Friday, September 29, 2006

A Marine's Eye-View from Al-Anbar

There's a war on, in case you forgot. And if nothing else, I have profound respect and admiration for the US Military, the men and women who are waging it, protecting Civilization, every day. A thankless job, usually done out of sight of the media...unless there's bad news, scandal and/or dirty laundry to be shown, but that is 'another story'.

Here's a better reminder of that war than most--an email making the rounds written by an anonymous Marine in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq--Iraq's very own "Wild West", and by far the most violent place in that country (and maybe the whole planet). This email is too long to reproduce here in entirety, so here's an excerpt:

Subject: A Marine's Eye-View of Fallujah (Unclassified)

All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for twenty hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.

Worst Case of Deja Vu - I thought I was familiar with the feeling of deja vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before - that was deja vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same . . . everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment - Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. I had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

Go read the rest here.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I also have profound respect for these people. I share your sentiments.