Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas Trip and Other Observations...

Hi Ho! Merry Bah Humbug and all that rot… Christmas is OVER thanks be to God! OK, granted the holiday is supposed to be a celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ and all, but to those of us here in Iraq its just another day, especially those of us who are missing our families… especially my kids. Christmas #4 away… God this’s lame, but hell, I had a good time despite the “missing my fam” thing.

Specifically, I managed to get a flight out to Spiecher on Christmas Night. Now this in itself was a phenomenal thing in that I finally got to have a ‘birds eye view’ of the country again. My first flight left out of Victory kind of late. I’m not going to give specifics as there’s just too much danger in giving out info like flight times and locations and such… “Loose Lips Sinks Ships” is still a realistic fear. Case in point:

While waiting for a flight out, I saw a ‘gentleman’ come walking up to the helipad. I use the term ‘gentleman’ in the respect that he was in a Brooks Brothers suit jacket, and the rest of the outfit, from his arrow shirt to his Bally shoes screamed “Washington D.C. Bigwig” and was bec’ fin. As in tres chic. Well, what the hell he was doing travelling with us ‘commoners’ was beyond me. Usually dudes dressed like him are chartered their own birds, complete with heavily armed gunship escorts. Well, Mr DC as I’ll call him, well, he was obviously expecting the aforementioned treatment, and obviously, he wasn’t happy about flying ‘coach’ with us common swine. He was on a cell phone yelling at some poor bastard and lambasting the shit out of them, switching from Arabic to English and back and forth. Thing was he then started telling “Look, the flight leaves at “X” time and will be landing at “Y” time at helipad “Z”.

Whoa. Big Time NO-GO!!!

See, the Dirty Haj have the ability to tap our cellies. Lets face it, the cell phone towers are out ‘on the economy’ outside of the wire, and you and I BOTH know that the Dirty Haj use the technology. Shit, the Second Battle of Fallujah, the FIRST thing the fucking Jarheads did was waste the cellie towers so’s the Dirty Haj wouldn’t have their normal means of commo. And it worked… quite well from what I understand. The First Battle of Fallujah, they DIDN’T do this, and the Dirty Haj had better co-ordination because of it. The second time, fuck the locals and whoever else it upsets. Them towers got nuked first. So to continue…

I waited til Mr DC was off the phone, and went over VERY politely and asked him if his cell phone was a NSA (No Such Agency) secured cell. He looked confused and told me no, at which point I delivered a VERY POLITE but firm admonishment to him about Operational Security, and that if I was going to be flying with him, I didn’t wan t him broadcasting to the fuckin bad guys all the info they need to bag us… I mean if he wants to kill himself, then fine, fucking go for it, but I’d rather make it home to my family. I also mentioned that since he WAS so high on the food chain, (State Department I later found out… like the Mo’Fo’ in Charge) that the Bad Guys were probably LOOKING to bag him, and please in the future don’t be so fucking clueless.
As I was delivering this, his PSD handler (Personal Security Detachment) listened in, and was nodding like the whole time. He thanked me (politely right back atcha!) and rolled to get his bag. Later he came over and apologized pretty well for having been a dumbass, and that he was embarrassed that a contractor pointed this out to him, and that he should have known better. Either way, he was cool, and I got to correct someone WAAAAAAAAAY up on the Food Chain!!! God, it made my day so to speak… so to continue yet again.

The flight was long one. On a UH-60 Blackhawk. Good bird… just really REALLY cold at night in the winter. The only heat comes from the turbines leaking in through the roof. The other drawback, we had to still wear full battle rattle. In my case, an HUGE ass heavy fucking body armor of Dragon Skin and Level Four Titanium Plates. Wears on the back (send some Percs Mom!!!) and leaves me sore for days after. So anyways, the info that was wild was this… Baghdad is ALIVE and doing GREAT!!! The whole city, with minor exceptions, was completely lit up, and despite past things, there seemed to be an assload of vehicles, civilian, type many each boogieing around the town. Two or three years ago, the only thing you might see were HMMWVs or tanks tooling around after dark, and if you DID see a car, it was usually blown to hell by the Good Guys because the Bad Guys were the only ones who’d be breaking curfew.
Yeah, the city was lit up like New York or LA (unheard of in 04 or 05) and the people were out and about. Despite the Masshole Mediaheadache lying to you all, the people and country are coming back, and the infrastructure is coming back, as well as the power and other shit too. Case in point, they are now installing and almost done with the installation of all of the light poles on the way to Baghdad International Airport. The Army cut them all down back in 04 as the fucking Dirty Haj like to place shaped charges against them, and blow them up on convoys coming by. Now? Not so much. They’ve been setting up the new lights and even installed an irrigation system so that the route (Route Irish mind you, 2004’s voted “The Most Dangerous Section of Highway in the Known Universe… one hell of a title eh?) this so that the route will be green again and lush on the way to and from Baghdad.

