Friday, October 03, 2008

Hidden effects of the war

I have been working with an old acquaintance in Saudi Arabia. He and I last worked together over 10 years ago in Los Angeles and while we were occasional pals we eventually lost touch with each other. I walked into our DFAC one day and there he was. That's the way this type of life is. You don't see people for years and then they just pop up.
I found out that he was in the sand box at the same time I was. When I was ducking mortars at Taji he was dodging rockets in the Green Zone. There are 4 of us (OIF Vets) assigned to this project and we really don't talk about the war to anyone else so when we shut the doors we chat.
His experience was pretty interesting also. He met a female Iraqi and married her. She is a Mechanical Engineer and is now employed by the same outfit that employs us. She is CONUS and they have a 17 month old son. On the surface it would seem like she got lucky but when you peel the onion you find that it ain't so.
Her parents were dispossessed of their home and had to flee to Syria. My bud has had to support them for over 3 years now while they are in exile. Their family has lost everything including a son who was killed in the fratricide that followed the invasion. She cannot go home as she married a Christian and would be killed on the spot in her old neighborhood for doing so. She is homesick at times and longs for the familiar to her.
Her family tells everyone she married a Lebanese and that she can't come home because the Lebanese government won't let her. So far this ruse has worked but I wonder what will happen when their son starts to wonder why he only sees one side of the family.
The other side of the family is another issue. They ask her some dumb ass questions like,"Ain't cha glad to be away from all those crazy killers?" "Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Iraq?" "When are you going to become a Baptist?" "Why are you teaching your son to speak Arabic?"
I invited them to come to my home for our overlapping R&Rs but it won't happen this time. It is Eid and they are very quietly celebrating this at their home. I hope they come at Christmas because if there is any house in Texas where an Iraqi would be welcome at Christmas, it is mine.
The Iraqi people were never the enemy. Their totalitarian government and the Islamofascists are the enemy, not the schoolteacher, the shopkeeper, the mechanic, the bricklayer. The war is almost over and we have won this round. Unless Obama unravels what has been so carefully built it is all over except mopping up and rebuilding.
Maybe one day my buddy's wife will get to tell her story. I hope so. There are so many hidden effects from this war. It definitely changed my life, it changed theirs and it changed the Bidens the McCains and the Palins.
All the candidates except Obama have a son in Iraq. I wonder what their stories will be?
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