Monday, August 20, 2007
Somebody Call Noah!
Af if fighting insurgents and holding off Iran weren't tough enough to deal with, let's throw in a massive flood of biblical proportions.
Hey Navy, time to head up to Mosul!
(Can't link it, but here's the story)
Army TimesAugust 27, 2007 Pg. 32
Iraqi Dam Expected To Burst, Engulf City, Air Base Any Day
By Kelly Kennedy
MOSUL, Iraq — As troops face at least five attacks a day from insurgents here, Army engineers, as well as the Iraq Ministry of Water Resources, battle to keep a beautiful dam 25 miles away from bursting and leaving the city submerged by the Tigris River.
“It’s not stable... we anticipate it going. It is beyond repair,” said Col. Stephen Twitty, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division commander, from his office at Forward Operating Base Marez.
In 1983, Saddam Hussein built the Saddam Dam in a picturesque area just above Mosul.
“That’s why Saddam wanted it there — because it’s pretty,” said Brig. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, deputy commander of U.S. forces deployed in several provinces around Mosul. “The dam is built well, but it’s built on gypsum. Saddam did some things that made no sense.”
Gypsum is a soft mineral known for being highly water-soluble and for shifting and compacting beneath heavy building material.
But the dam’s damage also poses another issue: Its hydroelectric plant provides the town’s power, and it is running at only half capacity, Wiercinski said.
Mosul itself is an archeologist’s dream. The area has been inhabited for 8,000 years. Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery, St. Elijah’s, stands on the U.S military base, and the tomb of Jonah — of “Jonah and the Whale” fame — is also inside Mosul.
Twitty said $28 million has been spent on 162 dam-repair projects.
Still, he said, “It is beyond repair. They need to rebuild.”
If the dam, which holds back 12 billion cubic meters of water, crumbles, the Tigris would not only flood Mosul, leaving the city of almost 2 million people under water, but would also flood the U.S. air base. That base includes the U.S. Combat Support Hospital for the region, as well as the airport.
If that happened, Twitty said a couple of big stadiums — also Hussein-built — are “part of the contingency plan.”
But the town, and the troops, would have only 3.5 hours to evacuate. And the troops know it: Almost every conversation in Mosul — over card games, coffee or even out on patrol — leads to speculation about when the dam will finally go.
To avoid impending disaster, a concrete plant was built near the dam for the sole purpose of pumping cement into the dam, “into those holes every day,” Wiercinski said.
The Corps of Engineers has created an alarm system, and half of FOB Marez is high enough to stay dry. But everyone on the west side of town will have to flee to higher ground.
“The whole town will be swept out,” Wiercinski said.
If — or when — the dam goes, “it’s not good.”
Yet Another Reason to Join the Air Force
Why Does The World Ignore History?
This is why I have lost faith in the international community:
Iran shells villages in Iraq
Iran Kidnaps British Sailors
Iran Killing US Soldiers almost daily in Iraq
Iran Funding Hezbollah
Iran Funding Hammas
Iran Instigating Lebanon-Israeli Conflict
Iran Threatens Israel Will Glow
Iran Ignores UN, Continues Nuclear Ambitions
Women Arrested for Exposing Wrists, Ankles, Hair
Americans and Iraqis are dying at the hands of Iranian soldiers and terrorists.
The world does nothing.
Iranian women are being persecuted, oppressed.
The world does nothing.
Iran is building nuclear weapons.
The world does nothing.
Iran is vowing war against Israel.
The world does nothing.
Iran funds terrorists in Lebanon, Palestine.
The world does nothing.
Iran continues to be aggressive in the region.
The world does nothing.
What is it going to take for the world to do something?
What is it going to take for the world to stop this madness?
How many more people will need to be oppressed, tortured, or killed before the world does something?
Does any of this sound familiar? We've been here before, and we're headed there again.
Here's the cost of what happened the last time we were at this point in history and did nothing.
Military Dead: 22,000,000+
Civlian Dead: 40,000,000+
Total Dead: 62,000,000+
All because nobody stood up and resisted until it was too late.
Diplomacy must be the tip of the spear, but when diplomacy fails....
This message brought to you by those in this world who still remember what great leadership is supposed to look like.
Viva La Revolucion!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Holy crap, I got off my ass and took some time to add some links to my 'Daily Reads' list, since these sites are in fact my daily reads. Gee, maybe I'll get around to updating the rest of this site by 2010.
Most Certainly Not
Did You See This
Jake Silver Show
Doc in the Box
Duty in the Desert
These are the kinds of sites blogs were invented for.
Now, if I've missed anything, messed anything up, or I forgot something or someone, please let me know.
Oh, and Tumbleweed.... when are you going to set something up? I'm just hoping to post some stories about your crazy college days some day.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Baghdad from Above, pt II
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Remember Operational Security
Baghdad's 'Little Venice'
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
True Stories of the IqAF
The Iraqi Air Force is closer to being like us than ever before. I know this because of a great story this Major I work with shared with me today.
"Sitting in the Air Operations Center, awaiting my Iraqi friends to go to coffee at the Green Bean, it was late in the evening so I was there during final call to prayer. There were several guys on the floor with their pray rugs. Imagine a command briefing room with long desks and computers on them, this is where they are praying.
