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Operation Iraqi Freedom Brings Enduring Love

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Operation Iraqi Freedom was spearheaded by Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations on February 5, 2003. The following month Saddam Hussein was given 48 hours to relinquish control of Iraq, an act that he refused. Then, on March 19, 2003 our war in Iraq began. In the many years that followed, our troops have fought intense battles in Fallujah and have attempted to suppress Sunni insurgents. Thousands of men and women have died in the line of duty. It is interesting to note that we have spent nearly six years in Iraq. In those six years, soldiers have displayed acts of valor and bravery. Some have gone on to marry Iraqi citizens.

In their October 27, 2007 article, “Love and War” for Newsweek Magazine, Christopher Dickey and Jessica Ramirez discuss instances of American soldiers falling in love and marrying Iraqi citizens. Often the brutality of war is eased by the prospects of love or even the more culturally complicated prospect of marriage.

Most of the difficulties in marrying an Iraqi citizen pertain to the socio-cultural and religious differences of the Western and Muslim world. Love, however, has been able to bridge those differences despite the many obstacles that would otherwise prevent such a union.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it fitting to pay tribute to those brave heroes within our armed forces who have sought and found love in Iraq. In pervious generations, war brides were more prevalent within the armed forces. A war bride refers to citizens inhabiting battle zones that are subsequently married to American soldiers.

The truth, however, is that not all marriages to Iraqi citizens have been American men marrying Iraqi women. Dickey and Ramirez discuss instances of American women marrying Iraqi men. Irrespective of these variations, however, what is interesting to note is the desire to overcome linguistic, social, cultural, and religious differences for the sake of love.

As many of us know, finding love in times of peace — among members of our own community that speak the same language — is difficult enough. Now multiply those difficulties by adding a war and socio-cultural barriers, and one may begin to understand the overwhelming obstacles one faces in attempting to marry someone during times of war.

The beauty of these stories of American soldiers, both men and women, finding love on the battlefield is that it speaks to the timeless and transcendence of love. As human beings, some would argue that we are physiologically wired to desire the experience of love, to fall in love, and to share our feelings within a social setting. In short, we are social beings.

The biological necessity that must propel the soldiers to seek love while acknowledging their own mortality and while inhabiting a foreign land with foreign customs deserves its own rigorous scientific research. What is certain is the ability to overcome the horrors of the battlefield for an opportunity, fleeting though it may be, to feel and to share love.

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About Jason J. Campbell

  • ArmyNurse

    My war-groom and I met during my deployment to Iraqi. Every once in a while, I yearn to hear of other love stories like ours. Unfortunately, there are not many. And of those that exist, few last.

    Bing search brought me to your article.

    Siobhan, hope your marriage has happened and you are enjoying a wonderful story. : )

    • Nica

      Hi ArmyNurse, Is there any chance I could ask you some questions?
      If you read this, please contact me at nica1324@yahoo.com

      That would be just great! Thanks a lot in advance, Nica.

  • Siobhan

    I’m an American woman and I was deployed to Iraq. Now I’m going to marry an Iraqi man. Edita, thank you so much I love how open minded you are. 🙂 awesome! D.. Iraqi men can marry Christian or Jewish American women. If they are of another denomination, they must convert to Islam. The Iraqi women can marry American men as long as one parent is a witness for the marriage. It comes down to the family and what they are ok with. Let me know if you have any more questions.

    • Nica

      Hi Siobhan,Is there any chance I could ask you some questions?
      If you read this, please contact me at nica1324@yahoo.com

      That would be just great! Thanks a lot in advance, Nica.

  • D.

    What about the parents of the Iraqi women? Would they allow their daughters to be married to a non-muslim man that easily?

  • I think Iraqi women would make good wives – so – for the American who fall in love with Iraqi women – go for marriage. Iraqi women are beautiful, and raised to take care of their husband. Once married to American men, they can come to the U.S., bring their parents, who can experience a better life, like the Iraqi refugees that I know who are now living in America. We all read of the story of young Iraqi women who are forced to prostitution to be able to help their families. Any single American man (or woman) who falls in love and later marry someone from Iraq can help minimize the poor situation that these Iraqi citizens are now experiencing. Kudos to those guys who already brought someone from Iraq to the U.S. I just wish that Iraqi kids can be adopted. That is the first thing that I would like to do.

  • John

    Operation Enduring Freedom refers to operations in Afghanistan. This article should be correctly titled “Operation Iraqi Freedom Brings Enduring Love”