About the best thing that you can say about rain in the desert here in Kuwait is that it turns the powdery sand into packed mud.
It is shockingly cold as the water pours off the faces of young Marines and other service members, bone weary by their efforts to leave Iraq and Afghanistan and get home to their families by Christmas.
Some are trying to sleep in the breezy tents, no heat and not much to do for two weeks.
The lucky ones wait two days.
Normally, soldiers are a laconic bunch, especially around media embeds.
It’s amazing, though, what a colorful sweatshirt that says ‘Our Soldiers, Our Heroes’ that I wear around camp will do to loosen the tongues of our troops.
In fact, some become downright chatty when you plaster your point of view right up front.
One of the most bitter complaints I hear from the hundreds of men and women coming out of both Iraq and Afghanistan at this desert way station is that the tremendous success stories in Afghanistan are being ignored by the major media.
It’s true for Iraq as well, but the Special Forces officer I quizzed today is disturbed because he has seen stunning changes during the past 15 months as schools are built, roads go down, and buildings rise from the rubble that the Taliban left as it’s legacy in Basra, Kabul and other provinces.
The captain with whom I lunched today was also curious why American women (particularly liberal feminists) aren’t celebrating the fact that for the first time since the war young girls are going to schools built by Americans. He thinks women the world over should be jumping for joy at this development.
He asked me for my opinion on that subject, but I could only shrug.
I told him how recently I debated a feminist left-wing activist by the name of Naomi Wolf, who wrote a book about how George W. Bush is responsible for the end of civilization as we know it or somesuch nonsense.
I threw out she would look ‘super in a Burka’ --but Wolf still didn’t get it –she’s looking for grievances with which to slam our country, and overlooking the powerful social changes taking place in the world in which fundamentalists have stoned women to death for adultery, or even flirtatious behaviour.
Other anti-war kooks and crazies ignore how vitally important the WOT is for everyone, men and women who want to live in peace and raise their families without fearing that the Taliban will kill them if they don’t raise poppy for the heroin trade. Our troops tell me that the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan is temporary. They are coming down out of the mountains because of the cold, and trying to worm their way into provincial governments. But it’s not working.
There was a surprise visit today by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the allied forces unit located near here. He gave a pep talk to the troops and told them they were doing a great job.
That surprised me because I read in the elite media that Rudd got elected by the anti-war crowd Down Under.
One of the Aussies told me that I shouldn’t believe everything I read in the newspapers. I laughed. I guess media bias is worldwide, eh mate?
Our MAF’ers Debbie Lee, Danny Gonzalez, and Mary Pearson left for Baghdad last night on a C-130 cargo plane, jammed into the jumpseats for a ride into Iraq and a scary corkscrew landing.
The jumbo planes have to take evasive action on landing to avoid rocket propelled grenade attacks.
I am very disappointed I couldn’t be with our delegation as they head for Ramadi to distribute Christmas cards and letters to the troops. While our military is really good at some things (like killing people and breaking things) they aren’t terribly efficient at transportation and moving people in a timely fashion. My media embed papers got lost several times, meaning I had to turn around and come home before I even got to Iraq.
I still may not be home in time for Christmas with my own family.
This weather isn’t helping matters.
But it gives me more time to talk to our troops, work with Chaplain Rachel Coggins who is truly the nicest woman I have ever met.
She works 24/7 comforting soldiers, giving them pep talks, passing out candy and comfort packages and a myriad of other things that she can do to make life more bearable for the ones out on the front lines who are passing through to war or going home from the battles.
I have a million more stories to share with everyone, but my computer time is about out.
In the next century, let’s have someone invent a computer system that will always, positively work and be available instantly, and will communicate just by thinking thoughts.
Get busy future Einstein’s!
Until next time,
God Bless Our Troops