Love leads the way…

Patrol Base Murray
South of Baghdad

While the progress in Iraq is finally making headlines, the mainstream media still seems intent on finding the cloud in the silver lining. The networks tell you more than you ever cared to know about waterboarding, and the major newspapers continue to print anything that explodes. It’s no wonder the American people are sick of hearing it.

But the 3rd ID soldiers I’m living with see something else – something that assures them that what they’re doing is worthwhile. Something that makes them confident they are winning.

If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you know about the progress that is being made here in Arab Jabour, just south of Baghdad–businesses are opening and today I got to see hundreds of knapsack-toting children leaving their school – all waving happily at our convoy as we passed.

But not everyone is happy about this progress. And I’m not only talking about the liberals in congress. Yesterday, someone south of here launched two mortar rounds toward an area where U.S. troops were standing guard. The rounds missed, but unfortunately, one landed between two houses where some children were playing. I spoke with one Army officer who was there.

“Within minutes, we started seeing locals coming toward our position,” he said. “Among them were two small girls who had been injured by shrapnel from the blast. We couldn’t find their parents, but after several minutes of searching, we found an uncle, and the three of them were brought in to our patrol base so the girls could be treated.”

wounded-girl.jpgI was there on Patrol Base Murray when the girls arrived. They were rushed into the medic’s tent, and a very able PA there assessed their wounds while the command post called for a medivac. Within minutes, two black hawk helicopters emblazoned with the red cross symbol landed at the compound and spirited the girls and their uncle to the Combat Army Surgical Hospital in the Green Zone.

The five year old had shrapnel removed from her head and neck. The three-year-old’s injuries were more serious – a perforated liver. This afternoon we were informed that both should make a full recovery.

That little girl wouldn’t be alive today without the consummate medical attention she received, for free, from the United States. Even though we weren’t the cause of her injuries, the kind of compassion she and her sister experienced from U.S. forces will pay big dividends for our cause. It’s likely her entire village understands that our side is the side of peace and security, and that Al Qaeda and the extremists have nothing to offer but destruction. How many American lives this might save will never be quantifiable, but it’s undoubtably one of our most powerful weapons in this war. The cowards are being shown for who they are. Their every cruelty brings more recruits to our door. It is only a matter of time before this war is won.

And it won’t be won by bombs, bullets or armor, though those will be necessary to allow our greatest weapon to flourish. Love will win this war. One little girl at a time.

Chuck Holton

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