(In Dice Clay’s voice) Dan Rather? Yeah… I FUCKED him!!!!

For real… No mention of this. No mention of ANYTHING positive STILL! I’d have to say, that when it IS all said and done, that I’m forming a group named “Iraq Veterans Against The Media” and promote senseless violence on ANY member of the media, print or television. Assault them on the streets… beat the fuck out of them. Firebomb their businesses… after all, they pretty much encouraged the Dirty Haj to do the same to the troops during the entire fucking war, so I say, like Karma, Payback is a MOTHERFUCKER. I mean how quickly would they buckle and bend? Even the government would be for this… at least the current administration. I’m buying that web domain name too. I’ll build the website on the side as another project, and I’m going to stock it with an exhortation in “weasel-speak” that I lift from the Earth Liberation Movement website… “weasel-words” in that I personally am not responsible for what happens, but if something does, I’ll condemn it per se.

But otherwise, the trip was cool. I got to visit old friends and we got bombed on shitty tequila. I ended up holding Gina’s hair (not the wife but the friend) while she hurled her guts out… she hasn’t had much along the lines of booze as of late, and the Tequila was a bit of a kick in the head. I ended up keeping her from barfing all over herself, and because of that, and that I got her in her bunk without too much hassle, I consider it a night well spent. Problem was, the next day I was hungover as the tequila was REALLY BAD. I normally don’t feel a hangover, but that day, Yepper… it was ugly.

The flight back was uneventful. I flew back on a CH-47 Chinook or “Shit-Hook” and that was great… fast, warm and I bought myself a set of ‘in-the-ear’ headphones for my MP3 player that aren’t available here on Victory, and wore those as opposed to regular earplugs. Yeah… flying on these birds, there ain’t no soundproofing, and earplugs are mandatory unless you never want to hear properly again. These lil earbuds allowed me to jam the fuck out to a killer soundtrack of Rob Zombie and other ‘combat style’ music, (read Heavy Metal and such) and it kept me from going deaf from the helicopter itself.

Otherwise, been back now about two days, and going to be trying another bounce over New Years with Lil Country to supply him and get all sorts of deranged out in TQ. It’s a bitch to get to TQ, so I’m gonna try bright and early on the 29th and 30th to get out there. Hopefully It’ll work.

Mom (my mom that is) wants me to place my mailing addy up here so those of you who want to mail me some stuff, can. Those of you who WOULD mail me stuff know my ‘real handle’ and I’m not posting that, but the mailing addy is:
The Intrepid Reporter (Big Country) My real name
3Di Technology
APO AE 09344
No porn drugs or booze… Well, booze if you can get it to me LOL! Beyond that, I’ll place some more pics from outside the wire like I’ve been promising in the next posting. I’ve been busy as fuck as we all know, and that’s just how it rolls. Until then, I remain the Intrepid Reporter, Big Country.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve Notes

