Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Update #1

Stage one down. Now, if I can just get to Kuwait...

I'll see if there is net access where I will be, in Kuwait. I'll probably be stuck there a for a little bit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On the Road Home

I'm on the way home at long last. It isn't a quick process, however. I will be coming back in four stages - and stage 1 starts tonight. I may be out of touch while I make my way down South. I'll update as possible.
I hope to travel in an MRAP like this,

Rather than by this (h/t Scribal Terror)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Obligatory Crossed Swords Post

The former parade ground for the Iraqi military still has the famous "Crossed Swords" at both ends. If you are in Baghdad, you simply must have your picture taken there. I am no different, so here it is.

What struck me when I saw the one arm in disrepair was the memory of the words from "Ozymandias" by Shelly. "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair." Yes, do so. Would that every Kim Il Sung, Bashir Asad and Fidel Castro be made to look at this. And despair.

Nobody marches to salute Saddam. Nobody maintains the "glory" of his works. Dead by the ruling of the judiciary in a representative government that has washed away the power, the privilege and position of his party. His sons wiped away like any other criminal scum who go down shooting. His enemies make a tourist stop of his former place of follower-worship.

Despair, ye "mighty". Despair.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let us hope they build less of these in the future

War Memorial in Baghdad. They need no more of these, please. Now if their neighbors in Iran and Syria would lay off, they could get to the point where these become historical curiosities, rather than recent additions to the landscape.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prime Baghdad Real Estate

So, not too bad looking, eh?

Ooh - not so much from this side...

The one time "Believers' Palace". Next time someone tells you the real estate market in the US is tough, point them here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So, who is going to fill all these positions?

One thing I am sure that does not occur to the average US voter, is the number of positions that will be in play this Election. And by that, I mean the ones in the Department of Defense. When the new CinC is sworn in, whomever it may be, they will make their mark on the DoD by filling the positions in the Department that set policies for EVERYTHING.

Just the Office of the Secretary of Defense alone is quite an imposing structure:

Here are some of the positions in the Department will be selected by our next CinC:

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Director of Defense Research and Engineering
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics and Materiel Readiness)
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs)
Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition Reform)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Advanced Systems and Concepts)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Industrial Affairs)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Science and Technology)
Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Director for Program Analysis and Evaluation
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Readiness)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Integration)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Planning)
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Strategy and Threat Reduction)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy Support)
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Technology Security Policy)
Defense Advisor, U.S. Mission NATO
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Legislative Affairs)
Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
General Counsel of the DoD
Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Intelligence Oversight)
Director of Administration and Management
Director of Net Assessment

Can your choice for President fill these positions with the right people? It is a question I am afraid few to none ask themselves when they consider a vote. I realize it is a bit narrow a question - but we are at war, and this may matter more than in "normal" times.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mobile Breadmakers

I had previously encountered the breadmakers of Afghanistan:
Traditional, darn tasty, and only 4 afghani each. The above is in the city of Charikar, Parwan Province.

This time around, in Baghdad Iraq, I found a similar bread - but with some differences:

These fellows had the mobile version of the traditional bread oven. Still good stuff, they just bring the oven to you...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Over Tigris, in the Night. A (Rough) First Draft

October 9, 2008:

In a quiet waiting line
of Soldiers at the twilight.
Stirring when we hear
the rotor whine of
blades come near.

The crew chief waves us o’er
to his waiting craft.
Armored, belted, locked we sit
near each open door
on the frame – we lift!

Over groves of date palm
and scattered farms we streak.
Turning to follow Tigris’ path along,
our rotors sound an airborne Psalm.
A turbine-soul, given song.

Baghdad’s lights catch me
with a dazzling flash.
So low flew our mission
o’er Tigris’ flow, it seemed we
slipped into a dream-like vision

A flare a-lights, joins our Iraqi night,
but soon melts into the City colors.
The door gunners keep watch upon
the River banks as our flight
soars over bridges there - then gone.

We turn by the heart of Baghdad,
and the crew scans the night
one last time. Soon we dropped
to the silent concrete pad,
the rotor hum then abated.

Though my day was passing long,
the night had shown me wonders
and I was loathe to let them go.
Reverie takes the place of engine-song
The others silent, perhaps thinking so.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Vehicle Accesory...

That you need, round these parts. At home, not so much, I would hope.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Iiiiiiiit's me, hurray!

Just hanging out at the FARP. Not much of a gas station, even if they do serve helicopters. No snack shop, no coffee, no restrooms or pay phones...sheesh, you'd think I was in the middle of nowhere, or Iraq. Oh, wait...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Over Baghdad

I was on the road...er, above the road again this last week. On one leg of my trip, I was next to the door gunner. Were I a better photographer, you could have seen more of the city. Still, I think this give a bit of the idea of what I could see.

Just a few more travels and then the fun one starts - the trip home!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cthulhu Month Once Again

Take a break from your regular horror and stop on by Illini6 for another month of Cthulhu images.

This is the third annual Cthulhu month when I put a different Cthulhoid image on the blog each day.

There are also lots of good things to read over there.

Man! I am so glad we got away from that Army of One slogan.


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