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I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
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(Yes - there will be new posts up this weekend, but for now we're continuing our Mudville Christmas reruns. This one was actually first posted last February, but I think it belongs here...)
What tales we'll tell
When that time comes
When tales can be told...
Looking back at Mrs G's logo collection reminded me of that quote from the Christmas poem here at Mudville. The reference was to the fact that security issues prevent me from writing much about what goes on here at my location. For instance, one day I disciplined some of my troops poorly, and they went out and targeted and killed 12 journalists. That was sure embarrassing! Fortunately my many friends in the blogosphere will make sure no one ever knows.
Or Christmas day itself - so much went on during that one day that I'm sure I could write a book about those 24 hours. For starters, the worst weather of the year. A cold rain, flooded ground, mud everywhere, missions cancelled, you name it. But as miserable as I was I saw something that reminded me that someone always has it worse. I'd just donned my armor and started for the DFAC. As I splashed past the porta potties I noticed the smell. The team of civilian third country nationals was busy cleaning them, even on Christmas day in the rain. Off to the side stood the escort for the workers. His sole purpose in life was to ensure the guys cleaning the porta potties didn't get up to any "funny business" and plant bombs or steal anything during performance of their
As I walked past the escort, I considered saying one of the following things to him:
"Hey, this is a Christmas you'll tell your grandchildren about - the year you helped free Iraq!"
"Son, if you move over to this side (pointing) you'll notice the wind won't blow in your face off the porta potties any more"
In the end I said nothing, just moved on. Sometimes there's nothing you can say.
A funny thing about Christmas in Baghdad. Christian, atheist, or other, most folks who grow up in America consider Christmas a great family holiday, a chance to reunite and share gifts and catch up with the widespread relatives. Missing this aspect of the day turned many folks sour - but not those who saw the day primarily as a celebration of the birth of Jesus. In other words, those who knew the real purpose of Christmas actually enjoyed the holiday, while those for whom it was a secular event were rather morose and withdrawn and distinctly more unhappy on the day. Stated differently, the farther from the " real meaning of Christmas" you stood, the more the holiday depressed you - those for whom it meant the least were hit the worst by the day.
It's been a few years [ed note - it's been a few decades] since the childlike "magic of Christmas" left me behind. By that I mean the wonder of waking up to a pile of toys under the tree after a night of restless sleep. Would Santa come? Would he? And sure enough, the morning came and he'd been to my house. Relief was followed by euphoria, fun was had by all.
Strangely enough, I did have a day like that, a day that recaptured that part of Christmas - but it wasn't Christmas day. It was Sunday the 30th of January, of course. Having gone to bed reasonably sure that my assumptions were right - that we'd knocked the insurgency down to the point they would be ineffective, and that the people of Iraq desired freedom, it was nonetheless a relief to see it happen as expected. Euphoria followed. It was days later that I recognized the feeling for what it was. Christmas in Baghdad.
Here's to many such days to come.
(Original post: 2005-02-08 17:01:56)
For instance, one day I disciplined some of my troops poorly, and they went out and targeted and killed 12 journalists...
Don't you hate it when that sort of thing happens? Little things like that can just ruin your day...Posted by Cassandra at February 8, 2005 05:31 PM
Love your site. Check it everyday. I think I originally came here a few months ago linked from L.T. Smash.
I laughed out loud when you casually reminisced about your troops tageting journalists. I'm still laughing when I think about it. Nice.Posted by Kent at February 8, 2005 08:32 PM
One late evening, just as the sun was going down in beautiful sw asia on the side of a little known large hill top (almost a mountain) I was standing in a hole full of water mounting a 50, smoking my last cigarette, hearing and feeling the constant, soft rain hit my helment.I was also considering the ramifications of just going ahead and pissing in this hole full of water I was standing in.
About a third of the way down the hill on a cleared out crop, a huey landed and water,ammo and rats were thrown out into the mud and water. Then a lone soldier got out. He carried a M16 and a small ruck. He slowly walked up the hill, taking everything in and stopping once in a while to look at something or someone (there were other positions laid out on that side of the hill).
As he walked up the hill toward me, I could see he was an older guy and by the way he moved I could tell he was no stranger to this strange land. As he climbed closer to my position I considered my options. I could give the standard warning and point my 50 at him or I could just yell something to him or do nothing. In our unit, we were not chickenshit about such things, but I didn't know who the hell he was or what rank. As I thought about this, I noticed him stop and get out something from his ruck. He unwrapped it and pulled out something and took a bite of it. A familiar red stripe caught my eye on the package and I couldn't stop my self from yelling out, "Is that some chewing tobacco"?
He continued toward me and stopped down in front and said, "Yea, you want some"? I still could not tell his rank so I said "Yes Sir, please, I would kill for a chew". He tossed me the package and said, "that won't be necessary son, keep it". Then he gave me a sloppy salute and continued up the hill.
Only much later did I learn it was our Regimental Commander.
12 journalists, huh? Definitely the sign of poorly disciplined troops.
Well-disciplined wouldn't have stopped at 12...Posted by Malclave at February 9, 2005 12:27 AM
I'm sure that "those who knew the real purpose of Christmas" realized just how close they were to where that first Christmas took place. That must have been pretty cool in itself. Love ya.Posted by bigsisevengreyerhawk at February 9, 2005 04:06 AM
They missed Eason Jordan, but I guess he was holed up at a five star hotel in London......Posted by Howard Veit at February 9, 2005 01:25 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(6) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)