Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tales From Taji (aka Iraq>>>hell>>>handbasket)

I see Iraq's been back in the news a bit lately. The last combat brigade has left, the war is over, and the lights have been turned out.

Uh, hold on a minute...

I'm still here.

In fact, a number of us are...Army included.

Things have changed - the population of Taji has plumetted, no real waiting lines for anything, and they just closed one of our DFACs (dining facilities). It's not all puppy dogs and rainbows, though - we watch the news, same as everyone. We know about all the bombings in Baghdad around the country. Seems some of the not-so-nice people were just waiting for the drawdown before stirring the pot again. I doubt they'll bring American combat troops back in again. Instead, everyone's depending on the Iraqi Defense Force to do the protecting within the country.

Okay, so they're not all that efficient, yet. They're getting there.

At least for the next year of our 'occupation' we'll be protected by the U.S. Army, as well as some private security forces. We'll be safe, but there's still some...tension about the situation. No plans to give the civilian contractors guns, but they have done that before. I haven't shot a gun in 25 years, but I'm pretty sure the sequence to follow is still 'aim, pull, BANG.'


There have been numerous articles lately about the monetary waste in Iraq. Of course, I'm not privvy to the particulars, but can totally believe the stories I've read.

Rather than recount everything, read this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38903955/ns/world_news-%20mideastn_africa/

Billions of dollars we could have used for our own citizens. We never should have gotten involved over here...


The Army's bigger than it used to be...literally. Okay, the people IN the Army are bigger.

It used to be that military folk were in the best shape of anyone. Hours of running and working out everyday. Good, healthy food, and plenty of rest.

Something changed. Oh yeah, computers...video games...fast food...more electronic warfare with less hands-on action. It's all added-up to a larger-midriff Army.

The other day I picked-up my laundry, and as I stepped onto the sidewalk I met two sergeants walking the opposite direction. You'd have guessed they just walked out of a Golden Corral after spending a couple of hours at the buffet. They were large. Beer bellies without the beer.

Evidently, the higher-ups have taken notice, too. This article was in today's electrons: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38926368/ns/health-fitness

1 comment:

  1. Hi Atlas,

    Just read through your blog and wanted to send my greetings and thanks for chronicling your adventure. This post on military obesity reminded me of an interesting New York Times article about how they are having to redesign boot camp to accommodate the out of shape recruits. Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/us/31soldier.html?ref=us

    In other news, Michiel is on the ice and I'm getting ready to go at the beginning of Oct as the CTAM (Transantarctic Mountains) Field Camp Cargo Coordinator. We'll miss you but we're glad that you're only a Facebook posting away.

    Stay cool, stay safe and have a great vacation in MO.