Letter from Iraq #17

multinational forces
I am here at echo, its in diwaniyah iraq, Its polish controlled, a coalliton partner, but everyone is here, latvians, mongolians, romanians, el salvadorians, a few british and us the american kids. Its strange , some say that the poles and the iraqis have an agreement not to attack eachother. the longer you stay in iraq the more you realize how fucked up this place is, how many deals are made between sheiks and tribes in the area. Its amazing, everyone gets paid off.
of course the sentiment around here is the poles are useless as are the other coaliton partners here at echo, hate to say it, and I like that there is an international force, but supposedly they are merely window dressing, but that makes sense it really isn’t thier war. its not thier big fuck up. but it is aggravating realizing your life is in the hands of another peoples country. just recently I got mortarted again, this time much closer. how close , within 100 feet, talk about an adrenalin rush, now it seems I have been at both mortar attacks against our battalion, i must be a magner for this shit. and I was very scared, the first thought I had, was damn, it does sound like lightning.
you see the first time I was danger close to a mortar, it made a distinct sound, like lightning striking right on top of you. If any of you have ever been in a lighting storm and had lighting hit your close by or on your house, that is exactly the sound of terror that a rocket brings, you are never prepared for it. we had the tv on, but some said they heard the ominous ‘whiz’ as it went overhead and than landed. the scary part is seeing how close it landed, even scaried was the shrapnel, there was a shower trailer about 200 yards away, a piece of shrapnen the size of a tomato ripped right through 4 shower stalls, it took out satelite dishes, and sprayed everything with debris, we all went into the bunker, and there is that eerie realization that the bunker will not protect you from a direct hit, what it protects you from is shrapnel and collateral damage. great. anyways after ward everyone was taking pictures and talking, everyone was milling about, everyone on base came by to see the destruction.
of course the scary thing is that you can totally see yourself standing where it hit, its not like some empty field or some empty container depot where the mortar landed, because honestly you can’t see yourself being at that place, but where it hit was where people hang out and smoke….another reason how smoking can kill you. so it was much scarier actually seeing how close it was. its sort of like getting shot at and looking at the bullet holes and realizing they were just inches from your head. its that realization that makes it so hard to go to sleep at night tonight, and knowing our little sleeping trailers offer no protection at all to these things, I am sort of glad I am getting out of here soon, though they did say this was by far the closest they ever got mortarted,….whoopeee! right?
anyways it is sort of nice going to different bases, it makes time go by alot quicker, the multiational forces is sort of a kick as wel, seeing different camoflauge and different weapons and hearing different accents and languages, gosh I wonder what they are thnking, especially el salvador, this is so not even close to thier fight, but i guess thier country wants most favored nation status or something, i am sure there is some political bent to everything, there always is right?
of course there have been charges of corruption in Iraq. is that a shock to anyone, i am just upset that i am not making as much money as some of these people. but of course i would never come back here as a contractor. it really is the wild wild west here and there is alot of money, i don’t think there is a single contractor here who is doing it for patriotism, its all about the money, that is sad in itself, I guess most everyone is in it for the money but you think to yourself in life there is something more to lead your life than the pursuit of green paper, maybe I am being philisophical since I was very close to losing my life.
its been a busy week, military interogations, convoys, mortars, its a full week and I sincerely hope the rest of the deployment will be boring, thought its night like this you know you will never forget, they will stay with everyone here the rest of our lives, it will be a sharp corner in our life we will cut other things against, like job promotions, birth of children, and marriages, its that rock we collect in our pocket. speaking of which I found a bit of shrapnel from the mortar, they say we can’t take it home…but …its so small, what a reminder of the danger we are in. its funny we fool ourselves into thinking everything is just fine, maybe we need to do that to live, maybe we need to put this veil over our eyes and not think of death from above, but i am beging not to care, i go on leave soon for r and R and i will try to get back with shari, that is a long story I know most of you know about, but I don’t know what I will do with rejection, there is very little in this world i care about anymore, I feel i can let go of most of it, and if I am going insane, than its a gurgling feeling in my throat which I feel will sonn drown me, because there is nothing i want more or need than shari, just listening to myself I know that is not the sound of a rational person, but this is not the most rational and reasonable of times is it. thats no excuse, anyways, I don’t know what to say, this Iraq reminds me of a shoe with an impossible amount of knots tied up. and that stranglation feeling you get trying to get the shoe off without untieing it, does that make sense, like a necktie that you can’t get undone, like wrapping yourself up in your blanket at night during sleep and dreaming of being tied down but you can’t wake up and you can’t unwrap yourself from your blanket, that is the feeling.
anyways friends, take care and god bless.