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Trigger Puller Boots on the ground, steel on target -- the pointy end of the spear.

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Old 04-11-2009   #21
MikeF
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Default Payment in full....

You may disagree with me, but I pray and hope you will at least respect my integrity and simply let me voice for a moment.

I ask nothing in return...My words are free.

Simply confluence of verse transcending towards truth.....

Unfortunately, once you step into the stream you can no longer regain that thought.

No longer congruent as the river continues to flow....

Last edited by MikeF; 04-11-2009 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 04-11-2009   #22
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Thumbs up Mike,

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
You may disagree with me, but I pray and hope you will at least respect my integrity and simply let me voice for a moment.

I ask nothing in return...My words are free.

Simply confluence of verse transcending towards truth.....

Unfortunately, once you step into the stream you can no longer regain that thought.

No longer congruent as the river continues to flow....
You have found the true battle for hearts and minds and are conquering it brilliantly

Never forget, always forgive


At least those who follow us will still get it too

-Ron
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Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur
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Old 04-11-2009   #23
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Default

"For just one day, I wanna ignore our senseless fate, colours are victorious over the grey, stop to get controlled by the state, 4 just 1 day, I wanna forget the value of money and gold, I wanna live life my way, and lose my inhibition threshold. For just one day." -Kai Tracid

I suppose that is the confluence of verse as we transcend towards truth...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p15QSxkgjRI
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Old 04-11-2009   #24
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Default Conversation unfolds...let us not be discrete....

From the civilians....

Nice to see that you are still making progress and finding every minute of it so fascinating. The part on labels I found to be very interesting. Possibly because our language is abstract -letting one work mean many different things to different people, and .... but that's a discussion for another day. Anyway enjoy your rest & Happy Easter!

Use this forum to voice and we'll see where it goes...

My buddy Ryan would probably love to have a conversation with you on that considering he is in China where Chinese translates one-hundred and eleven into simply one, one, one.

v/r

Mike
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Old 04-11-2009   #25
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Default Roger all, word is bond...

as we implement policy regardless of own thought...simply time for YOU to think...

On Command

Leaders follow knowing the men will lead
Is that right so paradox?
Walk with me, my heart bleeds
In set verse

Truth be told, student studies
Turns to teacher
Remembering forever
Hearts delivered

Why commanders not realize
Still the men die
My heart bleeds
In recollection

Searching, Striving in introspection.
Circle unbroken

word is bond....
remember in command,
deeds not words
I walked that walk

Mentoring right way
absent self easy way
and so was what you call the surge
only truth, eventually to unfold....

Forgiveness is certain
but don't forget
lest we persist
to do it once again

All is paradox
one plus one equals eleven or three
not two
lest we repeat....

Nothing indiscrete...
towards confluence
we'll walk together
lest we sink in storm
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Old 04-11-2009   #26
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Default On religion

secular audience
I wish not to preach on this easter
you find your own way
my brother walked with me when i could not find my own way...

now you strive for yours....
I can't suppose to know your way
I just walk my path
hopefully convey

some resemblence of a waypoint
what i say
is so clear
if you but listen
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Old 04-11-2009   #27
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Default Can't you see???

You want war
but you do not
I will go
that's why they called me war machine...

If you want war
I will go
Pursuing all in occupation
no counter-insurgency

My thoughts are vague
at times
You would rather
analyze my actions from some lawyer....

Mike laughs as much as he bleeds
You are the one that knows naught for nothing
I know waited eight years after intervention as the towers fell
Nothing you said made sense, so now I vent....

It all bleeds towards the same
much as the river continues
Be not fooled
no longer

in your FOX news
as if that is truth
from the village i see
also growing and flowing the tree of liberty....
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Old 04-11-2009   #28
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Default Policy and Retribution....towards only resolve...

In the same means Poppas once told me to take down Turki Village..
He said, I did....
In the same means that I found my path and now walk away
Searching for control of my own heart and mind....

I found forgiveness

Andrew Poppas- Chief of all military
David Sutherland- Veterans Affairs
Gordon McCormick- Expert on COIN thus foreign policy
Nancy Roberts- Secretary of Education

Once the island of miscreants and joke
Listen to me, lest I go back to angry
and cause real revolution
this i know as i have studied well

You, never really know.....
don't be fooled by your careless use of words
Time for peace
I simply want to transcend

Last edited by MikeF; 04-11-2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 04-11-2009   #29
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Default with that

I'm complete.....

