For the most part, life in Iraq is hot and dusty. The temperature in the summer can get up to 150 degrees Farenhite. Since I have been here it has never gotten that hot. I think my hottest day has been 134, and that was down south, in Kuwait. Sometimes we get a strong wind from the south, and it is like standing in front of a giant hair dryer. The second part is dusty. The ground where I am stationed is made of clay. During the rainy season it turns into sticky mud that gets everywhere. The other 10 months of the year it dries up and turns into dust, fine, powdery dust. It also gets everywhere, and it is not fun to breath.
I am a platoon leader for a Transportatin Company, and we drive semi-trucks with flat-bed trailers. We hull everything from boxes of botteled water to other trucks, and we take it all over central Iraq. Since I have been hear we have experienced two roadside bombs that went off (I can't count the number we have been hassled by that did not go off), at least three Rocket Propelled Granades (all missed us) and only twice were we fired at with small arms. Through all of that, no one has been seriously injured. Everytime I mention this I thank God Almighty for His providential care. Most of the time when we go on the road, though, nothing significant happens to us. We take the goods to the people who need them, and we return feeling exhausted. After a day or two we are ready to go again.
I think that what we are doing here is a good thing. No, we have never found any WMDs. I don't know if I ever expected to find any. However, Sadam Hussein was a tyrant who paid lots of money to terrorists all over the world, and who even set up training sites for those who wanted to be terrorists. He slaughtered thousands of his own people, encouraged the rape of women and the enslavement of children, and who built numorous palaces for himself while refusing to do anything about the dismal conditions his subjects lived in. The world is much better off with that man behind bars. As far as the insurgents are concerned, they are not freedom fighters, they are mostly foreign invaders trying to take the budding democracy away from these people and return them to the ruthless rule of yet another dictator. I am proud of what my fellow soldiers are trying to do here, and I consider it a blessing that I have been asked to serve with them.
I am stationed near a fairly incredible archeological site, the city of Ur. It is home to the famous Ziggauraut, which I have always wanted to see. Now I have walked up the steps at least a dozen times as I have lead members of my company on tours of the site. There is also a very impressive burial site there. Many believe that this is the city mentioned in the Old Testament book of Genesis as Ur of the Chaldees where Abraham was born. There are some problems with that theory, but it is certainly possible. It is the site of the ancient story of Gilgamesh, the man who would be a god, and the site of the oldest library ever recovered. Once I was also very close to the ruins of the city of Babylon, but I was not able to get in there. I hope to get there at least once before I leave.
One thing I have learned here is that while it may not be true that there are no atheists in foxholes, there are certainly a lot less of them. I have been able to talk to more soldiers about the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than ever before. Even if they do not always feel the fear of death, the discomfort and being away from home make them much more open to the comforts of God's eternal love.
This is an introduction, so it covered a lot of subjects. I don't know how often I will be able to update this, and I don't know if I will ever be more focused, but we will find out.
The Peace of God be with you.