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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just Another Piece

Always, the smell of burning things. Today it is burning trash, tomorrow maybe it is the burning oil fields. To me this is Iraq. Last time I was here it was the same, garbage piled high in the streets until eventually it gets burned just to get rid of it.

Some things don't change. I remember driving through Baghdad and seeing the streets piled high with trash. Slick with grease, grime, and blood. Get enough of it all and you have your foundation all over again.

That is what we are trying to rebuild Iraq with these days, grease, grime, and blood. No wonder we can't seem to finish it all. There just gets to be so much of it that your feet slip and you too are covered in the same blood and filth, until your soul is just another piece of it all.

12 comments:

Trevor said...

I think your soul will survive. The grease, grime and blood don't have to overwhelm everything, even on days when they seem to be the prevelant ingredients in your field of view.

Kate said...

Beautiful writing, Zach.

Take care --

The Seriously Ill said...

When i was in the Amazon in Colombia, we had to burn our shit. Lucky for me only E-5s and below HAD to it so those of us E-6 and above generally did it once just to show we weren't dickwads.

Laura said...

Thank you for your courage to blog and be open about what it is like there. My prayers go out to you and your family and fellow soldiers. My nephew was there for a year and could be sent back at any time. I enjoy your postings from a writing perspective. Take care of yourself.

Nabakov said...

One of the few good things to emerge out of that bloody, shitty, muddy clusterfuck called WWI was some great war poets - meditating on fear, glory, futility and posterity filtered through the daily ration of boredom, confusion and fear. Siegfried Sassoon, Wifred Owen and Robert Graves for starters.

I don't think you're really there yet, but you could well be eventually. The Just Another Piece post is more than halfway to being the one of the most evocative poems to come out of this stupid war so far. Siggie, Wilf and Bob would have dug it.

In the meantime, whenever the whole thing gets you down, just keep thinking what would Benny do? Dogs are the best people.

Kate said...

I am not sure why the above Kate wrote "beautiful writing" under this post. Where is the beauty? It sounds like Zack is feeling depressed, consummed by his surroundings, overwhelmed, hopeless, like giving up, feeling like he is not making progress, or not making a difference - take your pick. I have seen some really beautiful pictures of Iraq that were taken by soldiers and marines. I suspect Zack can't see that beauty from where he stands - knee deep in poverty and filth.

Zack, your time there is limited. You will leave soon enough and return to the beauty of your family and country. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Iraq won't be rebuilt in a year or two. Even in our own country, with all we have, it takes years to rebuild after natural disasters. You are setting people free to govern themselves. You are giving them hope for their future - something they probably thought they would never have. It is not up to you to take care of everything where you are and 'finish it all'. With your help, little by little, bit by bit, the country will improve for the better. YOU are giving them HOPE and a foundation for a brighter future!! Perhaps if you ever return to Iraq years from now, you will witness the beauty that hides there today. Then, you will see that you DID make a difference!

I know you have a difficult task. I hope it helps to know that people from home and around the world are so greatful for your hard work and sacrifice. We stand with you and support you.

I keep all you in my prayers daily. One thing I ask for is peace of mind for all of you. Some prayers for that are comming your way......

Kristen said...

Its almost November!!!!! Whoo Hoo!!!

Will said...

I thank you for your blog: observations, pictures, & stories. My son will rotate into the Iraqi theater of operations. He is a Heavy-Track mechanic, but he told me that he will augment as an 11B. I have shared your blog with him; he sees Iraq from your eyes, ears, and thoughts. Thank you

Kate said...

Other Kate -- did I say the sentiments were beautiful? No. I said the writing is beautiful. There is a difference.

Take care, Zach --

Anonymous said...

Zachary, I'm wondering what your thoughts are about the soldiers that were taped saying how we are moving forward over there and that it has all been worth it...also what is the feeling about the election which was reported in a positive light in the US? I don't know if you can comment on these current situations. Your writing is beautiful and yet so sad. As your mother it is hard to hear your regrets, sadness, concern, and even depression and yet how could war be anthing but... war is dirty and bloody. How do you bring peace to all this? Maybe that will be the next self-help book out there; "how to bring peace to war." War has always been and is still about economics. Where's our pride in that? I love you, Mom

Hurria said...

"your thoughts are about the soldiers that were taped saying how we are moving forward over there and that it has all been worth it"

Moving forward? Tell that to the Iraqis whose lives are becoming more and more miserable and precarious by the day.

All worth it? Oh really! And what bloody right has an American soldier to say the death, destruction, chaos and misery he and his cohors have created for Iraqis has been "worth it"? Worth what? How? And for whom?

Anonymous said...

We Americans can't even begin to understand what emtional toll being there has caused you.You probably will never be the same or not for a long time.

BUT, THANK YOU FOR DOING YOUR BEST AND WELCOME HOME SOON.
CONNIE
NANNIE53@BELLSOUTH.NET