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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mind of Mansel: JR & I in Iraq 

Jack Random and I in Iraq - part 1

Jack Random and I burst into Iraq like a widow at a train station all out of quarters for the condom machine for that last ride to New Jersey for the High school reunion. The White House press office kept offering us our own poppy fields in the hills of Afghanistan if we just wouldn't go to Iraq. After breaking the story of Karl Rove and the Washington sex trade they would do anything to keep us away from the story. We were determined and even thought to go thru the wilds of Pakistan but why muddle in with the retreat of the Taliban, we end up in their clutches soon enough we were wagering.

Anyway, we hit the Iraq oil fields to the sight of an american truck broke down. Roadside bombs it was said weren't going off near the oil fields anymore since it was common knowledge the americans would be out of the country in force by the end of 2007. The George Baker plan had just hit amazon.com and all of Beirut we had read over the wires had ordered a copy and soon all of Iraq would be reading it through the black market. Once again Ed Meese would be popular among those who killed for pleasure.

The drivers of the two trucks both U.S. military soldiers were cursing at the four Iraqi members of the police who had driven by earlier and had took off quickly and laughed at the two of them stranded. One of the soldiers wanted to go off and shoot the Iraqi police and the other had for weeks left on the most recent one year tour in country. When we asked them about the term "boots on the ground" they responded with as much hate and vigor as they had when we asked about the Iraqi police.

"Boots on the ground, goddamn! I tell you what the boots on the ground think about this f-cking war, there's too much blood, too much Iraqi blood and too much american blood, and not enough old blue blood from any red states!" The soldier kicked the front of the truck violently and looked back at us quickly, "Just why are you here anyway? I don't see no boots on the ground here between you two."

We reassued the two soldiers that we wanted to report an honest portrayal of what was going on in Iraq. The other soldier who had remained quiet for most of the time spoke up, "Let me tell you something. We were on a patrol about a month ago maybe two. A roadside bomb goes off and these Iraqi troops start firing at one another, ripping each other apart and we have to mop it up. How long have we been here and we are getting killed every day. Sometimes I just want to start shooting and I don't honestly give a shit what I hit."

Jack Random and I In Iraq - part 2

How many screams did you hear until you knew they were coming from someone you could identify as someone other than yourself? That's a question you need to ask yourself when you have spent any time in a war zone.

Here we were in a war zone and as soon as we arrived we noticed that the poppy had followed here from the shores of america, from the rocky cliffs of Afghanistan. We investigated the cities amidts the sound of automatic gunfire and saw parents in the desert grip of drug addiction dealing with the unthinkable loss of three children in one day. We saw one child get his legs torn apart as visiting dignitaries bid farewell to the high security fences of Halliburton's white table cloths on CNN and its high rise bleachers. The grimace of Donald Rumsfeld quoting the words real or imagined from a wounded soldier at Walter Reed hospital.

In the days of slavery the crowd were treated to question and answer sessions between the seller and the slave. The slave was usually being judged by the crowd as to their build or visual strength so the Q&A were usually for the delight of the crowd and so in Iraq are the questions to Iraqi civilians as weapons are put in their faces by privately hired security, militia anywhere else in the world, or if you like insurgents in Iraq if it were not for the tax form they can produce given six months notice. We ran into these thugs several times and had our lives threatened until we lied and said we were with some government agency we made up on the spot. This never ceased to amazed us as it always pumped them up more in their blood lust and obscene patriotism for the red in the flag.

On american television the obsession is with crime scene investigation and forensics. There are no investigations to speak of in a war zone, especially not in Iraq. For instance, if you wanted to dig a mass grave and hide it with any education it wouldn't be too difficult, after all it is a desert region. This can work to the benefit of both sides in any war. Body counts make for headlines a soldier said once, just draw a line straight to the head, and you'll usually find more than one.

- Chris Mansel

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