OK Folks:
I promised photos from outside the wire, but I haven’t made a trip that allowed me to take said pics. Not that there’s been any danger, more of the line that A) It’s Christmas Eve and B) The only run I made out there was to hit the duty free to get a goodly supply of booze to insure I would be well lubricated through what I consider to be some insanely tough times. I’ve been trying for six plus times over the past week or so to go get with my friends at another FOB to spend the holidays with them. Seeing that my REAL family is in the states, and having a good time, I figured I’d try to get with my “Iraq Family” which consists of my best friends to include Lil Country, and get a load on with them. Like I said, tough times… one Christmas at home with a broken leg in the past 5 years… Fuck me.
Problem is, as in the States, because things are mellow, almost every single chopper flight I’ve tried to get has been cancelled due to ‘weather’ or some other such shit. Tonight, the sky is clear as a bell, but my guess is that the CW-2/4 flying the bird decided he couldn’t see Hong Kong, so therefore, no go on the flight. It was a piss me off in that I had to get ‘suited up’ in full battle rattle to include my Dragon Skinz and Plates and helmet, and since I made it a point of being there 45 minutes before the flight, I was wearing said afore-mentioned gear, minus skull bucket, as I waited, (apparently in vain,) for the helo. Not once, not twice, but six fucking times over the past week they’ve shitcanned the birds going where I wanted to go.
Eh… it’s the holiday. Let ‘em get the rest and chill mode when they can. My only piss me off is I’m stuck here, instead of with close friends, pecking out in a two finger mode this fucking report rather than winging it out to party central. Now this leads me into some interesting info I copped while hanging out on the helipad. Seems that when yer travelling in theater, you meet ALL sorts of people. Case in point, today it was the head of the U.S.O. contingent, and the head of the J.V.B. Now you all (or at least those who aren’t retarded) should know what the U.S.O. is… the J.V.B. I’ll explain to avoid the editor in the back with his goddamned questions.
The J.V.B. stands for the Joint Visitors Bureau. It’s where the celebrities and other such IMPORTANT folks come and stay at Victory and other major bases. In ’04 I met Toby Keith there in a one-on-one, and it’s where Lil Country and I got to fuck with that asshole Geraldo Rivera. (If you didn’t hear/see that one, you missed a classic ‘common man v.s. celeb’ fight so to speak) But I digress… I was on the periphery of a conversation between Ms. U.S.O. and the J.V.B. Lieutenant…
Now a lot of you back home saw the WWE (World Rassling Entertainment) show “For the Troops” that the McManns put on over here… It’s really cool that WWE comes over, and the setup and filming was done a few weeks ago. Me? I saw it, and avoided it as I was busy, and realistically, this gig was for the troops. They had ALL the major stars there and the idea was to have as many troops in the scene as possible. Unlike Kuwait where they wereWANTING my big ass to show up, this time I stayed out of the way. Let’s face it, I’m Bigger than MOST of the WWE stars. At 6’4 and 320lbs, and in pretty good shape, despite the steroid enhancement, I’d kick half of their asses, and ask for seconds LOL! Yeah… pure ego talking there. Anyways, besides hyping the Big Country stats, reality is this: I overheard the LT who’s in charge of ‘handling’ the stars. They stay at the J.V.B….and well according to the LT and these are EXACT quotes :
“They trashed the place… broke furniture… puked on the walls, the floor, all over, got drunk and wrecked their rooms. Bastards even left ammo behind… live rounds all over and other shit… they even got drunk as fuck PUBLICALLY (my aside… a big no-no… get drunk in private… don’t flaunt it) and then while fighting threw some guys into the pond!”
Now from my point of view: What a bunch of fucking assholes.
If I were in charge, the next time the WWE came here, each ‘superstar’ (read steroid enhanced asshole) would have a minder locked and loaded with a tazer to keep them in line, and if that didn’t look like it would work, a fully loaded M249 chopped and cropped Squad Automatic with orders that if these neo-primates got out of line, that they were to be shot, with all subsequent paperwork to read “accidental discharge” as the final result…. I’d even have, as “Officer in Charge” paperwork pre-filled out, with a ‘fill in the blank’ for the name of the cretin who got stupid and got shot in the process.
I mean GREAT that they come here for the line troops… STILL WHAT THE FUCK man? You come here, and act like a total asshole to everyone who is there to insure your safety? Me? Fuck… I’d be dropping them outside the wire and telling them to see if they can hitch a ride off of Route Irish. Ungrateful spoiled rotten fucking scumbags. I know ‘roids can fry the brain, but still… Pissing off heavily armed people? I’m just thinking they should be thankful that this wasn’t ’04-’05 under 3rd CORP as they would have killed these prick.
Anyways, It’s now officially Christmas, as it’s 0003 Hours, so Merry Christmas Everyone. My email has been fucked as the Norton AV I have won’t let me send shit (need to fix that) but as they say, Merry Christmas to all, the Loves of my Life, Gina, Ryan and Marissa, Mom and Dad and Hud and Amy, and never forget… I also want to include Kris, Paul, My God Daughter Mariah and Andrew, all the Rasicot Clan, as well as Broady and all the former McKesson Crew to especially include Spinelli, and Batman. Others include the people who email me and comment regularly to include Bob Owens from Confederate Yankee and FireFox down in Mass… I’ll holler after the new year. Peace and Love and God Bless
The Intrepid Reporter

