The pictures are packed and mailed home. The room is empty of the television and DVD player; both sold to my replacement. My bags are packed. Tonight we held the official transfer of authority to our replacements. It’s time to go home.
I go home as I did in 2005; with hope that all of this isn’t for nothing. All of this: a year away from my family, a year away from our lives, the loss of over 4,300 servicemen and women, the death and destruction of Iraqi lives. All of that shouldn’t be for nothing.
I am both enamored and annoyed with Iraq. The people of this country want to succeed and for that I am excited for them. They want to have stability and security and the prosperity that comes from having the second largest oil reserves under the ground. They want peace within their borders and respect from their neighbors.
However, greed and anxiety that those in power won’t “get theirs” leaves a nation in the lurch as the powerful grab what they can with no eye on the future except their own. It is the shame of Iraq. Laws go unwritten. Corruption is still a daily part of doing business. Budgets are still not dispersed. All of this to the detriment of the people.
It’s frustrating that they can’t get out of their own way.
Iraq is certainly a lot farther along than it was four years ago which gives me a reason to believe in Iraq. Iraq is not dead, nor will it ever die, but its old Soviet style governmental structure needs to.
No one can predict the future. Last November a man ran an agenda of “hope and change”. I have hope for Iraq that is can change into something new and different from the last forty years. In forty years I’d like my children to come to Iraq and be welcomed as guests. I would like to think that they’d be welcomed when it was learned that their father was here and that his contribution meant something. Maybe they’ll visit the Babylon Ruins and stand where dad (or granddad) did and stand in front of the lion statue.
“This is the same place my dad stood back in 2009!”
“Aww, mom, can I get a soda now?”
I hope it's something like that.