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August 11, 2003

Live and on the ground
Posted by Teresa at 05:21 PM *

Moja Vera (?) is in the US military, currently stationed in Iraq. Reading Salaam Pax’s weblog inspired himi to start one of his own: Turning Tables, subtitled (in part) “…the hardest lessons are the ones you repeat… …like a second deployment to the middle east…”

He doesn’t use capitals and more or less punctuates by ellipsis, but if you read a paragraph or two out loud you’ll have his voice, and after that it’s fine. A sample:
i was impressed very quickly with the iraqis with their skill at seeing a prime opportunity when we convoyed up from Kuwait…most of them just tried to sell us crap but there were a few who had the foresight to go out and buy coolers…ice…and cokes…what g.i. wouldn’t turn down an ice cold coke when he’s been convoying for 2 days in 100 plus degrees…it was a shame that i couldn’t buy anything from them…

we were under strict orders…the forces that be were trying to nip the ‘side of the road swap meet’ in the bud…but it was no use…there were just to many convoys on the road…in the dust and heat…everybody wants a trinket…

i remember one instance on our convoy up when we stopped at a refueling point along the ‘expressway’…there were these iraqi kids on bikes…they were trying to sell us everything from the scarves off their head to the rings on their fingers…i attempted to be as firm and as polite as possible…using the right hand to tell them no…putting myself in between them and my trucks…but they were every where…and even though i was pretty sure they weren’t going to throw a grenade into my hmmv…how could i really be sure…my index finger stayed real close to my trigger…the m.p.’s rolled up in their trucks…wearing reflective vests…so that they could be easily spotted by the iraqis…the kids bolted leaving their bikes…the m.p.’s chased them down…they apprehended them…they were just trying to scare them away form the convoys and the fuel point…they took their bikes…just for a few minutes…just long enough to make the kids think they wouldn’t get them back…and then they released the kids with a strong warning not to come back…

out at the check points is where all the magic happens…the soldiers out there pull shift and they interact with the iraqis…a lot of the infantry pukes that i help out with internet and phone time tell me stories that impress me…one troop…a samoan guy from the midwest takes them out the care packages that his unit receives from the states…we receive so many packages that a lot of it goes to waste and he had the ingenuity to see that the iragis would really enjoy some of the stuff we might just toss into the dumpster…

in return they bring him iraqi food…he says he loves it…the people of baghdad make great sandwiches…and he can’t stop talking about his amazement at the tastiness of their pizza…

the iraqis trust them…they come up all the time with wounds needing attention…and the infantry pukes will treat them right there at the scene…and if they can’t they will call in some medics…the other day he told me how his combat medics in his squad treated a little girl with a metal sliver in her eye…this is where we will win the hearts and minds…not with propaganda magazines called the liberator…but with humane understanding and helpful hands…

all is not lost in this country…the iraqis are not blind…so keep sending your care packages america…they might just end up in the hands of a very thankful iraqi child…
Comments on Live and on the ground:
#1 ::: Jeff Crook ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2003, 05:44 PM:

Keep in mind that these are the guys and gals who the Bush administration uses like 59 cent cigarette lighters.

#2 ::: Melanie ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2003, 06:14 PM:

I've been reading this young man for a while now, one of a number of bloggers in the "sandbox." He's honest to the point of poignancy and manages to blog nearly everyday. He puts all of himself up on the net, including the fears and doubts, and I call that real courage.

#3 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2003, 12:07 PM:

I just wish I'd been able to Blog from there, or see blogs (nielsenhayden being a notable exception).

'Bout all I can say is, "been there," and that I have faith such will continue.

Terry K.

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