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meanwhile, Back Home....

A bit of a change, as things are so insanely boring here in Baghdad. This dispatch will be about home, specifically one of the unintended consequences of the housing collapse. Specifically what I saw when I was home, and how I had to deal with it. That being said, sit back as the IR has got a couple of funny ones for you.

Ok ALL of my neighbors, all the Mil folks, my marines, Air Force Para rescue kids? I’ve mentioned them previously. To whit: I had two sets of wing wipers from McDill and a Prior Service Marine Recon kid living directly across from me and around me... we had a "watch out for each other thing" going... when the housing market crashed, a lot of them moved, they either had some divorces (real “Wisteria Lane Stuff”,) or walked away like a bunch of other people.
The Bank, in its infinite wisdom, then rented them to:

1) Two redneck shit kicker white trash motherfuckers and
2) A Puerto Rican drug dealer

So needless to say, the IR/Big Country is NOT happy. Good neighbors exchanged for fucking dirtbags? GREAT! The PR drug deal was OBVIOUSLY a dealer as we had so many motherfucking cars roll up at odd hours (1am and 2am) and had people jump out, run inside for 3 to 5 minutes, and then run out and leave, usually in a rush. The rednecks? Not so bad, but see the following.

The rednecks, well, I dealt with them first, as I’m a redneck, granted one of New England Birth, so I at least, like in the movie “Airplane”: “Yes stewardess, I speak Jive!” Well, I speak Redneck, and got the street cred as one… so anyways, they presented the first opportunity to let them know just WHO runs this here piece o’ turf. Back home, my Dad was known as the Neighborhood Asshole… as in, don’t even THINK of being stupid with his property or family, OR ELSE! I found myself in a similar position.

This one night, I got out of work and Household Six had picked me up, well, I was in full ACUs as it WAS work, and I was trying to project an aura of “militarism” that the company hadn’t experienced before. Anyways, we pull into the driveway and come home to the rednecks going all out in their driveways and in the street... damned near getting out of control... I grabbed the kids, ran them in, and had Household Six grab my Beretta Nine (over strenuous objections… she sees guns, as having been raised in The Peoples Socialist Republic Of Massachusetts, as an evil thing) I told her to move the fuck out, no argument (things were getting heated) and move out while I watch things... in just 2 minutes she brought it to me, and I had her haul ass inside. I then chambered a round (which is loud) and then tucked in into the small of my back.

Amazing how the sound of a round being chambered quiets things down.

Everyone chilled when they heard the gun, and then saw the Big Fucking Dude( in ACUs mind you,) meaning ARMY or MILITARY in huge letters, thereby legitimizing me as an AUTHORITY FIGURE. I crossed the street, and man, things mellowed quick…. I settled them real quick… Like Jules “Chill that bitch out!” mode from fucking Pulp Fiction. It helped that they all are small dudes, and then they chilled, all hostility gone, and all I did was tell them point blank that “Welcome to MY neighborhood and that I would brook no shit with this Red Neck Soap Opera. If they want to kill each other in the walls of their rented house, then fine. It’s when it spills out on the street… (MY fuckin street, mind you) that it now becomes MY biddness, and that I’ll do ANYTHING to keep things happy happy joy joy on my fucking street.

Since then, they are all good with us, even offering to mow the lawns for Gina as they are working for a lawn care company. They, at least were easy. They respect what I do, and respect the fact that I’m a big ugly mercenary motherfucker. I like them truthfully… “Red Necks Gotta Stick Together” as they say… save yor Confederate money y’all… it’s gonna be worth more than the dollar soon! So to continue:

The drug dealer.
Hoo Boy…

After all this, I figured it was time to share the wealth of my wrath, so I went over the next night (seeings that I was on a roll) and told him that I didn't care how he made his money, but the cars and shit at all hours (3am and such) racing around the neighborhood was a no go.
In uniform mind you.


