Thursday, October 30, 2003

Iraqi Public Opinion

The Sand storm only lasted for a few hours. It went away and it started to rain. It has been cold all day. It reminds me alot of like spring time back home. The cool breeze just feels like fall back home. I keep thinking about seeing leaves on the ground. So, now I kind of feel kinda feel alittle more like it's home. It is amusing to watch Iraqis bundle up in winter jackets and shiver when it's probably 60 degrees at night. They come up and ask me "Aren't you cold"? I just laugh and say no i'm not. However, that is a lie, since being used to the hot weather it feels cold, but i know back home 60 degrees would be cause for celebration and a visit to the beach.

Some people look at Iraqis as camel riders and sheep herders. The truth is, they are very civilized. The city of Baghdad is just like any big city I've been to in the states. However, there is the occasional bombed out buildings you pass by. Everyone has cars, and there are shops open all along busy streets with people trying to sell goods. Talking to alot of the people, they seem much like us americans. The only difference is, they have a more conservative culture. They aren't as open as we Americans are. With all the ridiculous haircuts and cloths some people wear back in the United States. I think those who are not happy with the occupation thought when the Americans came that everything would become much better. Though much has improved since then, these people are really impatient, they are always worried about what is going to happen tomorrow, rather than further in the future. One well educated Iraqi I talk to often that lives by, he used to live in the UK for a few years and speaks perfect english, expect for an occasional word or 2 that you have to explain the meaning of it. He owns a computer gaming cafe in Al Mansur district which is one of the better neighborhoods, mostly doctors and engineers. He seems pessimistic about the whole thing at first. He thought the Americans were doing a noble thing, but he had doubt that the Iraqi people have the patience for this. A few months ago though, he said the Iraqi attitude was starting to change and that while riding with strangers in Taxi's, he told me alot of the people are getting optimistic now and looking forward to the future. Some Iraqis do blame the coalition for the bombings. I can't really blame them, after all, the CPA is responsible for returning order. Some would say that is unfair. However, if everything started to go chaotic in the states and the police were unable to stop or contain it, I know Americans would be blaming the government and the police for it.

Sand Storm!

Today has been cloudy all day. For the most part it is sunny pretty much every single day with no clouds. Tonight it started to get really windy and cold. We're all climatized to 120-130 and sometimes 140 degrees during the summer. So, 70 degrees feels cold to us. At approximately 11 PM local, all a sudden a sand storm hits. I haven't seen one for about 6 or 7 months, and I this is like the first Sand storm since the war started that hit Baghdad. The visibility went from unlimited to a few hundred feet in just a few minutes. They just seem to come out of no where. I hope this doesn't last too long. I am from the midwest, so sand storms are something I am still not really used to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Brave Iraqi Police

I have found a ray of light in this dark time. 40 or so Iraqis were killed and more than 200 seriously injured. It is very sad that this had to happen to ordinary people doing their job and trying to make Iraq a better place. The Iraqi Police were hit the hardest. Immediately, you would think that many would put down their badges and quit after all the death and chaos of yesterday. Yet, they all are still there, doing their job. It is truly amazing, and I am deeply inspired by it. These guys are heroes, not only to me and the Iraqis, but to the rest of the world. They are so brave, that they are still out doing their job, because it is the right thing to do. They are so selfless, they are like the fire fighters of 9/11. Seeing them just like any other day is so amazing, and they probably all know at least one of their buddies was killed or hurt in those bombings. God smile on the Iraqi police and God bless a free Iraq.

Thanks for the Support

Wow, I can't believe how much e-mail I have been literally flooded with today. I must have gotten more than 100 e-mails. So, my site must be starting to get really popular. I am not really sure if that is a good thing. I'm really sorry if I am not able to write all of you back, I just don't have the time. About 99.9% of all the e-mails I get are thanks and support for what we are doing over here. Of course there is that little .1% that always got something bad to say. Many people say we are heroes, but I think all of us look at this as just a job that needs to get done. Thank you so much for all the kind e-mails, and I will try to post everyday.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Bloody Baghdad

