Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Anti-Iraq

The coffee franchise Green Beans has carved out a foothold in the Middle East over the last few years. Several months ago, a Green Beans opened up in Ramadi; the deck outside has become a nightly oasis of sorts for like-minded individuals across the post.

Some of Bravo company is there almost every night; I'm there every night that I'm in Ramadi. Other people drop in occasionally- some from other companies in the task force, some from other units. There are a few shadowy figures that come and chat now and then- they are happy to talk, and we are happy for the company. Neither party talks much about Iraq, which is fine with both sides. The deck is normally an Iraq-free zone; mission talk is loosely banned (although exceptions are made for particularly exciting or hairy stories)

Every night, the Green Beans becomes a refuge of sorts- a place about what Iraq isn't. That worn and dirty deck is a place to sit around and talk about home, play some chess, draw in sketchbooks, or write poetry. In between cups of tea and chai and Indonesian clove cigarettes, there's good natured flirting with the baristas- lovely young ladies from Kyrgyzstan. They've taught most of us a few words in Russian and memorized our regular orders; we keep them supplied in smiles and tips.

Last night was a little different, though. We broke the only "rule", and talked about Iraq. Everyone gathered on the porch was out of work- we had all run our last missions out on the road. We sat and talked for hours about the year; about the friends we'd made, the battles we'd won, the lives we'd saved. We talked about the successes and the failures; we talked about the prospects of the new guys. We talked about how exhausted we were when we got in from our last missions- how a year's worth of tension unraveled all at once, and we felt like sleeping for days.

Mainly, we talked about going home.


  1. Talk is fine, BUT come on home...

  2. Anonymous5/9/07 19:28


  3. Forgive me in advance if I spend hours reading over your past blogs (does blogger even track that kind of thing? - well, if they do, I'm apologizing now so that I don't look like a stalker.)
    I believe, with a bit of certainty, that my husband's unit is the one replacing your own. I've been searching, with many dead ends, to find someone who can give me an idea of what he'll be experiencing over there. Although I can't even begin to fathom or wrap my mind around what you all have been through, I want so much to understand some part of all of this...
    I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your service. You are an eloquent writer and I'm glad to have found your blog.
    Many blessings,

  4. Congrats on completing your last mission.

    Be safe on your return trek! I am sure this is not the last we will hear from you.

  5. What a great thing, the end of your part of this war (hopefully) and I will be among the first to welcome you home and thank you for your service to country. I hope you do a book tour with Badger 6, I would find a way to meet you and shake your hand, you are a hero son, now have a good life..........

  6. Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/06/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

  7. Sarge,

    I vote we kidnap him and force him to go out drinking with all his fans...

  8. Anonymous6/9/07 14:39

    It'll be good to have you home, man. God-speed.

  9. Anonymous6/9/07 14:53

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Very expertly written and very informative. I won't be able to welcome you home, but "Welcome Home!"

  10. Anonymous6/9/07 16:51

    I'm with Sarge and Angry White Guy ; ) Sure do appreciate everything y'all have done TD.

  11. Anonymous6/9/07 19:17

    It would be cool to kidnap and force him to go drinking with his fans....I'm in!

  12. Anonymous6/9/07 22:22

    Man, we're here and we're waiting.

  13. I can only imagine the thoughts and emotions. Sleep well and so glad you'll be home soon.

  14. Anonymous7/9/07 22:16

    Safe home, TD. Thank you for sharing your sublime 'voice', and for your service. God bless you.

  15. Anonymous9/9/07 07:39

    I just came across you recently and it has taken me some time to go back and read everything. I just wanted to wish you a safe trip home and to thank you for your service.

  16. Sit on that deck until you come home. We are so glad your time there is over.

  17. Anonymous16/9/07 07:29

    Women from Krgyzstan? Man, when I was there we had no female baristas. You are right, that place became a very good to socialize and almost forget you were in Iraq.