Friday, November 30, 2007

Seriously, who could support such idiocy?

One of the worst things about being here in Iraq is that we are defending the democratically elected Islamist parties in power. Here are some of the great things Sharia-based laws have brought us this week. If you are of the mind that we need to "accommodate" this type of Islam in America, please do me a favor and kill yourself right fucking now.

  • A 20-year-old Saudi woman has been sentenced to be lashed after pressing charges against seven men who raped her and a male companion. (Whoa Tonto, did catch that last part right? Homosexuality is banned under Islam, but that only applies to catcher apparently. Ask any Afghan Vet.)
  • Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad." (I have named my roll of toilet paper Muhammad, bring it!)
Not sure yet, well, while it is true, Catholic Wedding vows include the phrase "A silent wife if a gift from the Lord" (wink, sis), the Quran (4:34) orders a man to beat his wife if she doesn't obey him? Check it out over at The Apostates of Islam Anyone tries to treat my daughters that way is going to get the ass beat - and not by me.

Thru my friends at a three letter agency, I have been able to get satellite imagery of the protest in Sudan mentioned above. Just don't tell anyone where I got this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Running on Java and Jolt

"It is impossible to know who to trust here - the best advice is to trust no one"

That is surely the best advice I got from the outgoing team, and if I didn't hear it from CI-Roller dude, I am sure he would have said it. Everyone here you work with wants something from you and has some scam they are trying to run. People show up every day with some urgent information we should drop everything in order to discuss. Most of it is crap, or recycled intel they were able to sell to the last rotation, or the FOB down the road. Or worse, they are from the "enemy/insurgent/AIF/ACF/freedom fighter/Abu dirt-bag/take-your-pick" and they are trying to figure out what we already know.

My Gun Truck
If you look really closely, you can see a Hula girl on the hood. Nice touch, ehh?

There's LNs, short for Local National employee - we have all kinds on the base, cleaners, guards, a cook, etc. All seem nice, but ... they all live here, and they will still live here when we're gone, so they are easily extorted is my guess.

Then there's the local interpreters, man I haven't seen so much drama since Bosnia (yeah, SFOR14, you know what I mean) - I can't even go into it, but we had to clean house on these dudes. Shady.

Last but not least is the force we are supposed to train up and support. Mostly these are good dudes, some are real Soldiers. But there are some who are insurgent informers I guess, some are in it to make money one way or another. And every time they tell you something, the first thing going thru your head is, okay what is he getting out of this?

With all this your guard is always up. Everyone always smiles at you, says "Salam", seems to be so friendly, and so interested in you. "America, good, good." Man, I'm from the East Coast and I don't trust anyone who's always smiling at me. I always feel better when I'm with the Joes, and Tarzan or Shameless says "What the hell are you looking at?"

So, business continues to be good here. The days tend to blur together, especially when we have operations at night, or we get mortared when I'm trying to sleep. Nobody even notices the occasional gunfire anymore, the Iraqis shoot in the air for just about any reason.

So night ops, they suck, it is hard to see anything when we are speeding down a road, and the truck in front of you throws up dust everywhere. And then there's the roads that look like roads on the map, but, when you get there, there's no f'in road. Okay, its a rush too, especially if we nab a target, or grab a cache. That's one less chance someone innocent gets killed. And that's what keeps me motivated at least.

Speaking of night ops, I have to make my first product endorsement - Jolt Gum. This caffeinated gum is just what a Joe needs after a long day followed by a night mission. A special thanks to Jacki who sent us a bunch - the guys love the stuff and it surely kept a few tired drivers alert. And check it out, I found this when I searched for their link - Jolt supports the troops.
If you need more gum (and we know you do), rest assured all online orders shipping to a military address get bonus free gum. We always throw a bunch of free packettes in the box to help you when you're humping through the muck and need an extra boost.

Good luck and get home safely.
Now they really have my endorsement.

BTW, we had a good Thanksgiving, and Thank You to everyone who has sent care packages, well wishes, support e-mails. We really are well taken care of by you all. Today we even got a few packages that had Christmas decorations, so we've started to put those up.

The care packages have been a big boost - a few requests we do have are dried fruit, since we have a hard time getting fruit, along with nuts (especially Pistachios, we can't keep 'em around) for protein, we do want beef jerky and popcorn, and baby wipes. I know other bloggers have said not to send some of these things because they are over stocked with it, but believe me, we don't get that stuff here.

