Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Letter 10


Hey everybody,
How are you all doing? I'm doing good. I finally have a mailing address! I'll put it at the bottom, but first I'll tell you about my trip to Camp Falcon. The trip through Baghdad was interesting, but not too interesting. This country has some nice historic buildings, but the majority of it is just dirty and filthy. There is trash all over the place and all of the oil refineraries and factories pump out smog constantly. Lucky for me, Falcon is downwind of all of that, so it smells like burning tires here everyday. I went through Camp Victory and Liberty and those places were nice, especially Liberty. Those people live on a lake in palaces and resorts. If you hear anyone say they have it bad from one of those places, don't believe them. Yeah, the threat is still the same, but the quality of living is just so much better. We are going to Mosul soon unless things change again. It is going to be a long tr ip and I don't know what to expect when I get up there so I might not be on here for a couple of days or for as long as three weeks. We are scheduled to stay there and support the elections before coming back to Falcon. We are going to be travelling with the commandos on our way up there, so this trip is looking like it will be a lot more interesting than my last one. If you send anything soon I should still be able to receive it before Christmas. They recommend sending packages before the 5th of December in order to make it back to the states, so I assume it is the same in reverse. I'll send some pictures as soon as I get a chance to get on here again. Talk to you all soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Letter 9--Falcon


Well, I'm done with another camp and will be heading to Falcon soon. Our training here was okay, a lot of classroom work, well, actually it was a lot of power point presentations. We did get a lot of information though. Our journey should be an interesting trip, we will most likely travel through downtown Baghdad. Once we get there we are going to go meet with the Iraqis that we will be working with. I'm sure I will have a lot more to tell you once I get to another computer. Hopefully it is just about the sights and how our interaction with the Iraqis goes. I will tell you all about it as soon as I can.
keeping my head down,

Monday, November 28, 2005

Letter 8


Hi everyone, just letting you know how I'm doing. We all got to go to the coalition side of Taji today to go to the PX. It was nice on that side of the base, we ate dinner in a huge dinning facility that had a taco bar, a pasta bar, a mongolian-style stir fry, a salad station, short order, a Baskin Robbins bar, and the main line. Lots of food to choose from and it was all good. Much better than the stuff they have been feeding us, like spinach stew. The PX was huge too, it was like going to a PX on post. For those who don't know PX is Post Exchange and it is just like a small version of Wal-mart, except tax free. They also had a Cinnabon and several other restaurants. Everything was going pretty good until I heard a couple of explosions. The base got hit with a few mortars some distance away from where we were. I think it blew up someone's roof but nobody was hurt. I'm doing fine and I will keep you guys up to date on what is going on around here. Hope your day of shopping isn't quite as exciting as mine.

letter 7


I have finally discovered the cause of all of America's problems. Amazingly enough, I don't think politicians are to blame. All of America's problems stem from the fact that there are countries out there that actually use this type of toilet. If they could go someplace and have a moment to themselves where they could have some time to think or read the paper, maybe things would be better. I still haven't gotten the courage to actually use this thing. This one actually has toilet paper in it, but we were told we can't flush the paper we have to take it with us and throw it away. There is usually a little hose attached to the faucet, but I don't think that is supposed to be used for cleaning yourself, who knows what the locals do with it. In Kuwait they would throw used water bottles in the urinals, I don't really want to know what they were using them for either. Luckily we have some real American style toilets and porta-johns ou t here. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Letter 6

Hey everyone,

Well, this is the second Thanksgiving in a row that I've missed with family and friends, luckily I've made a lot of friends here and we all celebrated together. Some of them have missed Thanksgiving and Christmas three times in a row, so I at least have that to be thankful for. The guys here did a really good job of fixing this place up today. There were lots of decorations and what appeared to be bread carved into different animals. The most prominent of which happened to be a stegosaurus. I'm not sure what that has to do with Thanksgiving, but that is what we got. The menu wasn't too bad either: Turkey, roast beef, glazed ham, several varieties of vegetables such as sweet potatos, carrots, green beans, mixed salad, shrimp, a huge selection of desserts, pita bread, and beverages including chai tea. I hope everyone there had/will have a great Thanksgiving (depending on which time zone you are in and when you get this email). ; Thanks for supporting me and the rest of the troops out here.



Letter 5


You would think that I would follow politics a little closer, but I just watch the intel reports and see how they relate to what I'm doing over here. Basically any time I hear Fox or CNN mention Iraq or Baghdad. I don't get to watch the news much here, but whenever I log on I can usually see something about the war or what the President is up to in Iran, China, or North Korea. I'll leave the politics to you and the politicians and I'll take care of things over on this side. I have seen a lot of cool things that we get to use to help us defend against the insurgents, most of it is signal related, so I guess that's why they needed me. I've never seen it before or even heard of it, but the Army usually doesn't make things that the Soldier can't figure out. I have looked at the website and I think it is really cool, I never thought what I said would end up where others could read it. I just wanted to keep everyone informed of how I'm doing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Response to Jeanette Gall's letter of 11/22/05 in the Marietta Daily Journal, Marietta, GA


