Sunday, April 17, 2005

Getting it Done

Hello from Iraq!

We put in some work today and the company supervisors came through so we all got interviewed. They asked us individually if we had any complaints. I said "No, I like a company that is poorly run!" It makes it more fun and interesting. He looked perplexed. Ah, the truth, it sets you free. (Is that what FIRED is?) However, I told him we had a good team, the guys help each other out, and the work gets done expediently. We get along with management, and I got out on my vacation just fine so what else is there? Living conditions are better than we were told to expect. It's their problem if they don't give us enough tools and leadership, etc. (Plus, we’ve already had more than half the team leave for better paying jobs.)

I eat and sleep well; it's all good. I can get my things done--I like that. I tell them it’s the best job I’ve had. After interviewing everyone they came back and said we are a good team and our client (the military) is quite pleased with our service. Like I say, we get the job done with what we got.

Alas, Kirkuk has heated up a little, just as Mosul has cooled down a bit. Perhaps some of the bad guys came east from there to cause havoc here. Or perhaps some of the old powerful Clerics are feeling out the possibilities of their power. Regardless, they will not succeed, but will cause some unnecessary pain. There have been a few extra mortars tossed into camp recently at different hours. Those attacks are for the most part futile and not to fear. The boys in uniform seem unusually active lately to take advantage of the increased hostile activity to target the culprits.

Unfortunately, the bad guys achieved some success against the local police force. 12 Iraqi policemen of Kirkuk were killed while checking out a decoy bomb. As they gathered to check it out, a larger, hidden device was detonated. Also an attack against the police station was thwarted, but 3 policemen lost their lives in that incident. We heard the gunshots from that attempt for about half an hour and saw smoke rising from the direction of the police station. We assumed the attackers were successfully repelled, but things seemed to have heated up a little here recently.

As my experience with the locals that work on base, I sense an eagerness to succeed and take advantage of their new freedom. It is clear they feel comfortable with Americans and understand we are not here as conquerors. They are eager to show their willingness to serve and work and acquire a greater economic advantage for themselves. They are, for the most part, enthusiastic and cheerful. They like to interact perhaps more than we do--we see it as something that needs to be done, they seem to want to connect and align themselves with the power and opportunity that Americans exude in abundance.

That is what I perceive, anyway. That’s it for now…

Ernie

Pics

Pic 1 The new guys. Looks like they are beating the sticks for workers; these two young fellers came from Georgia. Smoking and swearing like a Banshee are very popular over here. But they are doing well and learning quickly. And there are actually a lot of guys here that have given up smoking. Very cool.

Pic 2 From February. This is a view west as the sun settles into its evening repose. Feel the peace and warmth emanating from its golden hues. Perhaps you could put it on a big screen TV and imagine yourself with a loved one. Perhaps take some time for a reprieve from what ails you and imagine that the world is at rest for this sunset that lasts as long as you want it to. Or, just go on to the next picture.

Pic 3 Myself driving the forklift, taking the old boxes from add-on turret armor out to the curb for garbage gathering. Notice the lovely Spring weather.

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