Why on earth would I make a comparison like that? Does that mean the army is like prison? Absolutely not! I love the army and am proud to be a part of something like the history we’re building here. However, comma, there are some striking similarities between being deployed to Iraq and prison.

First: no family. Which means no distractions. No laundry, no dishes to wash, no dog to walk. You go to work, you go home. There’s nothing to do but work out, go to work, and sleep. As in prison, Iraq is a good time to get some college work done as there is no reason why a good distance learning class can’t take up at least part of your day.

Finally, Iraq is like prison because you can’t leave. Oh you might want to. You’ll make plans for all the things you’ll do when you get home, but ultimately, you’re here for a set period of time and you’re not going anywhere. And if you screw up and get fired and sent to another unit, you’re going to be here even longer. 

So a word to the civilians out there: Iraq is a time for soul searching, for getting to know God but more importantly for getting to know yourself. You learn what’s really important over here. Family. Time. Those are the things that Iraq takes away from you. But we are part of something larger than ourselves and what we are doing over here is critically important for the success and safety of our nation.

So thank a soldier tonight when you can hug your kids and know they won’t get blown up by an IED on their way to school. Try not to get frustrated when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, getting food for your family. 

Try to remember what’s really important.