Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Two months have slipped by since my last update. It doesn't seem like that long. Time has a way of shifting meanings, definitions of what it is, that is. Time, Alfred E. tells us, is relative.

In the past two months we've held a vote on the constitution of Iraq. Little happened in the five days we were out and about in Northern Baghdad. It was a slow, lazy mission which the worst thing that happened is one of our BMPs sank into the Tigris River. We got it back.

The people we talk to on the streets are sure that Iraq's only problem now is getting rid of the foreign terror fighters so they can get on with rebuilding Iraq. I think the problems are a bit bigger and more that just that.

Iraq is still wrapped into the Corruption that was the Saddam reign. Payoffs and bribes are the way of life here. It's difficult for westerners to understand that taking a cut off the top is just the way people do business here. Is it right? No. But in this society where no-body got anything for free people ended up taking whatever they could. It will take decades to fix this...if ever.

The Brigade executed it's first stand-along mission successfully. The mission itself didn't get alot done, but the fact they did it themselves is the most importaint thing. We are one step closer to being out of Iraq.

The soldiers are fair. They have a lot more work to do, but by the standards of this part of the world, they are better than almost anyone else. That isn't snobbery, it's just that Arab armies have not build the NCO corps into a viable force, and thus the whole of the army is weak. Of course, Officers still function in a pale faxsimili of the "La Saddam Armee" where they take their ten percent off the top, and all their reports are glowing.

So I find myself at a point a few days before Thanksgiving, thinking back across the last eleven months and wondering what I am thankful for. Isn't that what we are supposed to talk about around the feast table on Thursday?

I am thankful we haven lost more soldiers this year. I am thankful my wife still loves me. I am thankful my sons are doing well in school. I am thankful my whole family is well.

I am thankful that someday I'll be leaving this place.

thanks for the cards, letters, e-mails, packages, thoughts, prayers, chants, etc. etc. etc.

dutch- out.


At 9:26 AM, Blogger Radiant Byrne said...

And some of us are thankful you are still alive and in one piece so you *can* come home to family and friends.

The chanting will resume now. :-)


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