Full Battle Rattle... as if I had just got off the range. Sidearm and M-4 slung.

Ok this's where it gets good He acted like with typical gang banger mentality. All Spanish machismo...
I told him that I didn’t appreciate his business interfering with the neighborhood, and that he was risking his life and my family’s life with his “business.” And that I wasn’t gonna tolerate it.

"Yeah Homey? What makes me think I'm afraid?"

I told him flat out, I didn't expect him to be afraid... just aware... that I had killed before, and would do so again if needed... by way of slipping in a window at 3 or 4 in the morning, and killing every single living thing in the house, and then burning it to the ground, or burying them all in the back yard... and then I told him that if he EVEN LOOKED at my house in a hostile manner, or that if ANYTHING happened to ANYONE in my family, (to include scraped knees) that I'd not only kill him and everyone in the house, but I'd go to PR and kill EVERY SINGLE LIVING MEMBER of his family, and dig up and desecrate the graves of his entire family, burn the family homestead to the ground, and salt the earth with Morton’s Finest.
And man, that’s when he sorta cracked.

The look on his face was great, as I used Marchinko-sans "in your fucking face" close in and personal manner and pinned him to the wall using my level 4 plate to crush his ribcage. Nose-to-Nose Full-Tilt-Boogie Eyeball –to-Eyeball skull fucking. GREAT fun if you’ve ever done it.

He was scared.... I could smell it. You, if you’ve ever been “in the shit” know the smell of a man in mortal terror. I knew then that I had won.

Then next day? My Mexican Puerto Rican back yard Neighbor that I call "El Mariachi" (b/c they play mariachi music LOUDLY at their parties) he's a retired E-7 and a buddy... he comes over and tells me that he had a visit from his cousin (who knew?) who asked him if I was as bad as I seemed... he told him "Hey Vato-Loco... that Grande Gringo is the BADDEST motherfucker on the planet, former SF, killed more men than Anthrax, and don't let nuthin happen while he's not there!"

Since then, the vehicle traffic has slowed to nothing, except for HIM leaving out to do his “business” and that it also helps I posed for pictures in the front yard with the kids and weapons.
Yeah. It would seem that things at home are mellow now, but it’s still really fucked up that I have to have this scum living in my AO, and that I had to employ some extreme measures to keep things from spiraling out of control. Seeings that I can’t be there to protect them, It freaks me out.

If ANYTHING were to happen, I can see me doing a “Frank Castle” ala the Punisher… I mean really, I just keep my prayers to the “Chief Sky Pilot” AKA GOD and that he keeps the fools from doing something stupid. So far, we’re good, but what with how things are in the US right now, I’m debating on heading home when and if we see a collapse of societal norms, and right now, I’m unfortunately banking on the “when” than anything else.

Otherwise… talk with you all later. Things are D&B (dead and boring) as they say, and nadda mucho happening. The next one I’ll post pics from outside the wire as it were.

Monday, December 15, 2008

OK Baghdad 2008

OK: Well, Michael Yon has left the building... Great guy, but seenings how boring thing are here, and how laid back things are here, I don't blame him so I'll take up the 'boring slack' as one would say. I have to report what I see.

Which truthfully isn't much. Beyond the kids begging treats and food, the Iraqi Parents who shoo the kids back from my truck, and the Army/Air Force/Navy troops who, to be truthful, are BORED, as there aint SHIT going on here.

OK: Bush's visit caused a bit of a 'localized uproar' in the respect that they set up "safety checkpoints" all over post... as in look at your licence, see your lease (if applicable) and make sure the vehicle isnt stolen, and other such ephmerea, but the thing that alerted me (I hadn't seen the news) that SOMEONE important was on post was that we had uparmored vehicles at every bloody corner on post, lock n' loaded so to speak, and that the guys who did the 'safety inpections' were all Sergeant Majors Or First Sergeants.

