Friday, April 23, 2004

the other jungle

Back home in the US, man reigns supreme of the jungles of his own creation. While here in Iraq it seems to be an eternal fight against nature, the desert seeps in no matter where you're at. My base is an oasis with a wasteland stretching in all directions, you fly towards Syria and you might see a palm tree outside of a house and it's just a dot on the landscape. There are little depressions in the sand where the dew gathers and the infrequent rainfall gives life to green grass shoots. It's like something out of Dune or Star Wars. Fly towards Baghdad there's civilization, fields, roads, suburbs. You look down from a helicopter and you see the blocks go by underneath you and you think for a second it could be any midsized town in America, till you notice that whole portions are blacked out. We complain about electricity being out for a couple of days, wonder how long these guys with nice houses have been without power? Even after a couple of days with out power or showers you notice your veneer of civilization dropping away. Not a nice way to live.

We've bent over backwards trying to get basic services back on and the bad guys take it out. Don't they know that they're hurting their own people? Summer's coming soon and this place is going to be boiling. These jokers are trying to make everyone cranky and blaming it all on us. We're too stubborn and just keep going back and fixing the problem. The whole place is a tinder box and it's hard putting out all the fires. This is no longer an offensive war for us, it's turned into a defensive war. The regular Iraqi on the ground is getting closer to the snapping point and we're trying to keep the good guys calm while getting rid of the bad guys. The bad guys out here must love chaos. As usual there's no easy answer.

Welcome to Baghdad, at night there's hardly a flight that there's not someone shooting at you. They can't see the aircraft (hopefully) but as soon as they hear one coming they come out and shoot into the air. Mainly they're hoping to get a lucky shot in. A tracer flies by a window and we're banking and rolling which is kinda like gambling, they can't see us but we can't see them either, a great game of battleship in the sky. Wish sometimes the bet wasn't my life. In any case I'm glad I do not have to fly through Baghdad every day, I'll stick with the lonely desert.

Care package thanks,
Pop, thanks for the two 220 volt soldering irons, already using them!

Chad from Wake Island, the baby wipes just came in, thanks again.

Mary Ann Merritt, Women Marines Association and Girl Scouts from Romeo, MI sent a great box of goodies with Girl Scout cookies, toiletries and some great snack items, mmmm, thanks.