Thursday, October 28, 2004

IT'S A SMALL, SMALL WORLD

Today an insurgent group announced it had killed 11 Iraqi troops who had been taken hostage a few days earlier. A video showed the National Guardsmen reading aloud their names before 10 of them were shot and one was beheaded. This followed the news that 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers heading home were killed in an ambush five days earlier. I saw the pictures of the bodies in blood-soaked clothing laid out in rows. And I thought about their wives and what must have been going through their mind when they saw the gruesome images.

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, National Guardsmen and police officers have been killed in recent months. More than the coalition troops, the Iraqi security forces are one of the beacons of hope in Iraq. And they are being killed off, one by one.

We military spouses here have a profound connection to the wives of the Iraqi men who have volunteered to protect their country. Our loved ones are the targets of daily attacks and all of them face danger and death on a routine basis. And we are all fighting the same enemy.

A few weeks after the guys left, I had a dinner party for four other wives. I made Middle Eastern food – hummus, couscous, and a Moroccan chicken stew. Middle Eastern music played in the background. I wanted them to learn about the culture where our husbands now lived so they wouldn’t see Iraq and its people as a strange world to which they had no connection.

I’m sure if some of the wives of Iraqi soldiers were at my dinner, we would have had much to talk about. We would’ve traded tales of being glued to television news, raising children as virtual single parents and dealing with the stress of constant worrying. Although thousands of miles stand between us, we are all in the same boat now.