Friday, March 25, 2005

The show.

There is this show that every Iraqi seems to be talking about. Called, 'Terrorists and Justice', I think.

Anyway, they take captured terrorists, spys and criminals and put them on TV and the Iraqi Police ask them a bunch of questions. It's on for an hour every day....9 to 10pm Iraqi Time.

The show has really influenced a lot of people who were sitting on the fence. A couple of nights ago it had someone who said he was a Syria Intelligence Colonel. His job was to pay people who carry out his orders...assassinations, disruption, stuff like that. The people seem to be furious and everytime I talk to one they want us to invade Syria as soon as possible.

Lately there's been a lot of xenophobia as well. I knew from last time that most of the people causing trouble here weren't Iraqi, but now...either because of the show, or because of the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed 150 people signing up to become police (they then showed his parents in Jordan on the local news, and they were celebrating the attack)...I don't know what exactly but the Iraqis want their border sealed shut.

There's also been a lot of last ditch type mass attacks on us recently. Which, according to 'the book' means that the insugency is on its last legs. I wonder if you're getting this news in the states...I doubt it.

I'll write more often, I promise.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Prayers for Tedy.

One of my family's favorite players is going to undergo heart surgery. Tedy Bruschi is one of those guys who always play hard, never quit, play through injuries, he's involved in every play, he's at the top of his game but who never puts himself above the team. While the Patriots may be full of these types of players, the NFL isn't.

I wish him well and I hope everyone joins with me in wishing him well. Whether he can ever play again or not doesn't matter to me really...he has some cute kids I always see him messing around with before and after all his games. They need a dad.

Good luck, Tedy.

Boredom ensues.

Just the way I like it. Main things I've been working on are keeping the interpreters in line and getting the paperwork together so that we can rebuild a generator for a local police station.

As the 'terp' guy, all I basically do is set the schedule for the interpreters, deal with their complaints and try to hire new ones. I'm pretty pleased with the guys we have, they are mostly hardworking and are from this area, which helps with finding things.

The police here are pretty screwed. They make about 200 dollars a month on average, all their cars are falling apart and their equipment is substandard. The ING, on the other hand, get paid about a thousand a month and have a lot better equipment. What this is doing, is causing a lot of cops to leave their jobs and join the ING. It also causes a lot of corruption, because they tend to take bribes in order to make up for their lack of pay.

We've been sending up a lot of reports regarding the police pay situation. Hopefully someone up there(higher up on the chain of command) is listening and can get the Iraqi Government to raise their pay.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Anarchy!....not here.

Yeah yeah...I'm not updating. The reason is not much is going on.

I thought I'd have something to write every day. Before we got over here all you heard on the news is the craziness. I was expecting anarchy, bombs going off on every corner, dogs and cats living together, bands of armed men roaming the streets chanting, "Kill the Americans!". I expected to find American soldiers building permanent bases and not letting people go back to their homes, randomly shooting people and torturing poor defenseless old ladies.

Well...alright...I didn't expect that last part. I knew that last part was bull. If you ever hear about some torture incident or a murder by a US soldier...think of it like this for me...

The military is made up of just regular folks. People like your brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, parents, cousins, friends, nieces and nephews. Are they likely to do that stuff? No, of course not. Now think of that one person you know...related or not that has committed a crime...heck, maybe you're the bad apple or blacksheep of your family. Would most of them do the stuff you hear about in Iraq? Maybe the really bad ones but for the most, most of them wouldn't.

Now remember, we're in a war zone. Yeah, it's extremely calm compared to how they make it seem on the news but that one car bomb or attack they broadcast happened somewhere. So all over the country, we're ready...just in case, it's our day to be on the news. A 19 year old soldier patrolling on the street is always thinking, "Today is our day to be on the news.", and he has to, because if he doesn't that could mean the loss of his life or someone in his squad's life. So he's nervous...and sometimes, very very rarely, mistakes happen.

Now that 19 year old soldier is your little brother. Growing up he was the nicest kid, did well in school, had a lot of friends, was respectful to his overall great kid. He isn't a murderer, he isn't gunning down defenseless old ladies...he's just trying to stay alive in a bad situation.

It's like being a police officer in a way. You approach a man you believe to be armed and dangerous...he looks at you then suddenly reaches in he, as a cop you have to think, "Is this guy pulling a gun or is he just getting his cigarettes?". If you shoot him, he could just be getting some cigarettes...if you don't and he pulls out a gun, then you're dead. It isn't too easy of a decision, is it?

Now imagine that, twenty four hours a day. That's what your little brother, or cousin, or aunt is going through here. Yeah...nine times out of ten it's a cigarette but is today the day that they'll make the news?

That said, the biggest excitement here is a small political battle between the local governments and the local criminal court. The court needs a new courthouse, and they want to move into one of the town halls...but, of course, none of the councils want to give up their building.

We tried to help out a bit at first. We were looking for a building suitable to house the court. We heard about an old Iraqi Army recruiting station that was abandoned, so we checked it out. Turns out there was a really nice Iranian family living there. Three beautiful little girls, a pretty wife and nice husband.

When the Iran-Iraq war started in 1980, Saddam kicked him out of his house due to where he came from. The Ministry of Defense took control of the house and used it as the place where people had to go to sign up for the draft. They returned in 2003 after we kicked Saddam out and they moved back in. They had mounds of paperwork backing up their claim.

When we first arrived they were very nervous. Their faces serious. When they realized we were there to ask questions and not kick them out, their attitude changed. They were smiling and laughing with us. They said that last time soldiers came to visit them in this house, no questions were asked, they had to pack up and be out by the end of the day. It was like night and day for them.

I'll try to post more often, even small things. I plan on never making the news, sorry.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The ING kick butt.

Today there was a small fight. Needless to say the Iraqi National Guard were increadible. Running out of their barracks however they were dressed to engage the terrorists. Some, in just underwear or PJs grabbing their weapons, jumping on the back of a truck and speeding off into the fight.

What this tells me is that all the Iraqis who surrendered to us during the previous two wars did so not because they weren't willing to fight for Iraq, but because they weren't willing to fight for Saddam.

I've heard a lot of talk about how they just aren't ready to take over for the US forces yet...and that may be the case...but it's the case because of their present numbers, not because of their willingness to fight or training.