Well, I just caught wind of all the stuff that has been happening today. I'm shocked to say the least. A bombing at the Red Cross and bombings happening all over the place. How pathetic, I find it funny how they want to show how great their religion is by blowing up as many Iraqi civilians as they can on their holiday. All this is just making me really sick. You know all the democrats running for office are going to use this situation for political leverage. Funny how none of them cowards have been bold enough to come and see Iraq for themselves, maybe then, they would have a different opinion about Iraq. This will probably get more Iraqis to see just how evil these terrorists are and that they just use religion as a recruiting tool for their own agenda. I can tell you one thing though, not a single Iraqi will tell you that Iraqis do this type of stuff, it is foreign terrorists that do this kind of stuff. Before I close this though, I want you to not let this give you a bad idea about Iraq. Right now, there has been ALOT of progress in this country. My Iraqi friend who works with the Military Police as a translator said they used to get 100 reports of car theft a day at their checkpoint alone. Ever since the introduction of Iraqi police, that number has dwindled down to 2 a day. The night time has become much more quiet and the electricity stays on much longer than it used to. Every Iraqi I talk to says everyone is getting really optimistic about the future of Iraq, and believe it will be the great nation it used to be. It is also really something to watch, a nation go from no government or social services to where it is now. I give it about 5 to 10 years before Iraq will become and light to all other Arab nations.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Exciting Day

Well, another interesting thing has happened today. At about 9pm, while working on the computer, checking all my e-mail, I heard what can only be described as loud thumps, the sound of mortars getting shot out of tubes. 2 of them to be exact, and followed by 2 loud booms. Another attack on coalition forces I guess, it happened what appears to be within a mile from here. Probably 81mm Mortars, because it was too loud to be 60mm mortars and not loud enough to be 120mm mortars. Everyone scrambled around, running to their rooms to get their weapons and all ran onto the roof incase we were under attack. The guy we had on guard though said the attack took place alittle bit aways. We could see the dust cloud in the distance where the mortars fell. No one probably got hurt, and I doubt the news will cover it, since this does happen often, but not in this particular area. This is just attacks being carried out to try and cause as much chaos as possible hoping to get the USA to leave, and who can blame them? For so many years America has always cut and run when it's soldiers die, pathetic weak leaders we have. Despite many many resistance cells and fedayeen cells that get uncovered and arrested or killed, which we find these cells all the time, despite all the successes (you never hear about in the news) we've had in cracking down on these guys, they still manage to hit us. We can make this Iraq a great place, but it is going to take patience and time.

Al Rasheed Hotel Attack

The Al Rasheed Hotel is somewhere about 1 or two miles away from my location. The occurred about 6am in the morning. My friends were woken up by 7 thundering booms that rattled the building. I went to sleep at about 3am, and hadn't gotten much sleep. So, I slept through the attack. My friends later told me about it and said they couldn't believe I slept right through it. Then later on I checked out the news, I was stunned to say the least. Stuff like this really pisses me off and makes me want to find out who did it and just shoot them. I would show no remorse at all for these scum bags. Being here and all, I guess it just makes me feel that every attack on americans feels so personal to me and I get really enraged and just want to kill.

Some Baathist Iraqi Police

This is kind of funny, I was talking to some guys who came by from the 82nd Airborne who are also deployed to Iraq. I was told about this time they worked with Military Police. As they were driving around the city they spotted an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). They had to lock down the neighborhood immediately and have EOD (explosive experts) come and disarm the bomb. While they had stopped all traffic going in and out, all of a sudden a IP (Iraqi Police) car quickly drove up to the IED and the officer quickly got out of his cruiser and grabbed the IED and put it in the car and quickly drove off. They were all kinda stunned to see this and didn't do anything to stop the IP from getting away. Personally, I would have given a few warning shots and just lit the car up, or blow out it's tires and then chase him but it was really dumb to not have done anything and let him get away. So now that has got me thinking that there are probably some bad apples in the police that might be setting up IEDs.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

