As many of you know, I am back in Iraq. I got back on Friday and a couple of days latter I saw an article in the Stars and Stripes entitled “Baghdad Nights”. It appears that the security situation has improved so much around the international zone (green zone) that night clubs are starting to open. What is more amazing is that soldiers are heading of base to go to them. Here is some of the excerpts of the story:
Club manager Salah Hassan said Thursday’s visit was not exceptional. “The Americans come here four or five times a week” he said.
“Everyone is having a good time.” said Spc. Eric Cartwright as he watched his comrade do the chain dance.. “No one is scared about what ‘s going to happen to them. This is a good sign.”
This club, as well as others, are popping up on Abu Nawas Street. This used to be the happening club district in Baghdad during the 70′s and remained that way until Saddam, trying to appeal to religious Iraq’s for needed support, closed them down in 1994.
Of course I think this one quote from an Iraqi sums it all up:
“We never expected that such a day will come in Iraq.” gushed Hussein Sheba.
So much for the doom and gloom “we cant win in Iraq” crowd.
I received an email from a friend and co-worker who is stationed at one of the smaller outlying FOB’s (Forward Operating Base)in the North about something that happened out there that is, in my opinion, newsworthy.
Some local Iraqi’s shot a boar in town. Now normally when a boar is shot the carcass is just discarded as rubbish due to religious belief about pork products. Sometimes these carcasses end up the hiding spot for IED’s. Neither of these things happened this time. Instead, the Iraqi’s gave the boar to the soldiers at this FOB for them to roast. This is a huge gesture in part by the Iraq’s to the US Military. The Iraq’s did not have to do this at all, but wanted to as they heard that our troops at this outlying FOB do not have the greatest of food available to them. They do not have a contracted chow hall like the bigger bases in Iraq do, so they don’t have nearly the selection or the preparation facilities that you see at the larger basses (baked beans are a staple out there from what I am told). Another thing that this story shows is the spirit of giving. The local Iraqi’s had no reason to give this boar to these soldiers, but saw that they could use it and gave it to them as a kind gesture and to say thank you for staying and giving them (the Iraq’s) a chance for a future.
Now if that is not an inspiring Christmas Story I don’t know what is.
Just thought I would share a picture of a recent sandstorm we had here in Iraq