Monday, April 14, 2008

Blissful Sleep

31 March 2008

First, a rather long-winded (if I must say so myself) commentary about the wonderful visit we had last week from our reps over in Colorado Springs . They came with the full dog-and-pony power-point show (nothing more than a re-run from last year with the year updated.) Sadly or maybe not so sadly I did actually learn one particularly good lesson from my old old girlfriend Ann way back in 1980-1982…when you arrive, arrive late and make a grande entrade! But seriously, I overslept, the alarm didn’t go off and it was completely unintentional…officially, that is. Okay, so it got me a raised eyebrow out of the PM, but I was already outdone before I ever got there.

Earlier in the day, Embassy started taking incoming and took something like 20 rounds of incoming rockets and mortars…and we aren’t talking little stuff. We’re talking the “Made with Love especially for you in Iran ” 240mm rocket stuff! Let’s for argument sake say that they are about as big as, oh, I don’t know…maybe six feet long by about 2.5 feet wide in the center. Anyway, one packs a punch that left a hole in our asphalt last year nearly three feet deep by six foot round. Now multiply that by twenty and you’re talking one hell of a party favor.

One of the guys I work with has two brothers working over there…or by now had two brothers working there. One of the brothers decided right then and there to leave when one landed on his trailer. That was his sign to skeedaddle on back home. The other brother will shortly follow. So anyway when R comes into the meeting, I guess he was beside himself worried because he hadn’t heard back from his brother yet. So he comes into the meeting nearly breathless and explaining the situation without any punctuation, and put on quite an emotional show for the guests.

Well as rumor has it, our HR rep is whispering over to the other parent company rep something to the effect of that maybe they need to get-the-hell-outta-dodge before all living hell finishes breaking out! I hear that as R was telling all the hairy details of his story, their eyebrows about met up with their hairline, eyes as big as dinner plates and their hair stood on end! I wish I could have been there at that moment to see that. Those are the moments we live for here…to see how fast the uninitiated run. I’m sure they’d of about passed out on the spot if they’d ever experienced the “blue kiss” from the porta potties!

I ran into the assistant station manager this weekend (who used to be here with the 72nd back two years ago and is now retired Army) and told him the story! ‘Course he got a yuck out of it as did we. I also asked him that next time he spoke to those weenies down south all safe and sound (and drunk) in Kuwait, to just remind them that it is only dangerous 40 hours out of our 60 hours on duty during the week! (We only get paid danger pay for 40 of the 60 hours we are scheduled for...and 0 hours of danger pay for the anywhere from 12 to 24 hours of overtime we put in every week.)

So you can imagine our relief when Al Sadr called for a halt of attacks on Saturday morning. Too bad his fighters are freelance. As expected Embassy took more incoming on Saturday and on Sunday. We did too. Imagine my surprise at about 5pm (remember, I work mids) when the C Ram’s go off. At first, I thought that it was just another test. Seems like they test them every week or so. Initially, I thought nothing of it. Oh, btw, C Ram is the anti-missile system that is supposed to shoot stuff down as it approaches…kind of a weapons version of “meet and greet” if you will.

So I’m blissfully sleeping with one more hour till the alarm goes off and RIIIIIIIIIPPPPP (imagine maybe a (really really loud) weed whacker but ear-shatteringly loud), the thud of something falling and the earth shaking a bit with the impact. Till then, I was asleep, but wasn't a bit concerned until I heard and felt the thud. Then another incoming that didn’t get hit landed. My heart raced a little faster as I just rolled over and fell back to sleep. Just remember, as long as you heard it and felt it, you got nothing to worry about…this time. My thought is that I’m safer in my trailer which is surrounded by 12 foot concrete barrier t-walls than I would be running around outside the trailer like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find an empty concrete shelter and getting taken out by shrapnel.

Not that these 12 or 14 foot concrete t-walls are rocket proof, but if your number comes up, St Peter ain’t taking any excuses. During a rocket or mortar attack, you may *think* that you have time to react. And in spite of what the movies may have you believe, rocket attacks do NOT happen in slow motion. About all you have time to think about is what you’d like on your Tombstone ! (Make mine a veggie supreme, please)

So much for Al Sadr’s all-reaching leadership. Maybe it was a communication breakdown. Maybe his French-born-European-raised-and-funded-fanatical-Islamist-buddies fresh from training in Syria didn’t understand enough Arabic to know he had agreed or asked for a stop to the attacks. Who knows. At times all you can do is shake your head and keep it down.

I just finished Bruce Brawer’s, “While Europe Slept” which describes the rather fast approaching Islamisation of Europe. Within the next 15 years we should fully expect at least one if not two small Western European nations to be converted to Sharia law. With birth rates of their immigrants far outpacing their indigenous populations, the intense wave of immigrants of Muslim background and European hyper-sensitivity to Islamic views and the basic pacification of Europe to their immigrant demands and generous government funding continuing to pour heaps of money into mosques all over Europe, it may even come quicker than that. Very interesting book. Hopefully, not too correct in determining the future, but we won't have too long to wait and see when it becomes a reality, will we?
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