We had a roundtable today with US Army Staff Sergeant Matt Sims, a combat medic wounded three times in the past 12 months (transcript here). He served in the initial ground war in Iraq, and was in Iraq again during the historic elections of 2005. He tells us his own story, but when asked for a story about someone else, he spoke of an Iraqi woman:
Well, actually, I do have a great story. It's not specifically about an American servicemember. It's about a Iraqi -- an Iraqi woman. And it's actually a really good, you know, uplifting story. When people ask me my opinion on the war, I actually tell this story and kind of tell them, you know -- you know, this is my opinion of -- you can -- from my story, you can kind of get your own opinion on how I feel about the war.
Me and two -- it was during OIF-3, during the national elections -- the very last national elections that they had in Iraq. We were doing security for one of the election sites and I heard a few of the infantry guys, you know, kind of yelling for a medic. So we ran up to the area, the line where the Iraqi folks were waiting in line to vote. There was a woman that was waiting in line to vote, and she -- an Iraqi woman -- she was very pregnant, nine months. She went into labor while she was in line to vote.
And so, you know, she was having a baby right there. So me and a couple of the infantry guys sat down, and she was in the labor for about 20 minutes. And she gave birth to a brand new Iraqi boy right there. We helped her deliver it. As soon as we cut the umbilical cord, got her cleaned up, got the baby cleaned up, she was so motivated that she was able to vote, because women had never been able to vote.
A lot of the people were never able to vote there. She actually left her brand-newborn baby with us and got back in line and voted.
You know what a son is worth in Iraqi culture. She left the American soldiers to guard her newborn son, and got back to the line to vote.
Pause and reflect on that.