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Well, to be a little more patriotic today, I am uploading a picture of the grill we used while I was stationed in the Anbar province of Iraq. Isn't she a beauty? One of the guys in my platoon would make deals with people from some of the smaller Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) around the province, and we would trade whatever we had on our base for things like lobster tail and steaks (the smaller FOBs got great meals like this as a way to equal out the fact that they didn't have some of the luxuries that larger bases had). ... Yes, it was just like M.A.S.H.

We had quite a few barbecues here. To the right is a kind of gazebo that we built, and behind is our horse shoe pit. We had plans to build a volleyball court, lol, but I can't remember if we ever did that or not.

No, it was not all hard times and living outside the wire, at least not for my platoon. We would go on missions outside the wire ever other day or every three days for one-day missions, but when we came back we "let our hair down" (yeah, that's kind of weird to say about a bunch of guys with almost bald heads).

Typically, it is during these times that we get to think. We miss our wives, kids, families, whoever. We try to think of what we will be doing when we get home, jobs that wait, jobs that don't wait. I (being called Preacher by most) had to think of other things, like answering the question posed to me, "Will God forgive me for being so angry in battle and enjoying the fight?" ... Good question.

How did I answer that? Well, I looked to David. King David was a master warrior. He killed tens of thousands of people, but yet he kept the faith through all of that. Actually, David was said to have had a "perfect heart" - which is a phrase denoting that he only served God and never in his life served a false god (it had nothing to do with his moral character).

David was known to have killed at will (look what he did to the guy who claimed to have killed Saul!), and as an infantryman who also enjoyed the battle, I am assuming that David had what we call the battle rage. Did David sin in this? I don't think he did.

I explained this to my friend who asked me the question while deployed, but I also told him of Romans 13, which speaks of God giving governments the sword to avenge wrong doing (a sword was used to kill, not spank). When soldiers, we were a part of that government using our swords (rifles, machine guns, whatever) to kill the enemy. As representatives of the governing authority, we fell well within the rights to take lives. ... But then I told him something else.

Yes, we are going to enjoy the killing, but there is a line that can be crossed. We can only kill those who deserve to die. Obviously, killing randomly is a violation - we would become wolves and not sheep dogs at that point. He understood that, of course, but the fact is that afterward he felt like a wolf because he had a blood thirstiness. ... Again, though, don't you think David had that same blood thirst?

We in America often confuse two types of people in our world. Well, let me first describe all three. There are sheep who are the everyday people who live day in and day out. There are the wolves who desire to hurt the sheep, take their stuff, and sometimes even kill them. There are also the sheep dogs; I am a sheep dog. The sheep dogs bark like the wolves, bite like the wolves, kill like the wolves, but we kill to help the sheep of the world.

No, liking the act of killing the enemy isn't really a bad thing. Enjoying combat isn't either. There are a lot of people in this world who have a sheep dog mentality, and more often than not the sheep confuse us with the wolves, but we are not the wolves.

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