Now the guy in the corner is trying to wave me down: "So what if they wer SGMs or 1stSGTs?"

OK Poindexter: A 1st Shirt or SMAG as he's known, is an E-8 and E-9 respectively. These guys are responsible for waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than making sure some shithead contractor has his seat belted, or that his paperwork is in line... when these guys are out, running roadblocks, it means some shit is in the wind in a MAJOR way.

Such is what alerted me to the POTUS visit. I didn't actually learn of it until the late evening, but my first thought was that SOMEONE important was in town, as the same thing happened when Rumsfeld rolled thru in 04. Needless to say, I was glad this morning at oh-dark early when I literally saw Air Force One leave... Imeant life would go back to normal.

On the shoe throwing incident. I have to explain, seeing that people in the sattes doen't get what it means. To the Iraqi people, what that goombah did was MASSIVELY symbolic. The Iraqis consider the bottome of the foot, or the shoe, to be as dirty as an unwiped asshole. To them, showing the bottom of your feet is as bad an insult as you can give, and to throw one's shoes at someone, while calling them a dog, is THE ULTIMATE insult. Truthfully, if this was Saddam's Iraq, said reporter would have been taken out back and shot in the back of the head, and his wife raped, then killed, and his relatives fed into a woodchipper... its that serious an insult. The note being the footage shot of that toppling of the Saddam Statue, where the locals where beating the head with a shoe... its part of the local culture... for them/us to blow it off is a BAD move... anyways... fuck it, I'm feeling good, as I've reconnected with various Jordanian connections, so more late.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back To Baghdad

Been a few weeks since I last posted, but what the hell, it's been a busy few weeks. Work continues with me putting in about 14 hours a day (I contracted 40 a week) but shit, I'm supporting Joe, and because of that I'm good. I mean it's not always about the money. (waitaminute, did I say that? There goes my 'mercenary street cred!') Currently, my gig is doing the logistical side (mainly tracking and issue) of the new VSAT terminals the Military has bought. It’s something that the Army needs, and if my small contribution helps to keep the mission up, and people alive, then hell, I can't ask for better than that. Most of the guys that we are dealing with are people who are far out on the edge of nowheresville. Essentially the idea is that we're providing Sat Equipment that allows them to communicate with higher. Any more info would be dangerous, so I'll leave it as that... Needless to say The Old IR of Note and Fame is digging being back in the thick of things, and proud of being able to help out the Joes and Joe-ettes who are on the tip of the spear.

And as I have found, that spear here is dull. Not in a bad way, but sort of from 'high use' as one would say. Meaning that I either very foolishly or very bravely (your pick here, as I know what my Mom would say) decided the other day to take a trip outside the wire. Now mind you, the areas I went to are very familiar to me, as 'back in the day' of 04 and 05 I used to roll through there regularly. Also, when me and Lil Country rolled, we'd be up armored wearing our shit, minus helmet, and carrying a vast array of insane weapons to 'repel boarders.'

Now... sheeeeeeeet... not so much. I went out, with some trepidation mind you, without so much as a sidearm or automatic weapon, and my body armor and helmet have been living on a rack in my house since I got here, despite the ONE time I >might< have needed it. Yeah... As they said in "Full Metal Jacket" something about the "Crazy Brave" or some such shit. Anyways, I digress... Yeah I rolled out ECP 5 (entry control point) and went out into the "wilds" of Route Irish. Route Irish back in 04 and 05 was so bad that the exact quote in Newsweek Magazine was "...the most dangerous section of highway in the known universe."

Now, not so much. The Iraqis have replanted all of the trees in the middle center between the highway that were uprooted after the Dirty Haj had used them to hide IEDS. The road was littered with Billboards advertising I have-no-fucking-clue what as they are all in Arabic, but the fact that every 500 meters or so a billboard was present, whereas back in the day, they would NOT have been there. It's like the country has come back to life. The walls that Saddam put up around what’s now called Camp Slayer are decorated with MAD paintings showing what appears to be the past, present and future of Iraq by the artists point of view. The thing that cracks me up the most is that in the 'future paintings' is they show a monorail like you'd see in Disney as part of the future... Wishful thinking I know, but still it shows the hope these jokers have. I'll stop next time as I now know I won't get killed out there and I'll post the pics of the paintings, provided I can... as I never know when the Dirty Haj may appear, and I'd probably feel better once I get a 'Roscoe' or two on hand... never get complacent, and as my Dad and Robert Heinlein would say "Watch out for Stobor!"

