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Category Archives: OIF

Life in Iraq: Final Entry

I recently read in a friend’s blog, “It scares me that sometimes I wonder if the deployment is my only reality and everything else is just a dream.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The problem with the deployment is that every time you let your mind wander into thoughts about the future, all you see is more Army and future deployments, motor pool followed by stop-loss.  It’s not so much that you dread this experience or the here and now.  It’s that while you are here, now, the rest of your life is on hold, and it seems never ending.  What gets people through experiences like this are thoughts of the future, but when all you see in the future is another deployment, the mind game gets a little tricky.
So you stop thinking of the future, and you focus on the now.  Your 6 x 10 corner of life becomes your home.  Your friends and coworkers become your family.  Your job becomes your life, your reason for being.  And everything else–family, home, all the comforts and beauty of the world accross the ocean–it all becomes a distant dream.  The scary part is when it’s no longer a dream you even miss really.  And I guess that’s all part of the survival mechanism.  Some people begin to look for love here instead of longing for it over there.  You find fun in the simplest of things, rather than missing the old forms of entertainment.  The most fun you need is a friend who makes you laugh, and after a while, you don’t even miss the movies and bars and restaurants.  Good food becomes a relative term, and after a while, you forget what really, really good food tastes like. 
And I guess in a way, that’s not such a bad thing.  It’s a sort of Zen-Bhudist state of mind.  When you were once dreaming of the big house with the wrap-around porch, you now find that a 6 x 10 space is all you really need.  When people come and go every six weeks, and you realize that sometimes you enjoyed knowing them for those six weeks more than you ever enjoyed the company of some friends you once had, it gives you a new perspective of human relationships and what it means to really know somebody.  And you definately learn to be more forgiving because you have to be–we are, after all, stuck with each other over here, and under the circumstances, we’re all gonna get a chance to see the uglier sides of each other every once in a while. 
So I guess in some ways, the deployment becoming your reality isn’t necesarily a bad thing.  But deep down inside, somewhere, there’s always that voice that tells you there’s another life you could be living.  And it’s not the material comforts or relative safety of that life that’s calling to you.  It’s the love and the family that you either have, or wish you had, over there.  Because no matter what you experience in life, if you have a partner who’s going through it with you, it changes everything. 
 
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Posted by on January 19, 2008 in Iraq, OIF

 

Iran and the National Intelligence Estimate

Well the world was abuzz today with news of the National Intelligence Estimate that re-assessed Iran’s nuclear weapons program. All the headlines, from the broadcast networks to the pages off the printing press, read the same: Iran gave up its weapons, but U.S. policy remains unchanged. Now it’s no surprise that Bush critics and certain elements of the press are overlooking one key finding in the estimate that suggests our policy should remain unchanged, but it is even more frustrating that Bush has once again failed in his own defense. The fact is that the report states Iran continues its efforts to produce weapons-grade material, namely highly enriched uranium (HEU). Furthermore, the report states that Iran’s so-called civilian uranium enrichment program and other R&D programs that have conventional military applications constitute technologies that could be applied to the development of nuclear weapons–all of which are programs that have NOT been halted. According to the authors of the report, Tehran is, at a MINIMUM, “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.”
The NIE assesses that Iran’s centrifuge enrichment program is most likely where Iran would begin to develop enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, should Iran decide to pursue such plans, and that Iran did in fact resume its declared centrifuge enrichment activities in January 2006 (under the pretense of civil, rather than military, intentions of course.) The report further states that significant progress was made in installing the centrifuges in 2007, although Iran still faces significant technical difficulties in operating them (is this supposed to make us sleep better at night?) And finally, the report assesses that convincing Iranian leadership to abandon all future plans of eventual nuclear weapons development will be “difficult,” to put it mildly. News outlets are quick to point out that the report estimates Iran would not be capable of producing enough HEU for a nuclear weapon until the 2010 – 2015 time frame, and that leaves me wondering if reporters and journalists realize that we are coming up on 2008.
The bottom line is that, according the report’s own footnotes, when the authors of the report state that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, they are referring specifically to work on weapon design and COVERT uranium enrichment. The so-called “halted” nuclear weapons program does not refer to uranium enrichment projects that Iran has declared as “civil work,” which could be applied to the development of nuclear weapons, and are, incidentally, projects that are alive and kicking.
So in light of what the report actually says, I don’t know which is more frustrating–Associated Press headlines like “Nuke Report Means US Should Ease” and “Like Iraq, US Intel on Iran Faulty,” or the fact that once again, while Bush is clamoring to defend his position, he fails point out the most relevant facts–Iran continues its uranium enrichment efforts, which could easily be applied to nuclear weapons development. I simply do not understand how anyone could read the NIE and walk away with a sense of comfort or relief about Iran’s intentions. Please read past today’s headlines. Read the actual report.http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf?loc=interstitialskip
 
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Posted by on December 5, 2007 in Iran, Iraq, NIE, Nuclear Weapons, OIF

 

Halloween?

Well, I suppose if I am officially moving over to Myspace, I should probably use the blog. There’s not much to say these days, except keeping busy at work. The time has been flying by, but this month is crawling, as I am anxiously looking forward to going home on leave in November–and if I time it just right, I will miss all the legwork of Thanksgiving and show up just in time for the leftovers!

A friend recently sent me a Halloween care package–witch’s hat and wig and all–and in his letter, he expressed concern that it might not arrive in time for the holiday. Can you believe I actually had to look at the date on my watch to figure out if I missed Halloween? (It was only October 25th!) I keep loosing track of my phone calls home because I never know what day it is, or what day it was when I last called for that matter. Needless to say, whenever I do look down at my watch to check the date, I am very depressed that it is still October!

The good news is, we should be moving out of tents and into cans (trailers) soon. I will miss the M*A*S*H ambiance of the tents, although it’s not quite the same without the moonshine distiller. Alcohol would make this place so much more entertaining, although I don’t know when I’d actually find time to drink!

Well, the internet cafe is shutting down, so I better wrap this up. More to follow at a later date ….

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2007 in Halloween, Iraq, OIF

 

Moving to Myspace 12, 2007

Well, I’m moving over to the darkside. As much as I hate to do it, I will be slowly moving over to Myspace. Yahoo has made adding photos to 360 way too dificult, and registering for a 360 page is a pain in the rear for most people, so from now on, I will be making posts to Myspace. Besides, everyone and their brother already has a Myspace page, and it’s too time consuming to keep up with two blogs. I still say my 360 page looks cooler, but what can you do? Gotta go with the flow, right? Anyone who’s looking for my Myspace page can find me by searching for me by last name, or by my yahoo email address.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2007 in Iraq, OIF

 

My Little Corner of Life

Everyone Gets a Little More Space

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2007 in Iraq, OIF

 

Wrong Turn! July 17, 2007

You know you took a wrong turn somewhere in life when a freshly-hosed-down porta potty makes your day.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2007 in Iraq, OIF

 

July 16, 2007

“Nothing will make a woman forgive you simply and directly. She’ll humble you to the dust, bring forward things that have never happened, recall everything, forget nothing, add something of her own, and only then forgive you.” — Dostoevsky

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2007 in Iraq, OIF