Friday, April 13, 2007

Perspective: 3-month extension of duty in Iraq stuns a U.S. patrol there

Specialist Rodney Lawson had it all worked out.

When he finished his deployment in Iraq this summer, he was going to fly back to his division's home base in Germany in June and rendezvous with his ex-wife and two daughters for a two-week vacation in Europe. They were going to give the relationship another try.

But with the announcement Wednesday of a blanket three-month extension of duty for soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lawson knew his plans were shot and the chances of a reconciliation were fading fast.

"This has totally wrecked everything I had planned," he said Thursday morning as he slumped on an empty wooden crate marked "explosives" at his infantry company's base here in a rural area east of Ramadi. It was nearly 3 a.m., and Lawson and several other soldiers were preparing to travel to another outpost for the night.

"Now I'm never going to get together with my ex-wife," he said. "I'm scared that the longer it takes, more things could happen."

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune