Musings of the Chronologically Challenged™ Fourth Generation
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Good things come to she who waits. After waiting out a hurricane, an x-ray report on the Rotty with cancer, the yo-yoing of Sprint Telephone's "service", plus a few personal conundrums, TGIwasF and a quite wonderful long weekend was upon me.
As promised, BlogSon GOC arrived on Friday from Winston Salem for an inspection. He "inspected" alright. Inspected the beach shops and tourist attractions for post-Labor Day sales!!! He's a smart shopper too! And true to his generous nature, he shopped for everybody but himself. I think the only thing he bought for himself was a newspaper, but he remembered everyone back home with surprises from local beach gift shops. And one for me too! Plus, BIG PLUS, he's a good cook! It was a great visit and a much appreciated break for me from the usual dull weekends of the fall.
BlogSon Sailor has a Saturday morning radio show from Las Vegas. He wrote about it on his blog a few weeks ago, but until this past Saturday I've been unable to hear the show. What a lucky coincidence that BlogSon GOC was here to listen to it with me. Very good musical selections, Sailor-son.
To complete the trifecta of BlogSons, I received an interesting e-mail from BlogSon Greene. The first time I ever recall having contact with all three blogsons in one weekend! That would almost be a BlogFamily Reunion, ya think? Anyhow, I want to share the e-mail from BlogSon Greene, so here it is: (thanks, BSG)
Our friend Rick Egan is in Iraq for the SL Tribune. Here's a message he sent me today. Unbelievable to get this kind of information straight from the front lines of the War.
The time here in Iraq is about 8 hours ahead of Mountain daylight time. It is 9:42 pm Monday night here and it is 11:42 am Monday morning in Utah.
We just got back from a very cool thing tonight. We drove over to Camp Ail, it is on the FOB, so we only needed our Helmet, you must have a helmet if you are driving in a Humvee. We met Sgt Fall and a guy named Chesire, and walked over to Camp Ali to meet the General of the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) The Iraqi army.
He was a huge guy and like every other Iraqi male had a bug thick mustache. He was very interesting and candid. He answered all of Matt's questions, even the tough ones, and was a very good sport about it. He said that they not only need more men but the men they do have need a lot more training, Matt asked him if they were ready to take over if the US Army pulled out tomorrow. He said no, because they do not have an airforce or the weapons and other equipment that they need. He would not give a time table of when they would be ready (the American guy would not even let him tell us how many men he had in his Brigade) but he did say he wants his soldiers to be better than the US marines and said that eventually his Army will be ready to take over so the US forces can pull out. Matt asked what would happen if the forces did pull out and he said there would be much bloodshed and it would not be a good thing; they are not ready to take control yet.
It was interesting because the General yesterday was talking about numbers, saying they needed 5000 troops, but according to the IFS general, the numbers do not matter as much as the training and the weapons and other things they need such as an Airforce and stuff like that.
Matt wanted to talk to some of the soldiers so he asked the General. He pressed a button on his desk and in minutes there were 6 soldiers marching in and standing at attention. It was great. Matt asked the interpreter if he could have them relax, so he did, and eventually they all sat at the table with Matt and he asked them questions one on one for a half an hour or so.
Those soldiers were very open and fun to listen to as they spoke through Carlos, the interpreter. Carlos is getting $1000 a month to be an interpreter for the US military. The average salary is probably closer to $50 a month but as he said, it is a very dangerous job. Because it is dangerous, most interpreters wear the full army gear including dark glasses. Some even wear a face mask for their protection and do not allow us take their photos because it is that dangerous. Interpreters are the major target of the insurgents. Carlos does not care if we take his photo because he is from southern Iraq, but he still does not take off his helmet or glasses.
Probably the next most dangerous thing for an Iraqi male would be to join the army. Some of the soldiers had stories of their family and relatives being killed when they found out that they were in the army. Most of them are from other parts of Iraq, mostly Bagdad. When they go home to visit their families, they leave their guns and their uniforms on he base and go home as regular civilians. Matt asked them why they were in the Army if it was so dangerous, and they said that they wanted to help the country and that joining the Army was the best way to do that. All six of the soldiers we talked to were in Sadam Hussein's Army. They were all very cool, most of them probably in their mid to late thirties.
The general said that we were the first journalists that have ever talked to the Iraqi soldiers. It was very cool and afterwards they all wanted their photo taken with us so we crammed altogether for a group shoot.
We missed the evening Chow, it ended at 8 pm, so we may go to the midnight Buffet, but I am so tired that if I fall asleep, I am going to just keep on sleeping!