We're out of Iraq and spending a few days de-compressing in a large transient tent city in Kuwait called Camp Victory before making the final leg of the journey stateside. Our arrival was in the wee hours of the morning and we we're greeted by comfortable buses. The stacks of seabags and backpacks were trucked right to the front of our hooch. We only had to drag them thankfully a few yards to our racks, dig out sleeping bags and collapse. Our flack jackets are now packed away and ammunition turned back in.
I'm writing this in a cozy, and I do mean cozy, internet cafe at the "Paradise Sands" USO center. This large otherwise non-descript building is awash in peaceful atmospheric lighting and comfy IKEA furnishings. If you've ever been in an IKEA store then you've probably seen a glass case with a pneumatic contraption making a kaa-shish sound over and over again flexing their signature easy-chair. Well there are lines of those chairs facing a couple big screen TVs. In the center of this cavernous space are piles of overstuffed pillows piled on top of matching sofa size cushions. I can hear the sound of dice rattling around in a cup coming out from a huddle of Marines playing a game of Phase 10. Along the perimeter are groupings of low over-stuffed sofas worthy of an episode of "Friends". Overhead are hanging playful Alexander Caulder mobiles gently turning in the air. You have to take your combat boots off when first entering and folks are padding about the carpeted floor in stocking feet. I feel like I'm back in kindergarten. God Bless the USO...this place feels a little like a mythic place that's on all our minds...HOME.
Those of you who've been gracious enough to follow my journey can probably guess my politics. I've tried to stay off of that soap box. If you ever read Victor Davis Hanson you'll get a pretty good idea where I stand. When 9/11 happened I was a card carrying dyed in the wool liberal registered Democrat. The religion stamped on my dogtags was Unitarian. Progressive ideas and thinking still inform alot of my core values. So, in many ways I, like alot of you, resist being labeled. But unlike alot of you and many very liberal friends, I have had the benefit being out here on the front lines in the War on Terrorism. I'm like the brother-in-law of Ray Kinsella in the movie "Field of Dreams" who, when finally seeing the ball players, speaks out of his epiphany those immortal words, "don't sell the farm Ray". This is a good fight. It is worth our blood and treasure. Let's not sell the farm just yet.