Ms. Gall, I am a little confused. You say you cannot have an honest discussion with Republicans about the Big Lie that "Bush lied, thousands died" because they bring up Clinton's name and attack you personally. Ms Gall, the only people I have seen attacking people personally are the liberal Democrats. Whenever we attempt to discuss issues with these people, we get called everything from liar to hate monger. You might note that no one is calling anyone Un-American. It is part of the Big Lie technique that you accuse people of things they don't do so as to preemptively deflect a charge you expect to be leveled against you. You asked about Osama? We searched for Eric Robert Rudolph for 5 years and we pretty well knew where he was. Osama is not conveniently in our country. He is in a country surrounded by his supporters or those he can intimidate. I would be amazed if he were captured anytime soon.

You asked if Al Gore's chief of staff (shudder!) had leaked the name of a CIA agent, what would have happened. Which Bush Chief of staff leaked the name of a covert CIA agent? Plame's husband did so but no Bush administration member has been indicted for doing so. "Since Karl Rove is involved, he has flip-flopped." Hummm! Maybe that is why you misunderstand what the words mean. When Kerry says he voted for the $80 Million before he voted against it, that is flip-flopping. Bush takes a stand and keeps it. If Rove were guilty of "outing" a covert CIA agent, it seems like he might have been so indicted. No one was.

You say Bush manipulated the intelligence. What and how did he do so? It has been investigated several times and the only intelligence he got that the Senators (including Democrats) didn't see was even more bellicose than what they saw. As you might recall, the intelligence services of virtually the whole world said he WMD. Wrong? Maybe. Liars? Unlikely. I rather doubt that our best friends in the world, the French would have cooperated with Bush in manipulating the data. Yet, they said Saddam had WMD. We still don't know if they were right and the WMD were shipped to Syria. He certainly had lots of time to do so.

Ms Gall, you are NOT Un-American to express your beliefs. It is only if you deny that right to those that disagree with you that you are in conflict with what most people believe is an American. Yes, "we should question our government." BUT, we should do so with the insight of what was the information available at the time the decision was made. Hindsight is truly a wonderful thing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Letter 4


Hey everyone, its me again. I am now in Taji, or Tadji depending on who you ask, at the Phoenix Academy. Basically I'm in an Iraqi compound within a coalition compound. I'm finally not sleeping in a tent, instead we are sleeping in barracks that was built by the British in the 1920's ,the bunks are of cheap Iraqi construction and I'm surprised they can even hold our weight. I got a haircut today from an Iraqi who used a piece of string to pluck my eyebrows. I've never had my eyebrows trimmed before, especially not with a piece of string. He just kinda rolled it up and moved it down my brow entangling whatever hairs were in the way and then yanked them out. I don't remember asking for a eyebrow cut, but it was all free of charge. I also got to eat a mixture of western and Iraqi food, wasn't as good as Kuwait or Striker, it was about as good as Ft. Carson though. I had green bean stew with rice, flat bread, a hamburger and some fries. the fries were about the best thing, although the bread wasn't too bad, similiar to the foot bread I had in Afghanistan. We are just relaxing today since our flight was late getting in, we had one group show up at 4 am and we still have one group that didn't make it here last night, so they are stuck in Camp Striker until tonight. They have internet and phones here, not a lot of them but I should be able to get on here at least once a day or so. I've heard they have the European toilets here, the kind without a toilet, I haven't looked for them yet. The showers weren't to bad, they are single units with a lot of room in them, much more than what we have had, now if there was only hot water. I should be here about a week and then moving out again, I should find out soon where my team is going and how long we are going to be there, so that hopefully I can get a mailing address. Take care and I'll write more later.

Letter 3


Just letting everyone know my current status. I'm hanging out at Camp Striker near the airport in Iraq waiting for a flight to my next destination. The camp is small but quiet. I haven't seen much of the country though, because there are walls surrounding everything, but I can see the tops of some palm trees off in the distance. This place isn't as sandy as Kuwait, however it did rain before we got here and the whole place is a muddy mess. The mud is a thick clay kind that your feet get stuck in. We had a few people lose flip-flops on the way to the showers. The food is good here. We had T-bone steak and lobster tails for lunch today. I think all of the good food got sent over here because when I was in Ft. Carson the food was horrible. We have a huge variety of fresh fruits and beverages, they even have energy drinks for free. There is also a Burger King here and they are putting in a Pizza Hut, just in case y ou want something different. The computers are sluggish and leave a lot to be desired, but it is free, so I can't complain too much. They have an AT&T phone center here, which seems to be fairly common throughout this area, only problem is that a 550 minute phone card used to call home is actually only 170 minutes. The price isn't too bad though, only $35. It is worth it to talk longer than ten minutes, which is how long you get with the free phones. Once I get settled down, I should have better access to phones and internet, at least I hope. I will have to send pictures later, we can't use our memory sticks on these computers. I heard that the Democrats are trying to get us out of here, I appreciate the thought, but I don't think it is going to work the way they want it to. There are a lot of things going on over here especially an election in December, so I don't think the 6 month timeline is reasonable, but if it wer e to happen, I wouldn't complain. Then I'll be home where I can be with Amy when she gives birth. Haven't thought of any names yet but we are not going to name him or her John or Chris, nice try though.
Take care,