Take it as you will...

Final thoughts as you ask how I know...

It is not from those above me,

But the men that always follow....

They know truly how to discern, and they never comply unless it is truth....

Regardless of jellybeans, the pain will not go away...

Still I stand...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmVAWKfJ4Go

the only thing that's real

and so it persist...that's why I claim

time for a break....

Last edited by MikeF; 04-11-2009 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 04-11-2009   #30
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Default Epilogue in rhyme and reason

Sir,

You always do it your way. I expect nothing less from someone who mentored me to to things the right way, not the easy/safe way. Thanks for always being there for all of us. I hope Katy can make it to the wedding also. She looks like a wonderful lady. SEE YOU SOON!

Sincerely,


MIKE’S LETTER FROM HIS FALLEN FRIENDS


MIKE! What’s wrong with you? You need to let us go!
You have your own life to live without our baggage!

Mike, you have a wonderful life, a beautiful daughter, yet you throw it away with your inner anger.

Mike, think of us, sometimes, cry for us. But don’t grieve for us. We are all gone…dead in your world. We have been dead for a long, long time….

Mike, let us rest so that you can rest. Don’t suffer for us anymore. We never wanted it much less needed it.

You have lived for us long enough. Now, live your own life. Enjoy each dawn, cherish each of your remaining days with joy in your heart, live in each step and know that we will always be with you. Mike, keep living!

Please learn from your war.
Yes, you have lost influence over us. We have control!

Mike, love everyday! Recognize that you lost way too many days…Regain control and love yourself. Live and cherish your new beginning.

Think of us with a clean understanding that we also loved you.
We will now say good-bye.

ENJOY YOUR NEW LIFE!!!!
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Old 04-11-2009   #31
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Default Redemption song...

as if three birds are enough for US in this time that you fear the sky is falling down and armagedon is upon us...So foolish...so turns the widening gyre...

In concern of what I might do or what I've done to reason with my head...so dave says...I'm just no longer afraid to voice how i once felt.....alone here i am again...my mind in knots....drink and smoke some of you do....i stopped and looked in the mirror. I enjoy what i see....i now pray for you as you may be closer to dave...rhyme and reason and song 41 for you....as long as we talk we are still here....

walking the line i erased long ago....i will listen to you now

we stand for nothing at times UNLESS we let go....

don't worry for me...just think for yourself

if you're still confused just remember this is how i once conquered turki village and zaganiyah...

RESOLVED

When the towers fell, I was there
During the Thunder Runs, I was there
When Iraq burned in genocide, I was there
I am every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine

When the roads exploded, I showed no fear
When my soldiers died, I shed no tear
When my daughter was born, I did not feel
When the war is done, I cannot heal

Drowning in sorrow, unbridled anger deep within
A poisonous cancer just below the skin
Ravenous voices penetrate my thought
Please, please tell me all wasn't for naught

Alone in my cage I perpetually rest
Missing, wanting, needing my best
Determined to reconcile, obstacles to overcome
Always mindful, every mindful, back to where I'm from

Reset, Refocused, Reborn, my attention turns again
To my beautiful daughter, playing in the sand
Innocent and thoughtful, I begin to understand
The audacity of hope must always transcend

In the darkness of night, no moon penetrates
Politicians and pundits fear in rabid debates
Alone stands the soldier, protecting the sheep
Alone is the widow, no longer to sleep

As the darkness darkens, no end in sight
What is on the horizon, but a new morning's light
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Old 04-11-2009   #32
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Default Intersection of congruence

The Intersection of Congruence


By chance of quest, does my heart not prize my brain?
Of course not, each independent but the same.
This swelling inside, I know not fully through,
All I can do is gasp, I solely want you.

Aroused from introspection, aloof no more,
Intense passion swells, and I know.
Intensity of desire embraces chance,
Abandons reason, takes form in glance.

Passion dances in the breath of bliss,
Awaiting the moment to taste your kiss.
Restlessly I await, patience must persist,
Abandoning pursuit of pleasure for love forever.

