Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm back!

Funny that I write only when I have time, and when I have time, that means that I am not:

Being a Dad or,
Working or Studying.

I've been caught up doing a bunch of stuff, I am finally producing code at work, which is very exciting for me. Two weeks ago I was assigned a tasks that involved creating software that didn't exists. To me that's as good as it gets.

On the home front I've been doing a lot of home improvement and a lot of reading. So I have not been online as often as before.

War Journal

Today among other things, I cleared up a storage room we were renting in order to save some money, one of the things I found was a Journal I kept when I was in Iraq. I was browsing trough it reading my thoughts four years ago. It was an interesting read. To say the least. It's amazing how much I've changed, and how glad I am that things turned out ok for me. I feel so crappy when I think of all the people who weren't so lucky. The journal is filled with a lot of boring details, but I found some goodies in there.

Should I share?

Before I write an entry, I should share that before going to war I considered myself an "open-minded Christian conservative" I came back from Iraq an atheist, and I had reservations about the war, but I kept them to myself, this entry dated July 2003 was written when I was feeling total despair, we thought we were going to go home very soon, and we found out that it wasn't the case, things were going from bad to worse as far as the attacks were concerned, in Iraq, I had a lot of time to think about stuff, that's probably the reason why I had such harsh change of "life-perspective"

Wednesday July 2 2003
Ar Ramadi, Iraq

There are many ways in which the human soul can feel pain. Suffering, frustation, despair. There is of course, physical pain, There's stress, there's also the pain that comes after having lost something that can't be brought back. There is the pain that comes after someone close to you betrays you. I am not too fond of suffering, I am not afraid of it, but I realize that thorughout my life I have tried to avoid activities that lead me to it. In my mind the worst way to suffer is to have your life taken from you and yet still be breathing. It's a tease to have my life on hold, I live with the hope that i will get it back, but setting my hopes on a quick return to a free life is giving me pain. Buddha said that pain comes from desire, If one eliminates desire then pain will go away, but how can I stop desire? If I do that, then I am giving up all that I am. I am Martha's husband, I can't stop my love for her, I want to be with her as many problems as that brings, I want to be in school, that's one of my goals, I want to be a professional, have a degree in Engineering. But this place is keeping me from it. The Army is giving me pain, I am taking it, I've been taking it and there's nothing I can do about it. They say the 15 of July now it's July 30th, on Jun 29 they said no more River bathing ( we used to go to the Euphrates) luckily we got that back, but how long are we going to be here? the MAX time is still too far away, 6 more months of this is too fucking long, but I am completely helpless against all the events that are dictating my life. I don't care about IRAQ, what are we, trying to help them? they don't want our help! they want us out of here, they want to kill us, and what are getting from it? why exactly are we here? Are we doing anything that's "Good"? I hate to admit it, but we (the U.S.) are wrong, we are the bad guys here. We are not doing anything constructive, we are not helping Iraq and we are not helping ourselves. If there is a greater good for the US from this whole fiasco I fail to see it. on my level it's ridiculous, we are NOT accomplishing anything, presence patrols? what the hell is that? And that's not mentioning the "raids" TCPs (traffic control points) in which we disturb the "innocent" and all we do is make more enemies as if we weren't hated enough. I personally don't believe in the "innocence" of the people we see, for all I know they could all be plotting to kill us all, but there is no way to catch them all, and our attempt is a joke. We don't know who is where. We are here risking our lives for nothing, that's in my level as an NCO in Bravo 1-124th but as whole, how exactly is the US benefiting from all this? Hmm I better stop before they get me too. And all I want is to carry on with my measly life, get my things done, I am just hoping that all of this is over August? Sep? Dec? it will be worth all my troubles, my wife will still be there hopefully, I could resume my education, get a good job and move on, have kids, have fun, learn about this world of ours, maybe write a book someday, I read Farenheit 451 by Ray something, I forget, but it brought a great impact, wow, I cannot say enough about it. I completely agree with him, I share his point of view. I enjoyed reading it. I want to be writer, I should have known before, I know now.

It's amazing how the mind works. throughout our stay in Iraq I have never been afraid of the Iraqis, even after being at the mayor cell (middle of Ramadi) after they shot an RPG at us. Many grenades were thrown at our compound, shots fired, etc. etc.

Mortar rounds. they fired at us last night and the night before that, It's been at the back of my mind because I don't want to think about what it means to be defenseless against mortars. How do we shoot back? they missed but it was closer than the last time.
It was the loudest boom I've heard, I heard mortars before, I am after all a mortarman, but never this close to me. I heard they caught one guy, but they think there's more. I didn't tell my wife about any of this and not planing to either.


This was before IEDs became popular, I think the first one was in the end of July, but the Mortar rounds were scary. Funny I forgot all about this entry, I don't remember feeling this strongly against the war, this was in a moment of frustration that I wrote this. I am thinking about typing this journal and sending it to my friend Joel to see what he thinks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your journal, Jose. I really respect the Marines I know (okay, you and my uncle)who've served in Iraq and are willing to share their experience and forego blind acceptance of what the military gave them for thoughtful reflection and discussion of what we're doing over there.

Loralee Choate said...

People coming back from that place have so many different feelings and reactions. The only consistancy I've found? They always come back with their opinion altered.

Yours are really powerful and I am really glad you shared with us. You know I respect the hell out of you. I have always respected the opinions and stances of anyone who goes and serves, no matter what it may be.