Chaplain (1st Lt) Raymond Leach
Task Force IRON Chaplain
From the November 17, 2006 of Desert Bulls
Sometimes we wonder if this military effort in Iraq is worth it. There's nothing like traveling down the highways and freeways in Iraq in the back of a HUMVEE for ten hours, or twelve hours, or fifteen hours like the trip I took today from CKV (Camp Korean Village) back 'home' at Al Asad Airbase to get a chance to think a lot about why we are here. When we are faced with the tragedy of losing Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and others supporting our efforts around us, we wonder all the more. Is this really worth the sacrifice?
I met a Turkish man who is working here at Al Asad, and he began telling me his story. His brother and other family members have been killed for no reason at all. He is happy that he has a chance to work here and earn an honest living where things are 'safe.' He doesn't especially relish the idea of having to travel the roads to earn a living, and he doesn't feel safe in the cities. That is because it isn't safe. Pirates roam the highways and byways. Terrorists drag innocent people out of their homes and kill the in the streets of the cities without a second thought. Is our presence here really worth it? Ahmed thinks it is!
Yesterday at Trebil I visited with some men who are driving trucks for us, delivering supplies from Jordan to Al Asad and back. These men are Dominicans, Spanish-speaking mend who wear crosses and are very religious. They are Christians working in an Islamic culture. They told us that they cam right after 9/11 in response to the terrorist attacks. They wanted to help, and this is the only way they could think of doing so. The are persecuted by the other drivers, because they are different. They have things stolen. They are jeered. But they stay, because they are our brothers. Is our presence in Iraq worth all the sacrifice? These men believe it is , and daily put their lives and well-being on the line to join us in our efforts.
I would never say this is a holy war. I couldn't even tell you exactly why we are in Iraq. There are certainly any number of nations across the globe that find themselves terrorized by dictators, held in oppression, in need of a superpower to set them free. Why are we here and not there? I don't have all the answers. I do know this. For we as Americans, living in a very wealthy nation where even our poorest are better off than three-fifths of the rest of the world, where eating out of the dumpster would be considered a feast by over two billion of our human sisters and brothers, it is good for us to be here, making a sacrifice on behalf of the downtrodden and impoverished. I would go so far as to say that it is a godly thing we do, perhaps the most godly thing we have done as a nation for some time. I believe that God gives resources and power to someone with the expectation that he or she will use those gifts to better the lives of others. How would God feel if God looked down on us and saw us hoarding this resources to ourselves, unwilling to step out and risk our personal comfort and safety to help widows and orphans stand up to the bullies and criminals on the block? I think God would be very disappointed, if not angry.
Is it all worth it? YES. Without a doubt. To sacrifice is to find the true meaning of life in this troubled world. Sacrifice brings a new perspective, one that does not take so many things for granted. A time of sacrifice leads one to welcome and embrace the comforts and safety of our great nation with a more grateful heart. Sacrifice develops character, and a greater willingness to help others rather than live a self-serving and ultimately unfulfilling life. This is a good thing we are doing. We are making a positive difference. It is worth it!
I read the Redbull Newsletter and found this piece to be especially moving as the debate about what we are doing in Iraq escalates. You can visit their site at www.redbullweb.com