Friday, March 25, 2005

Sunday, March 20 2005

This morning multiple columns of great smoke seemed to be rising from all directions--"they must be attacking from all sides," my first thought! At least none got inside the gate, but awfully close, it seemed! But apparently the locals are celebrating the beginning of the war against Iraq’s former treacherous leadership. It was largely successful in 3 short weeks and their elections came less than two years later. So they celebrated today by setting numerous piles of tires on fire!! Why not fireworks, I wondered? But, hey, if tires are all you have--and the smoke lasts all day long! [gag!] And what a change the whole Middle-East has seen since then, with former tyrannies falling all around and democracy spreading like a wholesome plague!

Sadly, the bad-guys marked it by a successful hit on a convoy up here. I’m afraid we lost some American life on this one. Very rarely have they such success, but it is very sad when they do. They have no chance of taking over Iraq again, torturing and pillaging and all that, but they insist on taking life of those helping out and helping themselves. Very sad.

In other news, we are running out of armor again. Since Kirkuk is the safest part of the Iraq neighborhood, as it were, the armor that exists is being diverted elsewhere. That means yours truly may be back to changing oil and packing greasy bearings. Say it isn’t so! But one thing I’ve learned is don’t try fretting tomorrow, it’s rarely as bad as you planned. So for now, we have several more days-worth of 4-door kits.

So the pics below show the transformation of an old green HumVee, with the doors removed, through the process to it’s final 4-door kit finish. That’s me drilling for the backing plates (so the interior of the vehicle becomes something of an armored box) on an already-tan HumVee. And what it looks like when we have the stuff all bolted on. And it works. Sometimes the bombs will blow the engine right out or the concussion will cause a broken leg inside the HumVee, but shrapnel practically never enters and kills. What a grisly business for these soldiers, eh? But there is always a price for freedom, I have to believe it is worth it and this armor brings the price in life down.

Rumsfeld says things continue to get safer here, so that is good. It is rather quiet in Kirkuk nowadays, and even formerly hot Mosul is cooling down--we don’t seem to hear as many reports coming from there. The oil fields have not been hit here (crossing my fingers) lately either. All very good signs. So I look forward. I’m thinking of planning a trip to Israel on my next break. Anybody got any good tips?


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