Thursday, April 12, 2007

Letters From Iraq: Reactions to the War

Hello again friends, family, and uncategorized acquaintances.

There haven’t been any huge changes out here but I can only force myself to sleep 16 hours a day and that leaves me a lot of time to sit around and write e-mails. If you’re wondering why I don’t got check my e-mail every day if I have time, well you’re probably too nosy for your own good. To answer that anyway, it’s because the internet center is a good quarter mile from where I live and I’m not that invested in spending 60 aggravating minutes of every day staring at computers that must somehow recognize me and think it’s funny to stop operating when I get within 2 feet of them. I think that might be a slightly run-on sentence.

Since I don’t really have a lot of leeway to talk about missions etc., I’ve decided to fill some space with a little Q&A section. My aunt told me she was interested in what I thought about what is going on over here. Initially I thought she meant the odd penguin infestation the region has been experiencing. After clarification she said she meant about the war here in Iraq. Honestly, this was the first I’d heard about a war here and it was kind of a shock. I Wikipedia’d it trying to learn more. So after 15 minutes of reading about the Iraq war (14 more minutes than most Americans will accomplish before forming an opinion) here’s a list of my opinions on it:

  1. I think oil is a terrific reason to start a war.
  2. I think it’s “cute” that Americans are still indignant when they find out politicians lied to them. (It’s the same reaction that Marines have when it dawns on them that the recruiter was full of crap.)
  3. The country has recovered some since the last time I was here. There are now dozens of corrupt Iraqi police in towns where two years ago there were none.
  4. We should have been out of Iraq three freaking years ago. I blame the Republicans.
  5. Both sides have figured out that pressure back in the U.S. will require us to withdraw in the next couple of years. Ridiculous regulations limiting all types of operations have been introduced to limit the last minute casualties and fun. I blame the Democrats.
  6. The civilian contracting is out of hand. The obese American lady who “lifeguards” at the pool makes 3 times as much money as I do. The Ugandan security company who maintains our internal security seems a bit overboard too.
  7. I think it would be swell to finish a full year of college someday.
While on the web I also looked up the penguin population of the Middle East. Oddly, Wikipedia turned up nothing.

I guess that’s all for now. I’ve got an 11-hour nap to attend to. Priorities.

El Pocket Lint

p.s. if i hadn't typed this on my own computer there would be no capital letters. the shift button and caps button have been removed. (i assume it's because of some sort of falling out with the rest of the computer. the tab button went with them.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Letters From Iraq: Wrestling


I’m trying something new today. I’m writing on my computer and taking it over to the internet terminals on a thumbdrive. Maybe today I won’t get kicked out for staying over my allotted time.

It’s frustrating because it takes 30 minutes just to load the hotmail access screen. I’m usually able to squeeze in a nap, catch up on my reading, or maybe play a quick 9 holes of blast crater golf before I’m able to start my first e-mail. The golf is the trickiest thing to accomplish, what with the sand traps and all. So basically I want to take this chance to blame the internet for my bad e-mail habits. The internet and one time Presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Everything is his fault.

I just got back from eating breakfast (which is everyone else’s dinner). The dining facilities out here are pretty sweet. A bunch of Iraqis make and serve food. When I say, "make" I of course mean, "warm up." Today they warmed up meatloaf and chicken cordon bleu. I’ve always liked the meatloaf here because I find it to be very genuine. I think it’s much easier to eat a meal that’s appropriately named. What is that stuff? It’s an ambiguous loaf of meat. Some sort of… meat… loaf.

Along with the gourmet cuisine military bases are equipped with the classiest entertainment. Today I watched some sort of professional wrestling award ceremony. Really, who wouldn’t want to recognize those athletes who spend their entire lives in life or death battles, using all of their strength, agility and martial prowess to become the greatest warriors on the planet? Wait, agility means some sort of genetic inability to act right?

I asked a friend of mine out here why so many people like wrestling. He said he thought it was because wrestling is like a soap opera of professional sports. It is very dramatic I guess.

I don’t think I’ve properly thanked you that have offered or sent things out here. A lot of people have asked me if I want anything out here. It’s awfully nice of you, and I’ll let you know as soon as I can figure out how you can mail me the last 4 years of my life. But until then, beef jerky is always welcome here.

In answer to another popular question: the weather forecast for the next few months is partly sandy with a chance of dust.

I can’t talk too much about actual operations, mostly because we’re afraid the Iraqis have the ability to hack into our personal e-mails, translate them, and then glean information from them. I don’t know if the lack of computers, internet connections, or electricity have affected the terrorist information gathering abilities much, but hey, we can’t be too careful.

Regardless, I have a hypothetical story that happened to… a friend of mine… an imaginary friend. It in no way reflects what I have done personally because the story involves practices that would make some Marine Corps officers spontaneously combust (it’s science). Anyway, this friend was on an imaginary mission when his unit discovered an IED that failed to go off. They theoretically tried to find the trigger man without success. This imaginary friend was then theoretically instructed to detonate the IED with a sniper round. It was theoretically cool.

I took a break writing this letter and went to the gym a few minutes ago. They had a TV on. I had the opportunity to watch a little more wrestling. It’s like a car wreck, nay, a train wreck. The scene is disgusting and horrible and nauseating but try as you might a dread fascination washes over you, and sure enough your eyes slowly creep back to the carnage. And then they snap back to something else - anything else – and then the process repeats.

I wonder if children are more prone to hitting each other with chairs and lasers and other conveniently placed furniture since the creation of pro wrestling?

I guess I should quit this letter. I’ll probably just save personal e-mails and then respond to them next time I get online so please be patient. If you’re not the patient type, I suggest you call my roommates; P., T., or W. They only like to be contacted between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. though. Just tell them I told you to call. Same with my mom.


El Pocket Lint