Postcards from Tradocia


This morning there was rare cloud cover so I sat outside my truck and read, determined to enjoy what I imagine are the last habitable days before the punishing inferno of summer.

Then, a boom, like a taiko drummer had whacked his tympanum a few feet from my head. An IED, I thought – the explosion came from outside the wall, only maybe three or four hundred meters away, which (obviously) ruled out our own artillery and it was much too loud for a mortar strike. I jumped up on the tailgate of the LOS truck and I could see a plume of smoke billowing up, a mushrooming column of gray-white smoke gradually turning black as something caught fire.

I called it in to our liaison at brigade headquarters; I figured the gate guards had already seen it but I was pretty close myself so I felt like I had to do something.

The sounds of explosions no longer make me jump (unless they’re close), nor do they make me afraid or nervous; rather, every time I hear a the distant thud of an exploding car or explosive-filled sack I feel a strange sadness, along with a feeling of blind frustration. Every blast makes me wonder: what’s the purpose? What is this accomplishing? More Iraqi civilians are killed and injured than anyone else by these IEDs. That blast today didn’t kill any Americans (I don’t even know if any were wounded), but an Iraqi child was killed and a handful of other locals were wounded. For what? Isn’t the first rule of guerrilla warfare to win the hearts and minds of the populace? What possible tactical, strategic, or operational objective can be served by murdering Iraqi children?

Don’t they understand that all every soldier wants is peace, and that peace will only come through victory? The sooner the bombs stop exploding, the sooner us infidels will leave. If they want to keep killing indiscriminately, if they want to keep hurling themselves at the gates of our compounds to be mowed down en masse, then let them do so.

But isn’t there something I can do? I feel like a helpless spectator; I’m only 400 meters away and I might as well be in Minneapolis.


  1. Mom and Dad

    If only they thoughtm like you the war would be over, but alas they are irrational and cant feel the pain that you and all americans feel hearing such sad and senseless news.; I am so sad as you are to hear that such things go on and there is no solution for those people. they will go on dying in vain and never know that it will solve nothing. come home safe my dearest son, love mom

  2. Bryce and Lola

    I agree whole heartedly with Suea/a Mom..we’re so anxios t have you home—we pray a lot–we hate seeing little kids, along with big peope killed. liebe, g and g

  3. Some Soldier's Mom

    Even if they do not think like we, I can not even begin to imagine that the AIF think that these attacks accomplish anything… Do they think for a minute that a bomb blast will make the rest of the Iraqi citizenry throw up their hands and say, “Oh, you’re right! Let’s stop all this democracy nonsense and bring back the Ba’thists?” How could they think for a minute that the real Iraqis would turn themselves over to a bunch of murdering thugs? All the AIF accomplish is death…. their own and those of helpless civilians.

    Stay alert. Alert today = alive tomorrow!

  4. bleakmore

    I like how you keep it real. Mr. Jinxy is on vacation, so I have been shopping new blogs. I’m from Saint Paul, so I know how you roll!


  5. SGT P

    Look at this Delobi! Your influence has grown stronger since last I was able to post. Just in case you didn’t notice the note on your door, I’m back on Pad 5, kicking it in Hotel Pope. Stop by!

  6. Mrs. Melobi

    Good to see you’re back, Pope.

  7. alektra

    Of course, this is the argument nearly every pacifist has against war nowadays. It isn’t men in a field shooting at each other or wielding swords. It’s grandmothers and little kids being killed along with the true opponents.

    I think the most important difference, however, is that our military is made up of men and women like you. People who want to protect the innocent and helpless, and heal a broken country. Keep yourself safe. Your attitude, shared with your fellow soldiers, does leave its mark on the Iraqi people. Take care.

  8. kelly

    You are a the edge of this really happening, and I on the edge of my sofa watching. It is frustrating to sit here, worrying for you, and watching it unfold this way. I can’t figure out what to do either. I wish I could. You hit the nail on the head, as you always do. You make a big difference in what you do, you just cant feel it because you have the capacity to and will do even greater things. Keep writing, photographing, and being a great soldier Alex- we are all counting on it.

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