Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not a Good Morning

First, I was awoken at 0330. The Marine Colonel who occupies the other side of my trailer had gotten up to do something in the bathroom that sits along the 8-foot corridor separating our rooms, and left his door wide open, his television blaring Fox News. I don't know what he needed to listen to while in the bathroom at 0330, or whether he ever gave any thought as to whether we would be able to hear it in my room.

Forgive the pun, but the Colonel is a strange bird. He keeps hours that don't really conform to either the day or night shift. Whenever my roommate or I gets to the bathroom first in the morning, he leaves his door open, and sits naked in a chair waiting for us to get out. He may be the best officer in the Marine Corps for all I know, but last night his eccentricity veered badly into rudeness.

But that was really trivial to what came next.

I accidentally slept through my alarm, which happens every now and then because I sleep with earplugs in so as to muffle the sound of helicopters flying overhead and the pre-dawn call to prayer from the mosques across the Tigris from my hooch. I opened my eyes at 0658, and almost as soon as I'd gotten out of bed and grabbed my shaving kit, the trailer rocked from an explosion in the distance.

Initially, I thought it was likely another mortar impact within the IZ, the kind that lands close but at most damages a storage trailer somewhere. Instead, when I came into the office, it was being reported that a car bomb had exploded in a square just across the July 14th Bridge from the IZ. A pickup truck laden with 200kg of explosives drove into a crowd of day laborers hoping to find work for the day and detonated, killing 45 and wounding 148 men, although the death toll will likely climb.

Think about it. These guys were just looking for any sort of manual labor so that they could put food on their families' tables, and then some ***hole without a family, wanting to go to "Paradise", ends their life. Even if one were to try to rationalize (i.e. Robert Pape) or justify (i.e. Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore) the terrorists' cause, there is no logical way whatsoever such a monstrous act furthers the cause of jihad. The fact that there is no link between means and ends should frighten everybody who believes that the best way to secure America is by disengaging from the Middle East.

Days like this break my heart. The 160,000 soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors of the Coalition are here trying to help Iraqis rebuild after 35 years of horrific tyranny. Yet only takes a handful of lunatics to undo everything we are trying to achieve in partnership with the Iraqis and increase the level of suffering for everybody . . . especially the families of those killed today.