And there I was, in the back of a Ford F150 pickup with three pesh merga soldiers sporting Kalashnikovs. We were rolling down the desert highway at 95mph. The midday sun was beating down, and was burning at 120 degrees. The hot, dry winds were whipping my face and hair, and I felt like I was trapped in a hurricane hairdryer. The view across the desert expanse was immaculate. Having an unfettered view of the terrain brightened the desert brown hills and parched yellow fields. The soldiers started to sing a Kurdish folk song, and when they finished I followed with "Eili, Eili." Oh Lord, my God, I pray that these days never end.