Friday, June 16, 2006

From Cuivenar

Just a Day Trip (my title)

We loaded up and I got the chance to talk to our Iraqi security escort. They seemed like sharp guys and were at the ready for anything that might come up. They bragged that they could deploy either side within seconds or change a tire in 1:05 minutes. Not bad. The route was to be up MSR Tampa, and for anybody who knows Tampa, it is long and boring in between cities, a dangerous and wreck-strewn mess in each city. It passes some rather famous towns, Baquba, Taji, Balad, Tikrit, and Mosul. We take the left turn at Mosul and you'll end up at Tel Afar.

The PSD decided that he would prefer to take every by-pass around the towns that he could. And we did. We went way on out in the country. At one point you could look east and see the foothills rising out of the desert basin. It was rather beautiful. Granted a good deal of my work has been in the cities, and except for travel, I've seen little of the country side, and it left me with the impression that we were trying to control the cities and leaving the countryside to the terrorists. I will have to drop that impression after this trip. We travelled in "low profile" vehicles which is to say as close to the iraqi look as we can and still be armored. No big tank looking SUVs, no guns bristling out of every window, just a couple of cars zooming down the highway. Now, don't let that fool ya. There are lead vehicles and trailing vehicles with small armies in them. And each vehicle with pax also contains a small arsenal. But one has to admit it. In Iraq, casualties nowadays are rarely caused by rifle fire or RPG or any direct attack. The trouble is IEDs and the new EFD (shape charges).


Since we'd missed dinner, the security manager of my company took me over to "Mustafa's House" for a little barbeque. The big event was England versus Trinidad & Tobago. I think it's hilarious that in England there is a debate about flying the English flag because of it's reference to the Crusades (which it doesn't), while here in Iraq a muslim English football fan decorated his entire villa with English flags and jerseys of all his favorite teams.


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