About Me

People have been starting to ask more about me and what my job over here in Iraq is. So I’ll explain, I’m a Infantryman (aka Grunt or Trigger Puller) in the United States Army. My job here in Iraq is mostly to provide security for this this small building in this nice residental area, about 5 others that do the same. We also have Iraqi guards that we have hired to help with security, such as posting them at barriers outside our building making sure only friendly vehicles can get inside, they are armed with AK-47s. On the other hand, my job before also has been going on raids. I myself have been on about 4 raids since I’ve been here. I am a m249 SAW gunner, which is a light machine gun, but I have been issued an M4 for raids and such, it’s not easy to be fast when you’re carrying a 20 pound machine gun around. I was born in Michigan, which I miss very much, I haven’t been home since last Christmas, and we left in March. Expecting to stay here for a year, though we haven’t ruled out maybe having to stay for a year and a half, like the 101st Airborne are having to do. Someone asked me how is it we have internet? Well, the military is having little areas set up with computers and phones for soldiers to goto so they can get a chance to e-mail or call their family. Plus, Iraqis are setting up a lot of internet cafes for soldiers inside their compounds. Currently, we are 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, usually it’s 8, but I guess Iraq has Daylight Savings before everyone else, so once the US hits daylight savings the time should go back to normal. Before the war, I was convinced the President was doing the right now, now I have a more moderate view about the war. I don’t think the President lied, and there are probably WMD buried under some rock somwhere, after all, any Iraqi I’ve talked to said they believe Saddam had WMD. But I do think this war was not necessary in that I don’t believe Iraq was a threat to us, however I think it is justified in saving 28 million people from a ruthless dictator. There are reasons why I like being in Iraq and reasons I don’t like it. For one, it is really interesting talking to people from another part of the world, and one thing I’ve notice, they aren’t all that different than us Americans. But also, home just seems so much like the perfect place after being here in Iraq, power goes out severals times a day, and many bombed out buildings from the bombings. However, here, I feel like I am making a difference, and that boosts morale for me and helps me to keep staying focused on what I have to do.


A few days ago M113s APCs and a Hmmwv drove by. Apparently, now they are starting to do patrols again. This I haven’t seen any armored vehicles move down through this neighborhood in awhile. I must reiterate that they are M113s, this is a light armored vehicle. To me, this just screams “Ambush me,” as I’m quite sure an RPG could quite easily pierce it. This is a city, it is very easy to ambush armor, haven’t they learned anything from previous wars, like the Soviets losing so much armor from Ambushes when they were busy taking Berlin, or Somalia. The only way I’d really feel comfortable doing a patrol in a armored vehicle, is if I was in a Bradley, RPGs aren’t effective against those, for the most part they’ll just bounce off. To my amazment, I found out that an IED exploded by a m1 Abrams, and somhow a piece of it’s shrapnel pierced the turret, these things are nearly invincible, it must have hit a soft spot.

A week ago, I was talking to an Iraqi that lives a few houses down the way. He can speak english extremely well, and he is very educated. He usually stops by for alittle bit and we talk about politics. He is wealthy, so he doesn’t need to work right now, but he doesn’t have anything to do, so he works with 1st Amored Division Military Police at some checkpoint. His job is to just translate for the Military Police. He was talking to me that the Iraqi people feared but didn’t respect the Iraqi Police before the regime went away, but now the people respect but don’t fear the Iraqi Police. He said his checkpoint used to get about 100 reports of car theft from Iraqis, now after the Iraqi Police have been around for alittle while, the car theft reports have gone down to about 2 a day for his checkpoint. Plus, a lot of criminals are afraid to commit crime because Iraqi Police have time and again just shot the criminals because the criminals were carrying weapons, so now they are starting to think twice about what they do. From being in Baghdad since May, I have noticed a huge change in Iraq, despite the attacks, there has been a lot of progress. When I’m doing guard in the morning, I watch these taxi cabs come by and stop at the houses of Iraqis and pick of their children who are wearing school uniforms and taking them off to school. Also you see big buses of all sorts packed with kids in school uniforms and driving off to school.

Friday, October 24, 2003

New Sheriff in Town

I am a Solder of the United States Army, currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq. My goal in making this site is to give people back home and abroad on the daily life for the American soldier here in Baghdad, Iraq. I dont think the media covers this place that well. I will have an unbias'd oppinion, so I'll even be critical toward what the US military does here in Iraq. However, I will also re-iterate, that alot of stories on the news dont always give the full true stories. Anyway, that is my goal, I hope I can get as many people as possable to visit this site.