the people of Iraq. My heart breaks for them. Evil is real, and it is here, and people are suffering. I have met and gotten to know some of the people here, and they are humans just like we are in America.

What happens if we cut and run? The situation will get worse. Was it right to come here in the first place? I believe so. But even if it wasn't, it would be a great injustice to leave now.

Here is an analogy: Let's say you go in to do surgery on a person... say.... to fix a hernia. Somewhere in the midst of the operation you discover that much, much more is wrong, so you open up the abdomen and start working on the insides. At this point you can't just leave the patient sitting on the table with his guts hanging out. You need to finish the job, even if it costs you personally. Why? Because you started the operation.

Iraq has its guts hanging out. Is it hard work? You bet. I HATE seeing body bags come in, and I hate it when my Soldiers go outside the gate every day. But we started this, and we have men, women and children in Iraq who will suffer unspeakable horrors if we leave.

I've earned the right to say that. I respect anyone who disagrees, but I've got the right, whether I'm a pastor or a chaplain, to express it. I believe it so much that I've put myself in a place where people are trying to kill us. I wasn't drafted and I joined after the Iraq war started. I'm here as a volunteer.

Don't like it? Too bad. I'm still willing to die for you.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Mom said...

Hi Chris!

That was a very good analogy! I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am so very proud of you!

Love you and miss you!!!

Mom

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Happy Birthday, Chris!!!

Love,

Mom

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chris:

Everyone I know is totally supportive of your mission. You remind me a great deal of the courage that Martin Luther exhibited at the Diet of Worms. When confronted with evil, Luther said "Here I Stand I can do nothing else". That is the type of courage and confrontation our country needs to have to deal with the evil that is present throughout the world today. The American soldiers represent the very best we have as a nation. Unfortunately, our politicians don't. I am certain that by 2008 what we are seeing today will be reversed.

I have been listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which you know along with Handel's "Messiah" and Bach's "B minor Mass" are my favorite choral works. Beethoven speaks to the universality of mankind, which is what you are addressing in your love and concern for the Iraqis. This love of mankind was shared by Albert Schweitzer and Dag Hammerskjold in their actions and commitment to their beliefs. I have so much respect for your acting out your faith and commitment. Incidentally, I did send you a birthday card and I hope you received it. Love, Dad

8:47 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Thank you Chris. Thank you for your service to this country and to the freedoms you mention in these blogs. Thank you for expressing your opinions, thoughts and feelings. I look forward to reading how things are going there in Iraq (from your perspective), and I too feel that pulling out of Iraq, with the job unfinished, is not the right move. That is an easy thing for me to say as I sit comfortably in my house doing all of the things that I do day to day—but when you say it, I believe it! Why? I trust your opinion on these matters, because you are there, in the thick of it, away from your family, your friends, on your Birthday—as I celebrate my birthday with those I love most. You give your service (and sacrifice your comfort) to this country and that includes myself, those I love, and all who live in this land of the free.

I am not, nor are many of those who post comments on your blog, in Iraq with you, nor do we see the things that you see. We, as those on the sidelines, see sound bites and clips of what the media and different agenda-driven groups want us to see. These groups spoon fed us and try to tell us how to think and feel about most issues and subjects, and the current situation in Iraq is no different, but I refuse to only take what the news tells me, to be the sole basis of what I think and feel about a subject. Your blog has been an amazing eye opening experience to how it feels to be on the ground there in Iraq and a good source to let me know what is happening there from the perspective of one who is serving.

From seeing touristy sites around Baghdad, to explaining what goes through your mind as your living quarters are being attacked with mortars, to seeing the Tigris River and where creation begin, I get to be there and see just a glimpse of what it means to be in Iraq and what you go through on a daily basis.

So again thank you. Besides, it is YOUR blog, and I think you have the right to post whatever you are thinking and feeling.
James Riley

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Margit and Tommy said...

Chris-
Love you and miss you. We are all so proud of you and all of the soldiers serving for our country.

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Margit and Tom

3:42 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

James articulated it PERFECTLY!!!

I know this comes as a shock to most of you, but I have little to add.

Chris, glad to see you back, and alive and well. Keep the real info coming, your perspectives, and your views. It is a great thing you are doing in Iraq, and online, protecting our safety, our rights, and maybe, just maybe, bringing some truth to those of us who are willing to see.

Love and prayer....

Larry

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Pastor Chris,

You continue to be in my prayers and the prayers of our church. You and all of the troupes are doing something I and many others are unable or unwilling to do. Yes, our troupes need you as do the people of Iraq. I do look forward to your blog each day, so that I can get the true update from Iraq.

God bless you and your work. Oh yes, Happy Birthday must be in order!

Jim @ EULC

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to have you back and Happy Birthday!! Love, Allison

9:32 AM  
Anonymous J Hall said...