There are also several Iraqi’s on the computer working (surfing porn), several on cell phones, and one listening to a “new” CD given to him by his American counterpart…the Bee Gee’s. He's playing the song “Staying Alive".
SO, there I sit waiting, guys praying to Allah, guys surfing porn, guys talking to their wive’s, all the while “staying alive” echos through the building.
You can only smile."
What did I tell you. Are they Air Force material or what? What's next for them; making spoof commercials of the Iraqi Air Force commercials and posting them on YouTube?
We're sitting here reviewing the previous US Visa application for an Iraqi General when we came across his 'first' attempt.
He listed his supervisor as 'General Satan.' It's a slight mispelling from the real name.
Needless to say his application was rejected and he had to reapply.
Couldn't stop laughing for a few minutes after that one.
It's the little things in life that make is special.
On Sunday night I was on a helo flight back to the International Zone. I've been flying on Blackhawks quite frequently now, but this flight was different. Yes, the pucker factor was still there. You're flying over some people who would give anything to take you out. While you're sitting next to the windowless door you can't help but think about what one bullet shot up could do to you, let alone one shoulder-launched missile.
Then again, all of those fears are overshadowed by the beauty of what's below. During the day you can't help but smile as you fly between towering buildings, over power lines and ornate mosques, past groups of children playing soccer or farmers tending to their sheep. At night it's completely different. The city is lit up as far as the eye can see. It reminded me of flying over Dallas at night. Every house had backyard lights on. Some had camp fires, others you could see TVs flickering through windows. New and old cars in driveways. These people... they're so much like us.
Looking out across the city at night is like looking at a bunch of sparkling diamonds. Looking up, I noticed the constellation Orion just above the horizon, seemingly watching over the city. Orion is my second favorite constellation, right behind the Southern Cross. Orion has watched over me every place I've ever been to around the world. Superstitious, sure, but also reassuring.
It was a great flight back and forth along the rivers, weaving in and out until touch down. Occasionally the defensive flares would launch from the helo, but instead of worrying about why they launched I couldn't help but enjoy the show.
There's so much going on out here, and so much more to write about, but so little time to write. I think I've become more of an arms dealer than an Air Force Officer in my daily business, but it's all for the better. If the Iraqis don't have what they need to protect themselves, we'll be here forever.
Wish I could have filmed that flight.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
'Dude Where's The Beach' Turns 3 Years Old
I started this blog on 7 August 2004 while preparing for my 2nd Air Force deployment, and first deployment to Iraq. I had heard little about blogs before I came across Colby Buzzell's blog, My War. His insight was brilliant, and it made me realize how much I missed writing. Also, it was a great way to write about my experiences so my family would know how I was doing. Ironically, my family rarely reads this thing, but my close friends have always managed to stop on by, and even contribute.
This blog is still up because I enjoy writing. Haven't done much writing lately on the site, but I have been working on things I never imagined I'd do. I recently finished a screenplay and I'm trying to start a book while I'm out here, but that's a little harder because I have much less time than before. Wish the damn insurgents would tone it down a bit. But... I'm still here, still posting, and enjoying every minute of it. If I didn't enjoy it I'd stop in a heartbeat.
Even better, some great folks stop on by every now and then to say hi and leave a comment or two. It makes this thing worth it. I've also been lucky enough to meet a few of you along the way. Thank you guys, gals, nerds, geeks, and everyone in between. Your comments mean a lot to me, especially since I'm deployed now. Interaction with folks back home makes life here better.
My first post is here. Nothing exciting, but it was a start.
Thanks again for stopping by, and Cheers! Holding my Iraqi-Approved non-alcoholic beer up high, I thank you all.
Here are my stats for the past 3 years.
1 Trip completely around the world.
2 Trips to Iraq.
3 Years of venting and sharing what's on my mind. (Scary, isn't it).
4 Different blog awards or honors I've been nominated for.
5 Die-hard readers that are THE best in the world.
20+ links that need to be fixed or replaced, but I'm too lazy/busy to get to it.
80+ nations have logged on, mostly looking for photos of booze and women. (seriously)
100+ Times I've whined about how much I miss the beach, yet I'm still landlocked.
200+ Times I've had to apologize for writing something I shouldn't have written.
500+ Times the Generalisima (wife) has told me to get off the damn computer.
923 posts on everything from movies, to military, to marriage, Martians, moonbats, mayhem, misery, music, and many many many others.
3,000+ typos and counting.
100,000+ hits (although I didn't add a hit counter until March 05, the average is there)
Still looking for that beach....
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Never Forget... Chuck Norris and OPSEC go hand in hand
More Random Stuff in Iraq
Then again, is anything random out here?
Flying over South-Central Baghdad. I thought I could see Snoop down there.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Surfing in Iraq, El Capitan Style
Flying around Iraq in a Blackhawk can be a little worrisome when you know what the threat is below... until you see that your gunners are California National Guardsmen. After that, it's smooth sailing. If only they could fly down to an In-N-Out burger on the way back to Baghdad.
They didn't call this place the Fertile Crescent for nothing. This place is green.
I liked this shot the best. We had just taken off over the Tigris river and the sun hit the water perfectly. This nation might be in turmoil, but the land itself is beautiful.