Sunday, December 17, 2006

Birthday Night

After Dinner, Pappa Daddy P and I enjoyed a quiet cigar down by the CHRISTMAS (I say emphatically) tree and assorted decorations that KBR's added down by the pool. It was raining lightly, but we persisted.
Here I am riding shotgun in Santa's sleigh. I got the idea from some Italian soldiers (a few are still here) who came by and asked us to photograph them doing likewise. I'm sad the Italians are leaving, but encouraged that they were here at all. Its difficult to take stock of the world, the "muslim problem" (I'll say it), and the changes happening all around us. James Lileks said it best recently on his blog, "Everything will all make perfect, horrible sense in a few years time - in retrospect."

Marcus, (SGT HALL), happened to amble by and we were able to debrief him on his recent trip way up to Erbil, in the heart of Kurdistan. He said it looked more like Southern California than Iraq, and many others have said likewise. If the Western press isn't telling you, our best dreams did come true in Kurdistan. Outside of one suicide bombing which took the lives of upwards of 23 US Soldiers - we've lost approximately THREE in as many years, up there. All the news you hear about Kirkuk and Mosul are because those two cities straddle the Sunni Arab/ Kurdish faultline. Historically they didn't, but Saddam was about 55% of the way through his "Arabization" plan for both cities when we invaded back in 2003. (Think Milosevic in Bosnia). Now the Kurds, the ones that survived the "Anfal" campaign, want their homes back. Polls reveal their unwavering support for us. So take heart, Americans! Now its up to us not to abandon them, (again). The Korean contigent has the Erbil province, and they're doing a fabulous job by all accounts. Foreign companies are setting up shop there, and HIRING. A small taste of what Baghdad could be . . .

Oh, the PIC! (above) Here Marcus pulls security for Santa from the gunner's hatch in the sleigh. Not even Santa is safe in Baghdad.

Here's me trying to blow smoke rings to decorate the tree with for the grand finale of the evening.

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