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Letter 2

Hey everyone,
Just letting you know that I'll be out of the net for a little while, could be a day or it could be ten. I'm leaving tomorrow sometime and I don't know when I'll get to another computer or phone. Here is a picture of Kuwait, it all pretty much looks like that out here, I'm sure the city is much nicer, but all I've seen around here is sand. If you look carefully you can see a white car in the background. That is the Beduins, nomadic people that herd camels and goats. They just wait and pick up brass from the ranges, which saves us the trouble of having to do it. They sat out there all day and waited for us to leave. Should be an interesting year in Iraq though. Hopefully it won't be too interesting, I can deal with that. I'll try to find better things to take pictures of, maybe I'll get lucky and see a tree or something. Keep in touch and I'll write back as soon as I can.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Letter 1 from Son in Law in Iraq

I'm back from the field and finally got a shower and a hot meal and answered a few emails. There wasn't too much going on out there in the sand. We did some weapons training on the first day, running through different drills such as walking and shooting at the same time. We were out in the middle of nowhere and there were Beduins off in the distance watching us the whole time waiting to pick up our spent brass. I don't know where they came from, but they were driving old cadillacs or new SUVs, yet they live in the desert and herd goats and camels. When they hear us firing, they come out and wait all day for us to finish so they can collect the brass. I have no idea what they do with it, unless they make camels and elephants out of it and sell it back to us. The second and third day was machine gun training and convoy training. I got stuck in the gun turret even though I'm not a gunner. The gunner's weapon was broken and th en he didn't bring anything to protect his face such as goggles or a bandana, so I ended up in the turret. Everyone else had large machine guns such as the .50 cal. and all I had was my little M4 rifle, I didn't even have ammo for it. All my time was spent watching everyone else shoot at the targets as we drove down the road and getting a facefull of sand for my troubles. We also did some training where the locals were sent as actors to either harass, attack, or beg from us. We had a dirt road we were supposed to follow and as we went through the towns they would attack or whatever. Since we were out in the middle of a desert and there was nothing around us, we would drive off of the road and go completely around the little towns they had set up. Nobody had ever done that before and the locals were completely surprised by our actions and we ended up not getting bothered at all by them until we were forced to stop at one little town and the locals crowded around our convoy, we managed to keep them under control and everything went smoothly. We found out later that they would get paid a little extra if they could draw an X on our vehicle with chalk, none made it that close though. Another group doing traing with us, was the Puerto Rico National Guard. They went through the same stuff after we did. We saw their vehicles and there were Xs all over the place, the locals had even played tic-tac-toe on some of them. Didn't find any scorpions or camel spiders though. I did see some camels and I tried to catch a lizard, but that was about it. Once I get my pictures to download I'll send some. Talk to you all later.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In Reply to Sal Albanese


Mr Albanese, I was not going to make any comments on your first letter in which you clearly were regurgitating the Democratic lines about lies and general Bush hatred. Unfortunately, when I saw your letter in the Nov. 9, 2005 MDJ, I could no longer be silent. You, sir, have given an indication of your intelligence and civility to label those who disagreed with you as "spineless simple-minded people..." who "..wouldn't recognize it (the truth) even if it came up and bit them on the backside." I thought name calling was a conservative trait.

In fact, it seems that whenever the left is challenged about the fact that they are spouting the line the only response is to call people names.

I do not wish to restrict your right to be heard. I don't know that the people you are referring to want to deny your right to speak either but I do think that you could use a dose of that truth you mentioned.

A few questions to you. What evidence do you have that someone lied about or manipulated the intelligence that was viewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee among others (almost all of whom voted for the war)? Where is the administration official that said Iraq was responsible for 9/11. If prewar intelligence was faulty, the fault lies with the CIA and others worldwide which supplied the erroneous information, not with the political leaders, Democratic and Republican, who relied upon it. WMD's, which, by the way have been found several times, including (per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, November 06, 2005) which noted: The 4th Infantry Division discovered in an ammo dump near the town of Baiji 55 gallon drums of chemicals which, when mixed together, form nerve gas. They were stored next to surface-to-surface missiles which had been configured to carry a liquid payload. Does it have to be mixed together to get the magic WMD label?

Sick of the indictments? Which indictments are those? Are you speaking of Libby, who was indicted for not remembering or lying about what he told reporters? When did the Left decide that indictment is the same as conviction?

Aren't you getting a little tired of the Bush ran from Vietnam line yet? He was reelected even with the existence of forged documents run by CBS and others.

Valerie Plame-Wilson was not a covert agent. No one in the administration has been even charged with "outing her". Note that new evidence indicates that Joe Wilson was telling people his wife worked at CIA in 2002.

If more deaths not honor our troops, will cutting and running honor them?