Chaplain in Iraq needs encouragement

A chaplain in Mosul, Iraq was in the thick of the recent attacks there that killed several of our soldiers. Here’s an excerpt of his thoughts:

I found Betty on a stretcher being tended by nurses. I introduced myself and held her hand. She looked up at me and said, “Chaplain, am I going to be alright?” I said that she was despite the fact that I could see she had a long road to recovery ahead of her. Most of her hair had been singed off. Her face was burnt fairly badly, although it didn’t look like the kind of burns that will scar. What I do know is that it was painful enough to hurt just by being in the sun. I prayed with Betty and moved on.

After a few tense moments people began to move around again and the business of patching bodies and healing minds continued in earnest. As I stood talking with some other chaplain, an officer approached and not seeing us, yelled, “Is there a chaplain around here?” I turned and asked what I could do. He spoke to us and said that another patient had just been moved to the “expectant” list and would one of us come pray for him. I walked in and found him lying on the bed with a tube in his throat, and no signs of consciousness. There were two nurses tending to him in his final moments. One had a clipboard so I assumed she’d have the information I wanted. I turned to her and asked if she knew his name. Without hesitation the other nurse, with no papers, blurted out his first, middle, and last name. She had obviously taken this one personally. I’ll call him Wayne. I placed my hand on his head and light stroked his dark hair. Immediately my mind went to my Grandpa’s funeral when I touched his soft grey hair for the last time. And for the second time in as many hours I prayed wondering if it would do any good, but knowing that God is faithful and can do more than I even imagine. When I finished I looked up at the nurse who had known his name. She looked composed but struggling to stay so. I asked, “Are you OK?” and she broke down. I put my arm around her to comfort and encourage her. She said, “I was fine until you asked!” Then she explained that this was the third patient to die on her that day.

As SGT Crawford and I walked away at the end of the day I saw another chaplain and a soldier standing among the silent rows of black body bags. The soldier wanted to see his friend one more time. We slowly and as respectfully as possible unzipped the bag to reveal the face of a very young Private First Class. His friend stared for a few seconds then turned away and began to cry.
The last count was 25 dead, and around 45 wounded. Nevertheless, Our cause is just and God is in control even when the crap is a yard deep. I’m where God wants me and wouldn’t change that for anything, even if it means death. After all, “to die is gain”.

Read the whole thing, and leave an encouraging comment for him and his flock.
Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

An e-mail from Fallujah

Lt Col Dave Bellon sent another e-mail to his folks from Fallujah, dated November 19th. It relates some of what he saw in the battle there, and includes some photographs.

Immediately following 3/5’s attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley’s and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.

Read the whole thing at The Green Side.
As always, you can get your Fallujah data dump at The Adventures of Chester, Winds of Change, and here.

Battle of Fallujah round-up

Our troops are advancing faster than we’d planned, killing more of the enemy than we’d expected, losing fewer of ours than we’d feared, and might be wrapping up Fallujah more swiftly than we’d dreamed.
To sift through what bits of information manage to leak out of Fallujah, read The Command Post.
If liveblogging with on-the-fly analysis is your bag, then The Adventures of Chester is your one-stop shop.
The Belmont Club pulls some loose threads together to make educated guesses about the unfolding battle.
Want maps and satellite photos? Two words: Carnivorous Conservative.
For your inspiration, Blackfive has video of Marines singing in Fallujah.
And please … say a prayer today, OK? Froggy Ruminations has an appropriate one.

Too late for terror to derail Bush

There’s just one week to go. Lately there’s been speculation about whether a terror attack might occur on American soil before Election Day, and if so, what effect it might have on the outcome of the presidential election. I’ve been mulling this over and I think it’s too late for any attack here to hurt President Bush’s chances. At this point an attack can only help him, and I think the terrorists know it. Let me explain.

Wolves

Rich Lowry at The Corner says the GOP is readying a new TV ad similar to the famous “Bear In The Woods” Reagan spot, this time with wolves instead of a grizzly. Look out, appeasement lobby.

UPDATE: Wow. Here’s the narration:

In an increasingly dangerous world … Even after the first terrorist attack on America … John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America’s intelligence operations by $6 billion … Cuts so deep they would have weakened America’s defenses … And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.

The choice is clear.

Terrorists murder Israelis in the Sinai

Terrorists have attacked and killed vacationing Israelis in the Egyptian Sinai in or near Taba with car bombs. So far, the front of the Hilton Taba Resort is gone. Stay on top of things with Google News.
UPDATES:
Three explosions in different resorts, and at least 30 dead 36 dead.
10 floors of the hotel have collapsed, and the injury count stands at 114 wounded 120 wounded.
Results of the two smaller blasts at campgrounds in Ras Shitan: 4 dead.
IsraelInsider reports Arabs dancing in the streets in Gaza and Cairo (please explain to me again what we get in exchange for billions in foreign aid to Egypt). Hat tip: LGF
Jamaa Al-Islamiya Al-Alamiya (“World Islamist Group”) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Hat tip: Digger
The Israeli military is on the scene and in command. On Egyptian soil. The IDF is also offering to evacuate any of the 12,000 – 15,000 Israelis in the Sinai who want to go home.
The tourists ignored a September 9th warning. I hope we heed ours.
Other coverage:
The Jawa Report
Backcountry Conservative
The Command Post
Little Green Footballs
Diggers Realm
In The Bullpen
Cardens.net
Darleen’s Place