"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back to the Sandbox

I'm sure some of you already know this, but for those who don't, in about a month I'll be returning to Iraq for what will probably be the last (or close to it) tour of Marine heavy helicopters in that area. I say last because, as again I'm sure most of you know, one of the few common themes from the presidential election was that Afghanistan needed more assets, and the Marine Corps has already begun the process of shifting its ground and air elements over there. This has already affected the last couple of 53 squadrons going through Iraq; just after I got back last May, a quarter of the helicopters from Al Asad were sent to Kandahar. This continues with our deployment, placing our squadron in the unique position of detaching a quarter of us to the next MEU, a quarter to Afghanistan, and only half back to Iraq. And the Iraq we're returning to will be, if it's even possible, quieter than the one we left less than a year ago. It was described to us during Desert Talon as a "non-kinetic" environment; this means that very little is moving, including the enemies' RPGs and bullets toward our guys. So, I expect we'll have the mundane (though still important) task of slowly retrieving our troops from their far-flung FOBs and bringing them back to Al Asad so they can go home. I mentioned on my Facebook page that we'll be closing all the doors and turning off all the lights over there, and I think that's only a small exaggeration. Thanks to the joint effort between our soldiers and the Iraqis that started during the surge, we're at the point where we can draw down our forces and give the Iraqis a chance for a bright, peaceful future, if they want it. And though our presence in Anbar might end after this tour, I'm very glad that our last hurrah there will be one of boredom, rather than a mad scramble to be the last helicopter off the roof of the embassy (as some hoped and feared it would be). You've noticed my posting has been light as of late; this will continue until we deploy, as work at the squadron has picked up the closer our deployment date gets. I'll be sure to pass the word when we're established over there; in the meantime, thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and support, and don't forget to write (and send presents. I like presents).

1 comment:

Meghan said...

I like presents too! Only I am not deploying to a war zone so maybe I'm not first on the present list. :)