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All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - Every Day Is Yesterday, Every Day is Tomorrow [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Every Day Is Yesterday, Every Day is Tomorrow [Jul. 20th, 2007|02:58 am]
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[Current Location |FOB Rustamiyah, Baghdad]
[mood |numbnumb]
[music |"Comfortably Numb" -- Pink Floyd]

Sorry for going quiet for so long. Things got busy, and my AC adapter died, so I can only run on battery for about an hour at a time before charging at least as long.

It got real busy. A lot has happened. An EFP burned his HMMWV to the ground and took of CPT W's leg. He not only survived, but was still in command of his platoon, giving orders as the medic was tourniqueting his leg on the hood of another vehicle to rush him to the CSH (Combat Surgical Hospital, think an updated M*A*S*H). More EFPs in a lot of places. We have done some good raids, nabbed a few bad guys. We've also gotten rocketed a lot more. A lot more. Like, 4-times-a-night-and-once-in-the-day more. No one's been hurt on our base just yet, but sometimes you know your luck has got to be running thin.

For example, one of the rockets a few days ago came down right on a truck. Good: The truck was unoccupied at the time, just parked. Bad: It was a nearly full fuel tanker, 3-5,000 gallons of diesel. Holy-Bullshit-Luck: The rocket failed to go off, and simply sat at the bottom of a tank full of flammable liquid, thereby becoming a highly interesting exercise for the EOD teams.

Too many blackouts these days too. We had another Hero Flight yesterday afternoon for a guy in 2-16 IN. His HMMWV drove over a IED buried in the road. Everyone else in the crew was injured as well. They were still lucky; the IED was a big one, meant to take out a Bradley, or other heavy vehicle. A mere up-armored HMMWV like a M1151 can't take that kind of hit well.

The days are blurring. Its just Shift, eat, a few hours off, sleep, shift. I'm glad they've acknowledged our impacted morale from 15-month tours to the point of giving us now 18 days of leave over 15, but the 8 weeks or so I've got left until my slot comes up never seemed so long. The near constant attacks, big spike in attacks in our sector, and cumulative effects of too many blackout and not enough time talking to the Bad Influence are really starting to grind away at my head. Every day is just like the one before, just hotter, nastier, more bloody, and worse. And it feels like its going to be like this all of year I've still got to go in this country.

There was a VBIED in our sector a day or two ago. Some Jaysh al-Mahdi drove up to a shop, shot the storekeeper and his worker, and left just ahead of the Iraqi Army patrol that came to check it out when a local ran to tell them. The JAM guys left one care behind, booby-trapped on a timer to catch the patrol just as it came up. ten local civilians killed, as many more civilians and IA soldiers hurt. One of our patrols got there soon after to help with the clean-up and investigation. They took pictures of the heap of bodies pushed into one large clump in a gutter across the street from the blast. The gutter was hugely full of their combined blood, running down the street heavy enough to temporarily overwhelm the sewage flow that is omnipresent in Baghdad these days.

Our patrol took the pictures, cleaned up the mess, and went back to patrolling. What else to do? The JAM who did this are either back in Sadr City by now, or blended right back into their neighborhood a mile away. So they continued, and brought the pictures back to us at the end. We went through them as part of the debrief, and we've just seen too many of these, us who have been here before. We just looked at them, and started making terrible jokes about the way it looked, the shoes and other items blown far and wide, the one guy in an all white dishdasha standing spotless in the middle of the carnage..."Oh look, an angel!" gibed CPT H, the much IED'd convoy leader from our days in Ramadi.

And I couldn't help laughing hard at it all. And its bothering me less all the time.

Day 133
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Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: strypgia
2007-07-22 12:00 am (UTC)

(Link)

I'm trying, but everday you can feel this place eating at your head, I'm sure.

We demean them by calling them hajis? Hell, Nearly every guy in my battalion calls them that. Just as an earlier generation called their foes 'gooks' or 'zipperheads'. Demeaning? Maybe, but for most of us, its just a label, like the currently accepted labels, LN and 'extremist'. I have no real problem with Mrs. Sheehan, she just has an irritating nature to those who don't want to answer difficult questions.

