Luke had survived the explosion, but was left partially crippled. His first
responsibility was to get back to his men, and the second was to help them
find their missing squad members. Slowly, he shuffled his way back towards
Inside the tent was a small group of four men, the only one who was missing
was Roberts. Luke tried to explain what happened, but the other three
“It was an accident,” said the leader, referring to the explosion. “We were
just helping a wounded man.”
Luke looked at each of them one at a time.
“Look,” said one of the others. “We know we’re going home! We’ve been saving
this money for months now. We’ve got to repay our debts to the Lord.”
“I’m not going home. I want to go with you,” said another.
“Why?” asked one of the others.
“Because I don’t deserve to die,” said the man, “and I’ve saved enough for
years. You should be giving it to your family instead of dying here.”
The man was very convincing.
“He’s right, you should be giving it to your family, but you haven’t done
that,” said the leader.
“How can you say that? We’ve never even been in any wars here in Iraq,” said
one of the men.
“There’s good and bad in our life, and the bad is being in war. Some of you
have gotten yourselves involved in some very stupid wars. It doesn’t matter
how many you have killed, you will never win the war, and you will die
“There is nothing to say,” said one of the men. “We don’t have any money,
it was a stupid accident,”
“But we’re not afraid, you should be taking your medicine,” said the leader
with a laugh.
“Look, I’m not going with you guys. It’s just a dumb accident. I’m going to
die here, but that’s okay. Look at me. I survived the explosion, so I have
a choice. I don’t want to die.”
“How is that possible?” asked one of the men.
“I don’t want to die or live, that’s up to you. I could die here, or I could
go home,” said Luke.
“How did you survive the explosion?” asked the leader.
“It wasn’t an explosion, that was a bomb,” answered Luke.
“A bomb?” asked one of the men.
“A bomb which was attached to a mortar shell.”
“Okay, but why would they send a bomb into this area? How do you know it was
the militia?” asked another man.
Luke looked them straight in the eye.
“Because I’m here. I told you I knew their plan.”
“We’re not sure if they did or not,” said the leader, “but we just know there
is a plan. We came here to find a place where we could hide. This just might
be it. If we stay here they are not going to see us.”
“How do you know that?” asked the last man.
“Because I’ve been watching them for a long time. I’ve been following my
sources, and now I’ve found them.”
“What sources?” asked one of the men.
“They have contacts with the Iraqi authorities. They have some agents who
report to them. I’m sure they have informants in the local area.”
“Okay. That’s good,” said the leader. “It doesn’t matter what we know now,
just get those men out of Iraq. We cannot win this war.”
“I know, I’m not going to leave them,” said Luke. “I want to try and keep them
out of Iraq. Do you want to risk going home with them?”
“No!” screamed the leader. “This is our chance to do something special here!”
Luke looked at the leader and said, “If you want to stay out of this war, and
keep your men safe, then you have to help me.”
“What? You mean help you? You can’t be serious.”
Luke shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay, I won’t tell you where the
informants are, but you know that I can find them. Just get us out of here.”
“I don’t know where they are,” answered the leader. “I just know they are
out there. You don’t know where and when they plan to attack. I don’t know
what you’re talking about.”
“You don’t know where they are?” repeated Luke.
“I could kill you right here, right now, but I can’t. We’ll have to try and
find them,” answered the leader.
“I don’t know where they are, but I know when they are going to attack, and
how they’re going to attack. I need to find the informant. They have
information about the militia, but they don’t have the information of when
they will attack. We need to know when they will strike. There has to be
at least a fifty percent chance that we can find out the informant’s
The leader thought about Luke’s statement.
“It might be our only chance,” said he. “And I don’t think you would take
this opportunity if it were the other way around.”
“Fine,” said Luke. “My informant contacted me because he was worried. I told
him I would find out what happened. He said he would tell me when the time
“That makes sense,” said the leader, “But what has your informant given you?”
“A name of a fighter who has access to people in our village who were involved
in the attack yesterday.”
“That makes sense,” said the leader again. “But you have nothing concrete.”
“We need to get out of here, but if we don’t know who the informant is, then
we don’t know where he is now.”
“You’re going to find your informant by yourself, just as I said,” said Luke.
“You still don’t know when they will strike.”
“I don’t know that either,” said the leader, “But for now, let’s just get
these men out of Iraq.”
“Okay,” said Luke, “But I need to know before they strike.”
“It’s about time you had a plan,” said the leader. “If we’re going to start
over, then let’s just stay alive. You’ve been with them since you got here,
what were they able to do to us?”
“They have hurt us,” said Luke, “But they haven’t hurt us. They have been
very careful. Now, I’m going to get out of here. If I let you go, you’ll
probably be a casualty.”
“They will kill us if I let you go,” said the leader, “And you know it.”