But on this trip, I rolled to BIAP. The Baghdad International Airport is now a major hub of travel here. More people coming in than going, which is a major change. Lots of 'returnees' as they call them at the guard post. My Ugandan isn't too good, but the guards english was good enough, and he told me that more and more they see the Iraqis coming back from their self imposed exile. Good on them if they can manage.

I also found the ONE bar thats around here. The "Sinbad Bar and Grill" where, contrary to General Order #1, a dude can find Heineken one liters for $6 bux USD. God Bless Consumer Demand!!!! They also have all sorts of booze, from Johnny Blue to Red, and Jack and Beam as well, and a goodly assortment of rums and even Dom if you got the geld for it. I was madly impressed. The place is vaguely reminiscent of a John LeCarr Novel, what with the CIA-NSA-CID and other types of Personal Security Detachment types roaming through, and it's located at the Baghdad International Airport Hotel and Convention center. (Please ensure you check your weapons with the concierge as no guns are allowed in the bar.) I thought the sign was a nice touch. Me, I had a beer... Only because I was driving, but DAYYYYYUM if'n that wasn't a premium beer!!! The Hotel is supposedly doubling as a whorehouse, but I didn't bother to check that side of things. I figure Mama got enough for me when I get home, and why tempt fate?

So anyways, I then rolled into Baghdad Proper. Up Route Irish, and I saw a couple of convoys doing the 'daily-daily' run in and around. My biggest problem cruising the neighborhoods was I didn't have anything to throw to the kids... kids kept running up truck EXPECTING goodies.. I ended up throwing Life Savers Big Mints and then when those ran out, cigarettes and receiving big smiles... It was so nice to see it like that... back in 04-05 they would have thrown rocks, or grenades even. Now, it's back to the "Capture of Baghdad Mode" again, and we're better for it.

Then, after, back to base, where I was welcomed to the air raid sirens. Nothing like the sound of the air raid sirens going off to pucker one's bunghole tight. Turns out "THIS IS A TEST"... wish they'd announce that BEFORE they run the siren up... instead I find myself scrambling for the armor and helmet (amazing how quick one can don 75 pounds of BS when one needs to?) only to have the All clear test message sound. Really nice of them to run it first, thereby inducing heart attack #3...

Things here besides the Army scaring the living shit out of me are good. I'm in a groove and digging it. Living in my old house has been somewhat of a nice thing, as it's not on any known trajectories for incoming (The Haj usually launch from the same areas... part of the reason we haven’t had any real incoming with the exception of that one) and I'm comfortable. Rest assured, the Intrepid Reporter is NOT complacent by any means however, case in point the scramble for the body armor. Nice to have the 'good stuff' with me this time and having all my own gear is also a smiley face. Happiness would truly be achieved if I had my Trusty Roscoe on the nightstand, but eh, who needs it? Not like The Haj are coming 'round here anymore... Hell, the Iraqi Army LIVES in my neighborhood... how the world changes eh?
But for now, after having made it back, I stil have more work do to, so I gotta cut it short, so Look for me later. Until then I remain, The Intrepid Report, Big Country

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bomber: In Memorium

I got bad news last night. My faithful parter, the first dog I ever had and worked with, Bomber, was put down this past weekend. My Mother had the duty as she and my Dad have been his caretakers since his 'retirement' as a military dog and since I've been overseas. My Mom, is, of course devastated. My Dad, who is fighting cancer, is in a similar state. I sent this as part of an email that I thought I'd share, as it's probably the best way to memorialize him, and help my Mom get through this tough time:

"Bomber was a force of nature that touched all of our lives, and will be greatly missed. Please don’t go hard on yourself about having to perform that task. If anything, he himself would appreciate the love and compassion that you showed in helping him into the next phase of whatever we go to after this. He was the greatest dog that I have ever had the privilege to know and love. He would TOTALLY understand the what and whys, and as he was a ‘soldier’ in his own right as a military trained dog, I think he would appreciate the ideal that MacArthur put forth that “Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away.” You allowed him to fade away with his dignity intact, and his next phase will allow him to blossom in the hereafter, as a spirit like his can never fade, but only grow stronger. "

Requiet in Pace, Old Freind, May we meet again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How We Won the War (the stuff the media won't tell you)

Lots of people have been asking me "Big Country, how do you know we've won? I mean you got shelled the other day. What makes you so smart?"