My heart races, I no longer think.
Where have you been? Where did I go?
Minds meld; moreover,
we are one.
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Old 04-11-2009   #33
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Default The Second Coming

“The Second Coming”
William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
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Old 04-11-2009   #34
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Default Things Fall Apart; Things come together

Everything I have is now free, so we can all heal

To Yahweh, for carrying me when I could not
To Taylor, so that you may know your daddy
To my walking wounded, so that you may learn to live
To my fallen paratroopers, I love you, and I’ll see you one day on the big drop zone in the sky
To the children of Iraq, that you may one day know peace
To my fellow citizens, may you find the truth
To Major Aziz, my brother in arms
To Katy, for loving me irrationally
Inshallah
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Old 04-11-2009   #35
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Default Prologue

PROLOGUE

You never really know what is going through another man’s mind or the path that he walks. For veterans, the path is more obscure. He could be your grandfather, uncle, brother, or husband. He could be the homeless guy on the street. He may be the smartly dressed businessman in your office or the art collector downtown. On the surface, he tries to act like you wearing a mask to hide the horror and rage deep within his soul. He strives to be normal in American society, but his heart is numb. Normal is juxtaposed with the pain and suffering he has lived. He does not want his family to know what he has done. He suffers in silence.

I never thought I could heal. After all the killing and violence, I felt that I had a penance to serve. I felt condemned to a life with hope forlorn, faith no more; a life without purpose and without love. I was a shell of my former self drowning in an alcoholic sorrow along the river of the Sierra Nevada Pale ale. Sometimes, I wished that I had died in Iraq. At least then I would have had a hero’s burial.

Instead, I waded through an insufferable purgatory walking through your world but living in Iraq. I would stare at you on the street wondering if you could ever understand. I saw you everywhere, but you never saw me. You were distracted by your IPod and cell phone: measures of self-medication that provide distance from thinking about your soul, purpose, and nature. That is the American condition I suppose. We are so blessed, yet we are so cursed at times. I was angry, and I deflected my anger onto you.

Yes, I am gifted with exceptional intelligence, but so what? My anger thwarted any attempt to be productive. I was emotionally bankrupt. My process was skewed- all goal focused. I did not, could not live. I tried to fit into your society; I tried to conform. I tried to wear a mask of the good soldier, the good student, the good husband, and the good father. It did not work. I thought of running away to homelessness or hiding in an office being nobody. It did not work. I forced myself on a path to resolution. I would either heal, or I would die trying.

After my fourth combat tour and six years of perpetual war, I spiraled out of control. I searched for hope and love, and I found nothing. I tried to eat, love, and pray. I tried yoga. I tried the church. I thought that maybe all I had to do was get smarter. I tried to expand my creativity. I tried painting, poetry, rock-climbing, mountain biking, surfing, and hiking. I found nothing.

I found temporary relief with alcohol. Drinking 30 beers a night, I could forget for a bit. For a few precious moments, I was not haunted by the genocide, the burning villages, my soldier’s faces destroyed, or my soldier’s brains deteriorating. I found relief. I spent several nights in jail for public intoxication, and I kept falling.

The Army was very patient with me. They tried to give me space to sort through my grief, but it did not work. Finally, in a last ditch effort, they sent me to Kansas. What the hell is in Kansas?

In Kansas, a transformation occurred. Magic and miracle are the only words to describe what happened. I watched old, crusty Vietnam Veterans break weeping like young children. I let go. I am not angry anymore. I am alive!!!

Nancy understood. Once, she had walked in my shoes. She knew that I saw the world differently from most. She reminded me I have one of three choices to make: conform, walk away, or voice truth to power. I chose voice. I understand the implications of my decision with regards to the Army. With my voice, I am walking away. I will now be considered too rebellious, too different. I am okay with my decision. Furthermore, I made a decision to pursue my new life with the same audacity that I once pursued al Qaeda. This is my story.

After years of endless trauma, Ralph Waldo Emerson emerged anew. He produced definite works in American literature that defined the American spirit of self-reliance for a century. He challenged us to,

“Be not a slave of your own past. Plunge into the deep waters, dive deep and swim far, so that you may emerge anew. Return with renewed experience and deeper understanding.”

