A friend I reeact WWII is stationed in Bagdad.
He is a Cap. in Supply. It looks like the insurgents are losing steam.
Here is the lastest email from him.
"Things are getting a little old out here these days. I am probably suffering from the holiday blahs. I was watching Sound of Music tonight. Probably not a good idea. I should stick with the shoot em ups and comedies till we get back.
That information got a little more firmed up. We have a reasonably firm timetable for being home. I'll be back late April, depending on what time we depart. I'll be one of the last guys out. More benefits of my job.
I had a run in with a fellow captain a couple of days ago. I came out of my room headed for our newly renovated latrine. Shower with hot water and pressure, flush toilet, and right outside my room. This gives us three, one which is a dedicated female bathroom, and two which are basicly unisex. Its kinda neat to see how well this works. No one so far has had any trouble with this. The showers have doors and if the water is running, you don't go in, if clothes are hanging over the top, you don't go in. In any case, to my surprise, I discovered the door was locked. I became suspicious. The only legitimate reason for locking a public bathroom is because someone was up to something requiring privacy, like showering with a friend. I wish this had been the case. Instead I discover the nice captain had a key, and had decided that her privacy was so essential that the rest of us had no need to come in while she was washing her fuzzy little body. I was a couple of steps from the other latrine when she came out, hollered that it was her in there, and did I have a problem with it. I did and so informed her. She asked why was it a problem. "Selfish" I replied. She became upset and charged after me, screaming shrilly about how she had a right to privacy and that all the females in the area were at risk of being raped because they were standing naked in an unlocked room. I was almost willing to grant her point on this, but her insistance on people's right to privacy was somehow at odds with her actions, as she was giving me this speech as I stood at the urinal in the "men's" room with my penis in my hand. Apparently my right to privacy was not so important.
So, after finishing and performing the ritual shake, a spoke to her again, and attempted to explain why taking 1/3 of the available latrine facilities for her personal use was just not the right thing to do, and pointed out that did she really feel the fear of being assaulted or "walked in on" that she should use the other latrines whose showers came with locking doors and even ones which were dedicated for female use only. Seems logical to me. She was not so impressed. Her final words on the matter were, "I locked the door and will keep on locking the door every time."
Being the sweet, easy to get along with, compromising cream puff that I am, I caved in. She was very pleased with herself.
Yeah right. Since it was obvious that she would not now nor ever be able to understand simple consideration for others, nor how selfish her own actions were. (Oh by the way, no one else had a key, just her, she expected people who wanted it to search her out) I decided that since she could not be trusted to do the right thing, I would deny her the ability to do the wrong thing. Went and borrowed a screwdriver. Voila, problem solved. I'm going to have to take pictures of the ceiling where she went through it the next morning. I probably enjoyed that just a little too much, but damnit I really get tired of people saying how they do everything for the troops when it is their own selfish interests they are looking out for. When I get the opportunity to smack one of them down, I relish it.
Been working a mile a minute here for the last month. We got charged with setting up the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps training academy and New Iraqi Army military academy on the base. That has kept me writing purchase requests until the wee hours of the morning and for a while, had me delivering them daily to BIAP. There was one week where i was in the office every night until at least midnight then on the road the next day delivering the products from the night before. AAlmost done with the first flurry. I have two more contracts I am awaiting approval on, but in two weeks time I have financed the building of a training academy from the minute the man said go to the time we had all the major pieces in place. I'm pretty proud of that. We got a very short warning to get this stuff in place and we are going to get it done. Its a nice feeling.
A couple of people have asked about Saddam, its a nice thing that we got him, and it definitely takes the wind out of the sails of the former regime loyalists. But I don't see a lot of them in Baghdad. We seem to be dealing almost entirely with crime prevention these days. Our enemies are the criminal element and the foriegn fighters who have come looking for a ticket to paradise and some Americans to take with them. The best description of the current tactical situation I have seen was a series of letters written by battalion, brigade, and division commanders concerning whether we were winning or not, and how were we measuring it. They talked of how more and more people were joining the ICDC and Iraqi Police, more willing to come forward and inform on the insurgents. The level of trust has increased (we had one of our interpreters show up at the gate, park his car about 100 meters out, and walk up to the gate guard, hand him the detonator to the car bomb implanted in it. His family was being held and would be killed if he didn't use the car bomb against an american base before the end of the next morning. We raided the bad guys and rescued the man's family, caught the bomber.) This man trusted us with his children's lives.
Other indicators were the lack of replacements for insurgents we kill and capture. There is little interest in fighting the Americans. And little confidence in the insurgents ability to win. Pictures of the boys pulling Saddam from a muddy hole and getting checked for lice by the army docs has also gone a long way towards convincing a lot of people that maybe they are on the wrong side.
One other remark which made me personally feel very valuable was made by a battalion commander out in Ramadi. (I think) He was saying he was doing very well early on, when funds were plentiful, but since the system has become more refined and more care is placed on what funds are spent for, (byzantine bureaucratic process was the phrase he used) he has been unable to keep employing people and consequently his success has declined. My ability to work that system and successfully get our funds out of that same system has definitely made my presence worthwhile, both in terms of what the government is paying me and in terms of time spent away from my friends and family.