Monday, January 31

Meet Sgt. Missick

This is from Sgt. Missick, stationed in Iraq. He's an amazing writer and this is his "take" on the elections.

Iraqi Elections

Today is not simply a day for the courage and fortitude of Iraqi citizens who are exercising their right to vote to be displayed throughout the world, it is a day of celebration for all free peoples everywhere enjoying the benefits of representative rule and freedom of choice.

Today we welcome Iraqis into the circle of freedom's beneficiaries, and can take pride as a nation that we helped to make this possible. Regardless of the various opinions one has on everything from our mission in Iraq to the opinions I express on this site, today I hope we can at least pause and recognize the bravery of Iraq's voting citizenry and stand welcoming them with open arms to freedom's ever expanding circle.

It is hard for us as Americans to recognize the sacrifice many of these folks are taking. With leaflets declaring that their lives are at risk for voting littering the streets, and polling places being bombed and riddled with small arms fire, they truly are taking a step on their own today to benefit their nation.

Obviously I have no idea who will win this election, and in all honesty, I believe that the fact that the election is taking place may be even more significant in the long run than who the short term victors are. After the tragedies of the last month in regards to the tsunami, I hope that we stand today on the edge of a tsunami of hope. The initial earthquake is taking place today in Iraq, and it is my hope that the effects of that political quake will send tremors throughout surrounding nations, inspiring a region to do for itself, what it had previously determined would be impossible.

Like Jason, who expressed in comments a few days ago that we have major problems with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, I hope that the tide of republican rule sweeps across Islamic nations, empowering the people who advocate peace and a coexistence of Islam and republicanism, and that we can begin a new phase in Middle Eastern history. Of course, reality dictates the road will not be easy, but let us pray that the road is at least being paved today.

It was fascinating to see soldier reactions today all around camp. One particularly poignant moment came for me at chow today. Huddled around one of the televisions that air Fox News, a group of soldiers stood eagerly watching the reports. Of course, a few sighs came from some of the soldiers when Geraldo came on the screen, but after the incident in the early days of this war, I guess that was to be expected.

There is a nervous excitement among many soldiers here today. There is a genuine desire for the elections to go well, for freedom and republican government to succeed in Iraq. There is also the ever-present thought that all soldiers have, that when Iraqis begin to accomplish more on their own, we will be able to go home sooner.

Surely this generation of soldiers will be known as the "Greatest Generation" for we are told that there is nothing greater than to lay down your life for your friend.

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