Hint: it’s not so light.
Insurgents fired five mortars at the police station on Wednesday in an attempt to “dial in” the location. Though I’ve learned to ignore them when they land at a distance, a sufficiently large and close one authored a ringing crack and boom, and I instinctively skipped to put both the fellow with whom I was conversing and a sturdy pillar between the direction of the explosion and my precious behind. I didn’t move fast enough, as he smiled kindly and said:
“You haven’t been here too long, have you? I’m used to them. Maybe that’s bad, but if they’re gonna get you, they’re gonna get you.”
There are some happy moments, though.
Days later, looking at the twisted remains of dead insurgents lent stark perspective: this is what death looks like, this is how and where the fiery struggle ends. All that these people were – very much like the animated Iraqis milling about them – is gone, and only a broken husk remains. I forced myself to look at them, and despite my respect for life and the tangible gravity of the reminder about war’s stakes, as well as the gruesome nature of their poses and and injuries, I remained oddly unmoved. Clinical. I’m not sure what to think about that, except an apathetic…
Pictured below between the Marines: Iraqi Lance Cpl. Abdul Rahman al-Ardolino and Delta Force covert operative Lt. Glenn Ellers Ellensburg, a.k.a. “Viper.”