Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#057 In which our hero supports a soldier.

My friend Natalia was sent to Iraq. She's a reservist, and didn't expect to be called up. Both she and her husband are former active service, so they seem to be handling it well. Better than I would be, frankly.

Her husband keeps a small circle of friends in the loop, emailing us photos and journal entries she sends to him.
Dec. 10
Yesterday we had to go to a port in Kuwait. We get to the port and split up drivers and co-drivers. Which was surreal in itself, my first convoy in theater. We wore our OTV (outer tactical vests), Kevlar helmet, weapons, and had ammo ready. Every single bit of trash on the road was a possible IED, it brought it right home.
December 10 was my birthday. To celebrate, my mom came up to baby sit and my wife and I went out to get wings, then went to see George Carlin with friends. We had a good time, even if Carlin wasn't as funny as I had hoped.

But while we were stuffing our faces with hot wings and loaded potato skins, Natalia was putting on a bullet-proof vest and getting into a truck to travel through hostile land. While we were crammed into tiny theater seats to listen to George Carlin makes jokes at George Bush's expense, she was carrying her loaded rifle, ready to shoot back if shot at. "IED," by the way, stands for "Improvised Explosive Device."

Our circle of friends have asked how we can help. Apparently, one of the toughest foes a soldier has is boredom. To combat this, Natalia's husband has suggested sending DVDs for her portable player.

So I went out and bought 10 DVDs and mailed them off to the husband. His plan is to mail them out individually, so she's always getting mail. I plan on mailing more.

My wife doesn't understand why I'm spending so much money to buy DVDs. With buying the new house, moving, Christmas, traveling to California for Christmas and buying some things we need for the new house; we don't have a lot of money to burn. And frankly, Natalia isn't that good a friend; she lives in Columbus, and we don't really socialize that much. I'm better friends with her husband, truth be told.

Well, here's why. I hate this war in Iraq. I think our president lied to the American people, the UN and the world in order to further his own agenda. I think his bullshit cowboy approach has embroiled our country in a war that we cannot win and that will ultimately do more harm to the Middle East than good. I think Bush has made the world more dangerous for Americans, not safer.

However, up to this point I could look at the Iraqi War in a detached fashion; something I hated in a vague, man-that-really-sucks fashion. No one I knew personally was putting their butt on the line.

But now, I do know someone over there. I've sat down and shared a meal with one of the soldiers in the Iraqi War, I have a face to put to the names of those fighting this unneeded war in a foreign land. Unlike the hundreds of names I've read in the newspaper's daily "Killed in Iraq" column, this name is meaningful to me. If Natalia died, I know those she would leave behind, namely her husband and five-year-old son.

For me, Natalia IS the Iraqi War. I know there's thousands of men and women over there, all of them someone's mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or friend. But as far as I'm concerned, Natalia is the only one that matters. She might not be my best friend, but she is a friend and I care about her well-being. More so now that she's been put into harm's way.

And if I can make her life marginally better by sending her a few DVDs, I'm going to do it.


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