- 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003
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- 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
- 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
- 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
- 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
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- 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
- 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
Time to once again open my life up a little in order to share the plethora of wealth I'm about to absorb. I'm going to be back in Iraq through September, so hop on board and check back every couple of days, I'll do my best to update as much as possible. Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org And check out the site I'm working with: http://www.billroggio.com Support independent journalism!
Thursday, November 18, 2004
My final day with 3/116th was on Wednesday, November 3rd. As we were getting up for breakfast, the returns from the US were just coming in, so I did a story of troops in Afghanistan watching the returns. Thought the story was more than apt considering how important the elections were and the fact that these men were still fighting in Afghanistan, the lynchpin of the war on terror.
Everything went well as the predominately Bush crowd enjoyed early victory which would eventually turn into the nail bitter we are all now familiar with. As the networks were trying to figure out Ohio, it was time for me to go, so I grabbed my gear and headed for the gate.
Before climbing into the car with Ahmet, the unit presented me with a coin and a certificate for coming down to do holiday greetings. Great gesture that definitely made my day. BTW, these "coins" are unit coins typically made up for units when they deploy. I also got one from the 22nd MEU, both of which will go into the memory drawer forever.
The ride back was ok. Ahmet and I haven't been talking so it was cordial, but quiet. He let me know that there has been some weird things in Kabul and that in fact, he was worried about his safety. That's the line I draw. That's when you know things aren't all that healthy in the capital. Not that it was dangerous, but that even the fact that long term locals had fear, definitely raised the awareness level again. Regardless, it was good to get back and Ii was looking forward to managing the bureau for a few weeks, lay low and see it out my contract.
Unfortunately things didn't work out so well, and like before, the office is still out of control. Our production has dropped significantly and the morale is out the window. I have no choice but to just continue doing my best, covering my beat, with the hopes Istanbul will recognize where the problems lie.
For the past month, it's been Ramadan, which means breakfast at 0400 because the guys all fast until around 1720. Needless to say, I was treated like everyone else and ended up on a tuna fish, egg and pomegranate diet, which is taking its toll. To make matters worse, the guys WAY overspent the food budget (which I do not control or have any say in) and at this moment in the month, we continue to nearly starve due to lack of funds and organization. It's really just gotten to the point where I wake up when the sunrises and go to bed when it sets. Since no one gets up around here until 1100 - 1200ish, it just works out well for me. I get 6 hours of peace.
If the professionalism lacking isn't bad enough, culturally things have also been falling apart. I live in a house where the guys cheer when US and British soldiers are killed and scream bloody murder when a mosque full of iinsurgents is blown up on the TV. I get to hear about how awful Hiroshima was and that Pearl Harbor never happened. I get cheers when Margrat Hussein was executed and cries for war when an insurrgent is executed. It's all, collectively, taking a huge toll on me and I can't wait to go home.
One thing I can say is that this is giving me tons of practice in anger management. In fact, one of the guys got angry with me and did the old "stick your chest out and get in my face" routines. In the process, he knocked my Mac 17' off the table, breaking my display. Not only that, but my Final Cut editor is out as well. Now, normally the resulting action would be a swift ass kicking, but that wasn't the case as I just gathered my things and went to my room to start plotting another mission with the military just so I could get outta here.