Yesterday, the 4th of July, was the last day of the last mission for me. It felt good to be coming back in the wire for the last time. Now, short of some freak accident on the plane, I will be coming home safe to my family.
My wife, of course, worried more about this one last mission than was really necessary. In truth, it was no more dangerous than the other 90 or so. But even us 21st century Americans with out gadgets and incredible technology still believe in luck, both the bad kind and the good kind. So I can't criticize her too much for being so worried. And I suppose when you look at the war through the eyes of someone back in the States, it's understandable. All the folks back home hear is car bombings and the number of US troops that were killed. They don't hear that the Anbar province, where I am, has turned from night into day. Where once the Medevac choppers were a daily sight, they know make a couple overflights a month. But even if I fell fairly safe here, my family back home just concentrates on the fact that I am in Iraq, and guys are getting killed over here.
Many people have wondered how the modern media might have changed the Civil War or WWII. I think we would have lost both of those wars with today's media. A Times reporter who personally opposed the war would have asked President Lincoln how he could call Gettysburg a victory with so many dead American boys on the field. Nightline would have done a special expose about the failure to properly plan Operation Market Garden, and call for the dismissal of the top generals in charge.
I've done the job I was given in Iraq. Securing convoys from Jordan to Al Asad and elsewhere, keeping my men and myself alive, and going after AQI whenever they give us the chance. Over 160,000 other US troops are over here, doing the job. But we may still lose the war because of the media and the politicians back at home. So I wonder if my job is really done.