It's fr-fr-freezing cold here in the desert, which seems weird to me because the last time I was in Kuwait, it was 130 degrees in the shade.
But at this American transit station where I have been handing out thousands of holiday cards, the wind whips around a body like a string of lights around a Christmas tree.
I got my passport back this morning, which means that I should be on an airplane back to the United States in about 12 hours.
I'm hearing that Mary Pearson, Debbie Lee and Danny Gonzalez all got into Baghdad after a grueling night and day of travel, and now our MAF staff is attempting to get into Ramadi.
Debbie, a Gold Star Mother, is determined to see the Camp named after her son Marc Lee, who died just a year ago in intense combat with jihadists.
Even though I hate leaving without going into Iraq, I have not wasted my time. I have interviewed hundreds of troops who are mostly trying to get home for Christmas. Despite the maddeningly long waits for a charter seat stateside, these guys and gals are remarkably positive. It's a character trait I have noticed over and over again. I wonder if Positive Mental Attitude training is genetic, or part of the military regime. If so, sign me up!
One of the great rewards of being here in Kuwait is that I have spent some time with Matt Sanchez, (formerly of San Jose, California) the intelligent and articulate milblogger who has spent the past seven months traveling in Afghanistan and Iraq. Matt is a reserve Marine who many mainstream writers now consult about what he is seeing and saying --publications like the Washington Post, the New York Post and others. I link to him often at my personal website, and have him as a guest on our morning show at KSFO.
Matt reports we are winning the war(s), and it's quite sensational (in a good way.) He gave me a specific example of a village that had been dominated by Al Quada when he was there just over a year ago. This time, he saw a terrorist stroll boldly through town, asking the locals for the best place to plant a bomb.
Big, big mistake.
The villagers grabbed him and beat him nearly to death, and the only reason he wasn't killed is because U.S. soldiers saved him from the fast lane to hell. Someone should e-mail Congressman Jim Moran the news. That dope thinks our troops are 'ethnically cleansing Baghdad'.
When I hear insane drivel like that coming from politicans, I want to hog-tie these people and dump them into Iraq so they can use their own eyes to see the truth. Why would Moran possibly believe that? Does he want it to be true? Is he so blinded by partisan politics he can't or won't be honest? So many questions, so little time.
Last night was pretty cool here on base.
Lt. Colonel Ollie North arrived with his Fox News crew and bought a bunch of us dinner. He seemed exhausted, as you might expect after being in Iraq for an extended period of time. War reporting is tough work. Though not nearly as tough as fighting a war.
One of the people who joined us is a movie producer by the name of Ken Livingston.
I almost choked on my mushroom beef dinner when he said that he is embedding in Iraq for 15 months to find the stories of courage, passion, strength and dedication that marks the soldiers who have served there.
I started stuttering about liberal Hollywood bias, but Livingston explained that Jerry Bruckheimer of CSI fame and other Hollywood blockbuster films is determined to do this project. Ken was in Beirut in 1983, at the same time I was there to cover the bombing of the Marine compound. He as a Special Forces guy whose mission was to find CIA station chief William Buckley. He spent 7 months searching, but Hezbollah brutually tortured him and then dumped his body. He was also tasked with finding Rich Higgins, who was the military affairs advisor to the Secretary of Defense. His body was found swinging from a meat-hook.
I think Ken Livingston will make a fine movie, if it is given a greenlight because the American people are yearning for the straight truth--not slanted consistently against the US and nursing grievances because of a war fought 30 years ago in Vietnam.
We do NOT like watching our soldiers being turned into serial killers on crack cocaine, or rapists who brutalize innocent Iraqi girls. Just ask Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.
I also want to say a few things about a very warm, gracious Alabama lady I met here in the desert of Kuwait. Her name is Lt. Colonel Rachel Coggins, and she was born to her job of Chaplain. She comforts and prays with soldiers who need her help, and always is there with candy or care packages. She handles a million emergency situations.
Yesterday, Lt. Colonel Coggins told me a story that left me a little weepy.
A big, tough Marine came into her office one day after returning home from leave. His wife, whom he loves very much, gave birth while he was home. As this soldier sat in her office, he started crying and couldn't stop. He had no clue what was happening to him, and he was quite frightened.
Rachel Coggins just handed him a box of Kleenex, urging him to let the tears flow. She quietly explained that he had fallen in love with his baby boy and didn't recognize the feeling --and loss of it overwhelmed him.
She says that happens a lot.
I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people who are here in service of our country, who don' t need a lot of recognition, but give us part of their lives because they know it is the right thing for them to do.
If you don't come from a military family, you can still appreciate what they go through. It's even harder sometimes than fighting a war. So reach out to our servicemen and women in your community. Shower our soldiers with praise, and be a good neighbor to those who are left behind.
Almost time to go.
Remember to click back often on www.MoveAmericaForward.com for the latest photos and developments in Iraq with our delegation.