Okay, I am going to try to end on a positive note, and that is I really am amazed at the stars here - they are so bright and clear. I love being outside at night (except when the moon is up [;) to gaze at the stars, they are amazing here. The only thing is Mars is always high in the sky, often right overhead, shining down angrily over Iraq. How appropriate.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Iraq. Here, well it is just another day. Another day out on the road, in training with the Iraqis, another day trying to put together the pieces of several puzzles, of trying to sort through, of trying to get through.

But then it is also not any other day. The most American of Holidays, it is a day to set aside differences and sit around the table and enjoy the bounty of our land together. To enjoy the company and conversation of good friends and family. It is a day not to take for granted.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you America. And be Thankful – for the food on your table, the roof over your head, the safety of your loved ones, the peace you enjoy in your neighborhoods. For that is not normal in the course of human history, or in much of the world today.

And Thank You, America, for your support. Thank you anonymous strangers who have stopped me in the airport, at the store, at the gas station to say thanks and share a story of a relative who also served. Thank you my wife, my mom, my family and friends. Thank you readers who send encouragement and support. Thank you my fellow Warriors. Today as I have a modest Thanksgiving dinner prepared by the best Army cooks, it is for all of you I am Thankfull.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Something Right in Iraq, Something Wrong in Massachusetts

Something Right

Check out Michael Yon's latest piece about the re-opening of St John’s Church in Baghdad.

Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.”
Something Wrong

Some idiot in Cambridge (People's Republic of Massachusetts) complained about the Boy Scouts there collection toiletries for our deployed troops (like me, who can't get any toiletries other than what my family mails me.) So the City government, based on the complaint of one whiner, caved-in and took the boxes away. Grow a pair pal, and stand up for what is right. Doesn't anyone teach their kids that anymore. Or I guess he wouldn't have actually gotten his position is he did that. Check it out here, here and here. The Scouts apparently spent $1,500 of their money to get this all set up. Please show them your support, for they stood with us.

Boy Scouts of America
Troop 45
PO Box 38-1241
Cambridge, MA 02238

Scouts of Troop 45 - We are with you, for you understand Duty, Honor, Courage, and Selfless Service. Let me know if there is anything I could send you from here as a heart-felt "Thank You."

And if you want to let Cambridge know how you feel about this, here is their contact info:

Marsha Weinerman:Executive Director

Cambridge Election Commission
Phone: (617) 349-4361
Fax: (617) 349-4366
Monday:8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday to Thursday:8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday:8:30 a.m.-Noon


Now, if you oppose the war in Iraq, as many Americans do, I can respect that. I can even respect voicing your opposition in public - it is a right I am sworn to defend. But to oppose Government policy, by attacking, disparaging, or preventing support for our Troops is wrong, dim-witted, and cowardly. Soldiers don't make National Policy, your elected Representatives do. If you are really opposed to this war, then put something at risk to end it. Get out on the street protesting, lobby your Representatives, do something. Oh, but that's right you're a coward, and you aren't going to do something that might expose you, are you. Or maybe you're just opposed to it because everyone else is, like so many sheep. Much easier to anonymously pick on some Boy Scouts.

I got something waiting for ya'

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank a Veteran Today

Happy Veteran's Day to all my fellow vets. Especially Bill, Jim, 'Widge, and the SFOR crew. And of course all you 'knucks in the Battalion. If you know a Veteran take the time to thank them today for the sacrifices they've made for our Nation.

I know I haven't written lately, I'm working on an update post, but I do want everyone to know I am doing fine - the hours have been 16+ a day, so it's been hard to carve out the time. Also thanks from me and the boys for the care packages that have come in! It is always nice to have a little something from home when you need a lift.

Lastly, I want to put another plug in for my effort to raise money for Soldiers Angels. Anything bought through my Amazon storefront, or anything bought thru the Amazon search box (both to the right) will result in a commission (less taxes) I am donating. I will also be donating my Adsense revenue. So, while won't encourage additional consumption - if you are going to by it anyways, consider coming thru this page to Amazon and help those Soldiers in need.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Holding our collective breath

Three IEDs were found in the small city we operate out of today. What is significant about this is that all three were called in to the IPs by local citizens who noticed something out of place. The police handled each one, and although one blew up not far from our gate, no one was hurt.

Things could still go to hell here, but everyday there is a little more news that things may really be turning a corner. To paraphrase General Petraeus, we'll really only know long afterwards when and if that has happened. For now I am going hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

"Six months ago, I wouldn't dare be outside, not even to stand near the garden gate by the street. Killings had become routine. I stopped going to work, I was so afraid," he said, chatting with friends on a street in the neighborhood.
-40-year-old al-Azawi