Let us tackle his challenge. Let us strive to be the next greatest generation. Let our children live. Follow me. I will share my story. It is raw, real, and true. It is interesting and important. It is a tragedy, but it is mostly a story of hope, acceptance, forgiveness, validation, and love. As the president proclaims, “The audacity of hope must transcend.”

Thank you for reading this. I am not sure if you are ready to hear it, but it is time. God bless you, and God Bless the United States of America. Tomorrow is a new day. Let us not forget our past lest we are forced to repeat it.
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Old 04-11-2009   #36
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Default Chapter one: All roads lead to zag....

CHAPTER ONE: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ZAGANIYAH


“Osama, baah! Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.”

-Pakistani General (Ret) Bashir
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time


"Mike, they're miscreants. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less....You call them jihadists, and you don't understand what jihad means. You've just infuriated 2 billion Muslims and given credence to their cause. They’re simply miscreants." -Pakistani Infantry Officer
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Old 04-11-2009   #37
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Default the false beginning...

The False Beginning

March 19, 2003. In the beginning, we believed that all roads led to Baghdad. The quiet weeping of the survivors’ mourning echoed from the ashes of the twin towers across the Atlantic through the vast expanse of the Kuwaiti desert. The time for retribution had come. It seemed so right, so just. Finally, we would dismantle Saddam and the Baath Party and show the world what happens when the gentle giant is disturbed. It was time to demonstrate the full might of American Power on those that would seek us harm. We conducted the final inspections of our seventy-ton war machines, wrote our final goodbyes to our families, prayed to the God of Abraham for protection, and stormed through the breach.

Hundreds of miles to the east, the sun’s rays pierced through the darkness in yet another display of its endless cycle, and a young boy was awakened by his father. Today would be different for him. He would not work in the fields. Instead he would attend the madrassa for schooling, one of thousands built by Osama with Saudi Arabian oil money funneled under the guise of charity while the rest of the world slept. Unbeknownst to him, his indoctrination into an ideology of hate, a sick, twisted interpretation of Mohammed’s works, would begin. Today this cancer would continue to spread across the Muslim world.

Two thousand miles away, locked deep inside of his basement, a burly American forced himself to sort through the countless pile of correspondences that had accumulated; however, his thoughts drifted on how to tell his story, raise the money, and educate the children. He is not one of us. He is a different breed.

In the beginning, Pandora’s Box was cracked, civilizations clashed, innocence was lost, and everything unraveled.
In the beginning, we were wrong.
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Old 04-11-2009   #38
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Default The americans are coming

The Americans are Coming

With shock and awe, we stormed across the desert seizing Talil Airfield and destroying the 11th Infantry Division. In the aftermath, LT Aziz assembled his men and launched an early morning dismounted assault against insurmountable odds towards our mechanized forces. His men perished, and he retreated to fight another day.

In Mukisa, young men prayed their morning prayers, said goodbye to their families, collected their blood chits, and moved south to join Saddam’s Fedayeen.

In Zaganiyah, Mustafa followed his family as the Zuharie tribe gathered. Sheik Septar called the meeting to announce that the Americans are coming. He determined that the Zuharies would wait to greet them. All is well. They would wait it out. In time, the wealth would flow as they secured contracts for their trucking company that transported goods to Jordan.

In Janazeer, Sheik Adnon prepared his household for the Tamimi meeting at Sheik Raad’s compound. The Tamimi tribal network successfully collaborated with the Americans across the Persian Gulf from the transportation companies to the dining facilities. Soon, Saddam would be gone. Soon, fortunes would be made. These preparations were essential.

In Baghdad, a truck driver we will call Ali huddled with his family as an artillery unit from the Republican Guard established firing positions in their neighborhood.

In An Nasiriyah, an unknown man we will call Haji was stuck in his shop downtown. He did not know that the Americans would come today, and he stayed in his shop as the bombardments began. He worried constantly over the fate of his wife and three young children.

