Dispatch From Downrange
Dispatch From Downrange ĖIRAQ
I just wonít ever understand
A few days ago I was walking with my dog Mad around the perimeter of the base here. The base is in the process of shrinking by about half. T-Walls (20-foot high slab of concrete that fit together like Legos) are being put in place where the new boundaries are. It takes some getting used to as roadways that were open yesterday now are walled off. The Iraqi government is taking over the space we are moving out of. They come in, do an inventory, and take everything. Right now, there is a problem when we move to another location if we are carrying any electronic gear. Laptops, cameras, and TVs, hell anything at all is being confiscated. That is something we have to work around as I would hate to lose my personal gear, but that is exactly what has been happening to people moving out of here and going to another location or even home. It is being stolen. Why? Because of the Iraqi guard at the checkpointsócan. We do have a workaround, but it is convoluted at best.
Getting back to the point of the story, I was walking and heard a fairly loud bang up ahead and saw a column of smoke rising over the T-Wall. The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was headed that way, so I figured discretion being the better part of valor, I would find a different route for my afternoon exercise with Mad.
What is happening is, as we move the T-Walls in, that naturally opens up areas the local townsfolk did not have access to before. Well, they still donít, but that doesnít sit well with them. A certain group feels that if the area is not being used, they can just take it over. Thatís what was happening. A group of citizens tried to move into the now unoccupied buildings. The Iraqi government would have none of that and explained, rather forcefully, that the empty buildings were not up for grabs. To show their displeasure with that, one fellow donned a suicide vest and blew himself up at the wall in front of me. Now donít get me wrong, civil disobedience has been a right for a long time, but come on. This may sound hard but the end result was the wall needed to be cleaned. Thatís it.
I donít think I will ever understand what makes someone do this. Protest all you want, but this was non-effective and just a waste of someoneís life. The act made no difference. It didnít even inconvenience anyone or anything. It mainly went unnoticed and by the next day most likely forgotten. I just donít understand.
From just north of Bagdad
Iím Jon Harris and
This is a Dispatch from Downrange-Iraq