Sunday, May 20, 2007

One of the first missions

Evan's work is similar to a police officer's patrol. Sometimes he stands by for an emergency response-- Humvees gassed up, and loaded in case another patrol calls in for assistance. Sometimes they are assigned a specific mission, for example, checking out a tip that a cache of weapons might be stored in a particular building. Other times he will just ride or walk through neighborhoods.

Through a translator they speak to local residents about problems or fears they may be experiencing, and ask how to help. In one of his first missions, a family invited his patrol into their home for a cup of tea. They sat on the floor and drank a glass of strong, sweet black tea. The family said they appreciated the patrols, because they feared violence in the street from outsiders, and the soldiers patrols definitely made them feel safer. They had nothing specific to report or any immediate problems. They just wanted to express gratitude and hospitality.

I thought this was interesting, because one picture we get here is that every Iraqi is afraid to speak with the troops because they might be seen as "collaborators." But this family actually invited a whole group of soldiers into their home. I'm sure it wasn't missed by the neighbors. Something to think about.

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