OK: Well... to start with, it's the little things that show me that we've won.

1) The Iraqi Parliment (according to my sources) stated that the Status of Forces Agreement has been pretty much approved. Word is that despite the tantrums of the High Weirdbeard Mockretard Al Sadist, they want us here for another 3 years to insure stabilization, and that we're going to be supporting the Iraqis, rather than going it with the Coilition Forces and ourselves. The shelling that we took was a prime example of said aforementioned tantrum.

2) The Iraqis are finally starting to handle the business end of things. We have a huge number of Iraqi Troops in our area, which was unheard of not too long ago. We've helped them to stand up, and they are doing so on their own.

3) US casualties, for the most part, are finished. We're still going to lose some I'm afraid to say, but then again, we lose people all over the world. Every year we lose people in Korea on the DMZ and in other unpleasant places... We lost one guy when I was in Kuwait to a 1990s landmine for that matter...its a fact of life of the Soldier... They don't like it, I don't like it, but the reality is if we were to leave tomorrow morning, the Iraqis would still be taking care of things regardless.

4) Business and commerce is growing. I have 3 different cell phone companies to choose from... in fact of the matter, the Iraqi cell phone company Iraqna was bought out by the Kuwaiti Zain company. They know things are stable as they are investing because cell phones are THE ONLY decent means of communicxations right now, at least until the infrastructure for a regular landlines gets put in, but then again, this might not even happen, as we are in the digital age nowadays.

5) BAIP, Baghdad International Airport is flying so many damned commercial flights its insane. 24-7 we got tons of planes coming in and heading out, and going to the airport is just like back in the states, albeit in a post 911 world as the guards are armed with AK-47s. Still, in 2004-05, The airport was a shell, gutted and no one except the duty free operatiing, and that was only because it was the only source of booze in the country. Me and Lil Country have pics of us carrying our rifles in the airport, which at the time really tripped us out to be in an international airport, and here we are carry friggin AKs through like it was an everyday occurance. If I tried that shit now, I'd probably be arrested.

6) The people of Iraq, specifically the kids and parents, come up to the patrols of ours and offer thanks, much like they did in 03-04 before that retard weirdbeard started calling for Jihad. The "regular folks" don't want us to leave, as we mean stability and more importantly MONEY. We keep the wheels greased by creating jobs and keeping things rolling. Lots of my guys here have no issue running foot patrols with the Iraqis (where they play back up) and the locals are happy.

7) The supposed 'ethnic/religious cleansing' that went on is and was mostly bullshit. The problem that people don't know or realize was that it wasn't a religious ploy per se. What no one understands is that Abu Ghraib prison WAS a prison before we even got here, filled with the scum of Iraq. Saddam opened the doors and let them all out... it'd be the equivalent of letting the prison population of San Quentin loose into New York City... imagine the level of crime there would be if that happened, and there were NO cops and NO military available to quell/kill/or round up the scumbags? Thats essentially what happened, and they disguised it by wrapping themselves in the cloak of Islam, and the Mullahs were more than happy to let them do so, as it kept their hands relatively clean.

The best way to equate this is to the former Yugoslavian Republic. It took them 10 years to stop slaughtering each other, and that was with no outside assistance really. The UN is a worthless bunch of cowardly US hating fucking scum who rape children and traffic in slavery. The UN isn't hasn't and won't do anything, and its up the US to lead the way.

Our Media won't even show themselves here. It's too risky. I know that if given half a chance I'd beat the ever living shytte out of a reporter from the New York Times, and I KNOW that the troops of the line would as well. Better that the NYT realize that the fat beeeeatch has sung, and start realizing that the vets of this war are begining to outnumber their reading population.
As far as the War, Here Endeth The Lesson.