Courtesy of the AP is a story that’s both optimistic and a little sad:
Quiet Iraq streets leave soldiers yearning for Afghanistan
Spc. Grover Gebhart has spent nine months at a small post on a Sunni-Shiite fault line in western Baghdad. But the 21-year-old soldier on his first tour in Iraq feels he’s missing the real war — in Afghanistan, where his brother is fighting the Taliban.
With violence in Iraq at its lowest level in four years and the war in Afghanistan at a peak, the soldiers serving at patrol station Maverick say Gebhart’s view is increasingly common, especially among younger soldiers looking to prove themselves in battle. . .
Soldiers who have experienced combat stress note that it is usually young soldiers on their first tour who most want to get on the battlefield. They say it is hard to communicate the horrors of war to those who have not actually experienced it.
“These kids are just being young,” said Sgt. Christopher Janis, who is only 23 but is on his third tour in Iraq. “They say they want to get into battle until they do, and then they won’t want it anymore.”
That soldiers are looking elsewhere for a battle is a testament to how much Iraq has changed from a year ago, when violence was at its height. Now it’s the lowest in four years, thanks to the U.S. troop surge, the turn by former Sunni insurgents against al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Iraqi government crackdowns on Shiite militias.