Eventually, our worlds would collide.
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Old 04-11-2009   #39
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Default First contact

First Contact

March 20, 2003. I established my blocking position as ordered along the main road west of An Nasiriyah. My mission was simple- no one is allowed to pass. I had not slept in the past seventy-two hours. I lost my voice screaming during my first night of actual combat. I was embarrassed by my actions-I had lost control. My ankles had doubled in size as the blood flowed down from the endless vibrations of the march north. I struggled to walk. I was a shell of my former self. The year in the desert had taken its toll, and I lost forty pounds. I was thoroughly exhausted both physically and mentally-further than any football, rugby, or wrestling match had ever taken me. I finally learned my lesson. If I was to lead my men, then I must rest and take care of myself. I would never again lose my wits under fire. The ghost of the Long Grey Line whispered in my ear ringing tales of “duty, honor, and country.” I could not fail lest they haunt me for the rest of my days.
I calmed myself reverting back to the breathing techniques taught to me long ago in scuba school. I found my happy place. I had to control my mind in order to control the chaos naturally embedded in war. Anything extraneous was rejected, and everything else was compartmentalized. I am stubborn man, so I was learning through blunt trauma instead of mindless repetition. My thoughts drifted to the future. Would we face a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack in the Karbala Gap? The odds seemed likely. Would the resistance increase? Surely it would; in retrospect, last night had been a joke. I understood that I would probably die in combat, and I accepted it. I vowed that I would do my best to take care of my boys. I became focused. I became emotionally numb.

That morning, Haji conferred with four of his neighbors who worked downtown with him and were stuck as well. A temporary pause in the fighting occurred, and they decided to attempt to venture home. Hopefully, the Americans would grant them safe passage. They crammed into the tiny sedan and began to travel west.

I was taking a short nap when the radio traffic picked up. A car was approaching from the east travelling at a high rate of speed. Since I was hoarse, I whispered to my loader to send instructions to acquire the car and tell the gunners to proceed with caution. If the car attempted to breach the concertina wire that we had placed one hundred meters in front of our position, then the gunners would engage and destroy it.

Haji and company stopped approximately fifty meters shy of the wire. They got out of the car, threw their hands high in the air, and began walking towards our position. I instructed two soldiers and an NCO to dismount the tanks and conduct an assessment. My loader alerted the company commander. Since none of us spoke Arabic, my boys used hand signals to instruct the men to disrobe and lay on the ground. The car and men were thoroughly searched, and my boys reported that this situation was not a threat; however, they did not know how to proceed.

I climbed off my tank and went to greet Haji. We allowed the men to put their clothes on, and we gathered for conversation. This engagement would be simple. We had rehearsed this scenario in Kuwait. Psychological Operations invested millions of dollars to produce pamphlets with pictures and Arabic that explained that we did not want to harm civilians, and they should remain in their homes. I shook Haji’s hand and gave him a big smile. He nervously smiled back. I showed him the picture of the Iraqis staying in their homes, and I pointed for him to head back east towards Nasiriyah. As he read the document, his eyes sparked in recognition; however, when I pointed east, he started shaking his head furiously. He pointed west through my position. His home was past my blocking position.

Now, we had a problem. My orders were not to allow anyone to pass, but he simply wanted to get back to his home. I decided to ask my commander for permission. On the radio, I pleaded Haji’s case. My commander denied it. Haji could be an operator trying to penetrate our lines for intelligence purposes. I followed my orders, and through a blundering series of hand signals, I forced Haji to head back to Nasiriyah. I suppose that my commander could have been right; however, I will never forget Haji’s reaction.

He burst into tears simultaneously pointing at the picture of the Iraqi family and west past my position. He was simply a broken man that only wanted to see his family. Finally, Haji and his friends got back in their car, turned around, and headed back to the office. In that moment, less than thirty-six hours into the invasion, I honestly believe the insurgency began. We did not have the answers. After many years of suffering, the Marshland Shia had great expectations for the American Invasion, and we were not prepared. We were wrong. I don’t know what happened to Haji. I never saw him again, but I think about him and his family often.

We continued our march north.
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Old 04-11-2009   #40
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Default Thunder runs

Thunder Runs

I do not remember much of the thunder runs. It was violent and fast, but it was too easy. We were in tanks fighting men with AK-47s and RPGs. It was like some weird made for TV movie. It seemed unfair. Firing a 120mm heat round into a man disintegrates his body. It is as if he never existed.
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