At the time of one of the elections in Iraq, a family member bought me a button with the pcture of a smiling Iraqi woman holding up her purple finger. Underneath were the words "Worth fighting for"! I am deeply worried as you have expressed yourself to be about abandoning the Iraqi people. But even if we were just into self interest which it pains me to realize many are, then our own best interest lies in finishing the job. How can fulfilling Al Qaeda in Iraq's best expressed hope be in the best interest of America? Keep writing - I have added you to my very short list of blogs. God bless and keep you and happy birthday after the fact!!

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much. I have a friend who has been in IRAQ for a short while. And watching and listening to the MSM and later finding MILBLOGS has changed my view of why we are there. I have learned to take the MSM with a grain of salt.
Even if I don't agree with why we originally came there,I see that we are helping. And I feel it will be the children of today who will make IRAQ a better country in the future.
be safe and I look forward to future posts. cat

7:30 AM  
Blogger Cheflin said...

Chris,

I know what we are doing there is a good thing. My husband is Seabee and they were there at the beginning and they are still there today. As spouses we got school supplies together to send to the kids in Iraq. It is a good thing that we are there and we need to finish the job.

Keep up the good job.

Carrie

12:44 AM  
Blogger Shane Vander Hart said...

Chris,

I appreciate your comments. Thank you for your service and dedication. I am enjoying reading your blog. You are truly a credit to your country, and I am thankful there are men and women like you ministering to our soldiers.

Yours in Christ,
Shane

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Hey Chris, happy belated birthday. I dont peruse your blog as much as I would like and I heard a little about what had happened. After reading this and having a little background of what happened, I wanted to add my opinion, as I have earned the right also by being there 15 years ago.
First, I want to say, God bless you and my prayers are with you. I am very proud that you are there and standing up for what you beleive is right. I still feel on somedays when I think about you, that I should be there by your side protecting you. Then, I am thankful, that I served my time and that a new generation is serving on my behalf. Thank you again.
Now, I dont normally talk politics, and I wont specificly talk them now. I just want to make a few points about the perseption and prejudge that is going on now that the "Dems" are taking over. I really liked your analogy about the surgery, so I am going to use it a little here. The prejudging is that since there is a dem majority, the usa is headed for imorality and we are going to turn and run from the war. Could it happen, sure, will it, I do not beleive it will and this is why. Democrats are smart people to, if we use the surgery, what you are saying is, Doctor one started the surgery and it turned messy, now, Doctor ones shift is over and Doctor 2 has taken over. Doctor 2 didn't think the surgery was a good idea, but, guess what, he is still a doctor, he knows how to perform surgery and he will do his best to finish what was started. Now, will we leave Iraq, I would guess we will eventually, maybe faster then we are planning, or not planning to do now, but I really dont like the idea that we changed some politicians, now we are going to turn and run. This country wouldn't survive if that is how we ran things in the past and it wont if that is how we do in the future.

I think I will stop there, to talk anymore about it, it would turn into a political debate and that is not my intent. This is an old post anyway, so I am not entirely sure it will be seen. But, I do feel better that I was free to speak my opinion.

God bless you Chris and keep up the great work there. We are all praying for you and hope to see you again real soon.

And what is up with the Vikings, and my fantasy team, they both have tanked. I was 6-0, now I am 6-5?? I blame the bye week and having to shuffle so much, yeah, that is it.

Later,
Scott

7:51 PM  
Blogger Christian said...

Hi Scott,
I liked where you went with my analogy. I hope and pray that you're right. In fact, on the post I erased, I commented that I hope the new leadership will experience success, because we're all Americans and what is good for the Democrats will be good for all Americans. I don't care who gets the credit as long as we finish the job here in Iraq and help establish a safe and free nation. Thanks for your comments- this is what our country is all about.
God bless!
Chris

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Chris!
Just a short note to say i read your analogy and loved it! Keep up with all you do and we will keep you all in our prayers.

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Chris!
I know you're busy and don't have a lot of time on your hands, so this will be short! Keep up the good work there and we'll keep praying for all of you here!

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a Proud Army Mom thank you for the time you have taken in sharing. I firmly stand behind you and all our military. Everyone has a right to their opinions but there is a time and place to air them. As my favorite bumper sticker says..."If your can't stand behind our troops ..feel free to stand in front of them.." Take care, be safe and keep up the good work.
DDoggsMom

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,
You're in my prayers and we miss you at LCC. Happy Birthday recently. I just had a birthday too (5th)- what a place to spend it in but I know you are there for a reason. We're proud of you and wish you a safe return. A man I know from USDA Rural Development is in Irag (as a government employee) helping the people to become productive in the agricultural area. His name is Randy Frescoln - say a prayer for him too please. A civilian going over to help set up a system is very risky too. Take care. njo

3:48 AM  

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