Two more days until Baghdad. 48 hours, precisely, until we start the invasion.
I wonder if you will watch it on TV as the bombs drop. Probably not. If I know your mother, she will not turn on the TV that day. Instead, she will play the Moonlight Sonata, over and over again, hoping somehow I will hear it and driving you crazy in the process. So, perhaps, you will look it up on the Internet. You will read that Baghdad has a zoo of 650 animals, and you may wonder how many will survive when your father is done with it. You will see it has about 7 million people, and you will wonder how many I killed. You may see before and after pictures. You may see even me, Marshall, Hendrix, Kerry, or Jazzman. You will read that the locals want to burn us alive. You will wonder if I am okay (of course I will be). You will read that the Americans won.
I’d tell you not to read it but that would be the wrong advice. If you are my son, you probably have the guts. No, I want you to read all of it. Every single word. If you will be angry with me for what you see, there is no wrong with that. If you want to break my picture, that’s fine. If you will worry, and even want to shed some tears, do it. If you want to miss school that day, you have my permission. But at the end, I’d like one favor. Ask why. Why are we here? Why are we doing what we are doing?
I can give you the answers I was given. Or I can tell you my reasons. I am here because, at night, I still believe that I need to leave a better world behind for you and for your mother. And because I have to believe that, when the raid is over, the images you see on TV will make your sleep a little safer, even if they give you bad dreams. In short, I am here because this is where my country needs me to be. A man has desires, wishes even, but he also has a duty. So, as the clock ticks, here are more of your lessons:
9. Pick a duty, and do it every day. (This is in addition to your first duty which is to take care of your mother; see Lesson 8.)
10. Read the paper. I started with the Seattle Intelligencer, but now I read BBC online.
11. Don’t – no matter how tempted you are – smell your socks before putting them on. If your mother sees you, she will tear your fuzz nuts apart. She has a point: if you need to smell it, you probably should not wear it. (I give you this lesson because Jazzman just smelled his socks and threw them my way. It is perfectly fine, under these circumstances, to call your buddy an asshole.)
12. Men, for some reason, tend to regress to animals when we are together. From burping to bragging. Enjoy it!