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Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Green Zone

The final report (for now) from a soldier just back from Iraq, as posted on Jesus' General. (Seems not all his stuff is satire).

I've just left Baghdad. My time was fairly short, as I was filling in temporarily. I may go back. I briefed my successors and wished them luck.... You find two large parking lots. They're guarded 24/7 by the Gurkha's, who, incidentally, live in squalid conditions in the part of the Green Zone that is most exposed to insurgent fire....

There are similarities to what Vietnam must have been like. The enemy is everywhere and nowhere. People get pissed when they close the swimming pool because of actual or expected mortar fire. Every night there are high stakes poker games next to the pool. People with some time off covort in the pool, while down the street guys go out in various convoys, risking their lives. ... A sign at the pool sums things up: NO DRINKING WHILE ARMED.

I'm not very hopeful about this Iraq situation. I have no idea what to do. If we leave now, there will probably be a civil war and a massacre that will make Rwanda look like a grade school picnic. But if we stay for 2, 5, 7 or more years, the result might be the same.

Two things about the Iraqi's. I've been really surprised, and shocked, by the intensity of the ethnic hatred they have for each other. A couple of weeks ago, two Iraqi's told me they would love it if all the Kurds "disapeared." They meant it....

What passes for a government here doesn't seem to be composed of George Washington/Samuel Adams founding father types. These guys need our help to wipe their asses. And if we're not constantly watching them, they'll steal the toilet paper....

Bart out of Iraq