Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Spitbull has a distant relative who is a lieutenant stationed in Iraq. He wrote the family a letter in December and a copy of it finally made its way to us. The letter is long--7 typed pages--and we thought our readers might be interested in reading some excerpts (we've added the bold words to break it up a bit and try to highlight the topics). The letter is more day-in-the-life than some of the other correspondence we've seen posted on the web:
Food. The food is ok. It is basically chicken al la whatever every day or beef-something surprise. Imagine non English speaking third world civilians trying to read a cook book and cooking American food that they have no idea how it should taste. The ice cream is good though. I eat a lot of junk food because it is prepackaged stuff from the states. It tastes normal. Their favorite ingredient here is pepper. They pepper the heck out of everything here. Doesn't taste right? Add pepper. Out of sugar, salt, or other ingredients? Add pepper. Pepper, pepper, pepper.

Water. The water here that we consume is extremely high in minerals. I don't know why they fortify it so much. We have had a few guys pass kidney stones because of it. They loved it. I am pretty pumped up about the prospect of passing a boulder through my pee hole.

Weather. The temperature stays in the 60s most days now. It is now the rainy season. It is also dust season all year long. It (sic) the winter months they have a lot of dust storms; more so than in the summer. The wind blows more in the winter, I am told. Dust is in and on everything. I sweep the floor in my room a few times each week. I also brought a feather duster with me. It is probably one of the most valuable things I brought. The best I can describe the dust is that it is like talcum powder; especially in high traffic areas. The rest of the ground is mud-sand. Everywhere. Nothing is green. Nothing is clean.

Iraqi police. As for the Iraqi police that we are are training, they are worthless and lazy and scared of everything. They seem to not want to do anything. They are going to have to start if the Iraqis are ever going to get control of this place. People back home talk about letting the Iraqis handle their own problems and pulling out the US military. It can't be done yet. The Iraqi police force cannot even take care of themselves. They are basically a non factor at this point. Maybe they just need more time, but right now it is a major problem with turning control over to these people.

Educated Iraqis. The problem here is education. There is none and ignorance is everywhere. It is refreshing to speak with educated Iraqis. Most of which are older and were educated in the West during the Iran/Iraq war. Back then remember "the enemy of your enemy your friend" ideology was the "in" thing during the Cold War. It didn't matter the type of government that was in place. That is why the Reagan administration supported all those Latin American dictators as well as Saddam Hussein. After all, Iraq was at war against the hated Iranians, right. Well during that time many of the Iraqi military officers, wealthy families, and the middle class that worked for the regime were allowed to be educated in America, France, and Britain. I have ran into a few of those people. They are optimistic about the future of Iraq but think the United States will have to remain here for many years. The individuals I spoke with feel that if we pull out too soon this place is definitely up for grabs and the people will never understand what they will be missing. The Iraqi people who are educated understand that we have to be here if they are to have any chance at a democracy. My feelings are that it better get safer here and the Iraqis had better take on more responsibilities, as far as governing, building infrastructure, and providing their own security in their cities, towns and supply routes. The rest of the world had better get in on it too because you they are just waiting to jump in here and take advantage of this countries (sic) cheap labor force. And in the end the US and BG will end up footing the bill in money and blood. It really irks me about France, Russia and Germany wanting to get in on the rebuilding contracts. As far as I am concerned they can take a leap.

The Brits. We have worked close with soldiers from other countries such as Azerbaijan, Australia, and of course the Brits. The Brits are real good too. We have fun working with them. It is kind of like Iowans working Missourians or Minnesotans. You know how each has jokes about the other and lieks to tease the other. Well the Brits and the Americans do this as well. It is all in good fun and both armies really respect each other. They have a great sense of humor and they really hate the French.


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