Demean them....hah! If all they have to worry about is that, they should feel lucky. Other armies in other ages, or even their own call their foes much worse.
[User Picture]From: not_art
2007-07-20 01:44 am (UTC)

Last resorts

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And I couldn't help laughing hard at it all. And its bothering me less all the time.

The human mind deals with the unthinkable with humor, it's a defense mechanism. You're in an insane situation, and your mind is just trying to deal with it any way that it can.

I'm glad you're still in one piece, and I hope you stay that way; I've just been reading this journal for a few weeks now, but I wanted to say: I don't think the public here expects you guys to fix Iraq any more, I think the truth is starting to sink in here. Concentrate on getting out alive, because the only ones in a position to fix Iraq now are the Iraqis, and it doesn't sound like they want the job.
[User Picture]From: strypgia
2007-07-22 12:10 am (UTC)

Re: Last resorts

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We have a saying out here: 'Haji couln't organize a riot at a soccer game". I have little faith in the Iraqi government to do much beyond intercine squabbles. They seem to have no overarching sense of national identity, and precious little to unite them. add in to that situation the fact that most power brokers seem more interested in looking out for their faction than the whole, and you've got a recepie for the situation in which we find ourselves.
[User Picture]From: not_art
2007-07-22 04:34 pm (UTC)

Re: Last resorts

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Well, Iraq really hasn't been a single culture, and Saddam managed to get people to bury their religious and ethnic issues by ruthlessly oppressing anyone who didn't play along. Now that Saddam's out of the way, they're back to the same issues they've had between them for centuries, big surprise.

I'm afraid that we've helped set up a situation similar to Israel/Palestine, wherein the political leaders on all sides maintain their position by exploiting the divisions. Thus, they are really interested in maintaining the daily misery than in finding solutions.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-07-20 09:49 pm (UTC)

Groundhog Days

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Routines can be comfortable in a mind-numbing way. But complacency is bad in way I probably don't have to explain to you.

The mind protects itself in various, seemingly shocking ways. I am not surprised at anyone for viewing violent situations in a light manner. Just don't do anything that'll get you in legal trouble with the REMFs.

Need another AC adaptor sent out? Or is it being taken care of? We'll try to get some beef jerky out to you soon. BTW, did you get a package full of posters recently? I sent the Mrs your Inoue autograph, hopefully it arrived safely.

On the off chance you run into El Capitan out there, say hello to him for me.


Tumbleweed
[User Picture]From: strypgia
2007-07-21 01:02 pm (UTC)

Re: Groundhog Days

(Link)

Oh, I know about the dangers of falling into a Groundhog Day state of mind on the work end. I stress to my guys everyday, 'don't get complacent, because when we get sloppy, guys in the line companies can get killed for it.'

I've got an adaptor in the way already, just hoping it shows up in the next few days. I did get the package of posters. I was expecting fanservice, not recognition posters, but was appreciated nonetheless. I handed out a lot of the excess to several other guys who like the aircraft shots, especially one of my guys who used to be in the CAP at one point. No sign of the autograph yet.

El Capitan? The only AF guys I see most of the time is out JTAC crew, an A1C and a SSgt.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-07-21 07:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Groundhog Days

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Sorry about the fanservice posters, we're working on that. The other posters were just a nice extra. Glad you were able to make use of the extras and thank you for not biting off my head for receiving something unexpected. I've experienced a recent rash of behavior in which surprises were not well received.

El Capitan is the guys who writes this blog:

http://tmmkkt22.blogspot.com/

The Inoue autograph was sent on to your Mrs at the address you provided and I e-mailed her to let her know it was on the way. I didn't get a response but I think it might have arrived already.


Tumbleweed
[User Picture]From: strypgia
2007-07-22 12:12 am (UTC)

Re: Groundhog Days

(Link)

She did get it, but was puzzled, as I think she confused the two packages into one, and asked me about if I'd gotten it. Many thanks in any case. The FSE LT and the CAP alumni who got the posters I gave out are very pleased with them.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-07-20 11:25 pm (UTC)

Glad to See the Post

(Link)

I'm a DKos lurker who has been reading your posts since I followed your links from that site. At the time I was extremely curious whether the military wanted progessives at home to shutup or fight harder. I apreciated your thoughts. I am old enough to be your mother and it was with that kind of concern that I was relieved to see your post today. Stay safe.