SADDAM'S PLACE |
September 03, 2007
Name: LT Carl Goforth
Posting date: 9/3/07
Stationed in: Anbar Province, Iraq
Milblog url: desertflier.blogspot.com
"So, where are you from?"
"Funny...Is Moose your real name?"
"Who do you guys really work for?"
"You ever say anything besides yes?"
I've learned over the past few years how conversations usually go when you talk to an OGA. That stands for "other governmental agency". In other words, you have no idea who they work for, what they are doing, or how long they are staying. Our modern day version of government 'spooks'.
A few of us took them up on an invite to an isolated part of Ramadi along the banks of the Euphrates for some weapons range time. These guys live in a fairly nice house. It used to be an Iraqi General's house during the Saddam regime. Marble floors, top-shelf tiling in the bathroom. Was that a Viking rangetop in the kitchen? Not only do the OGA's live in top digs, they have their own cook. This was getting better by the minute! Prime rib cooked to perfection and steamed asparagus to start. Now I know how the other half lives...
We went up on the roof for a better survey of the river and a little sun. When I consider how brown and tan the desert is, I am always amazed at the contrast near permanent bodies of water. The banks are teaming with vegetation, long reed beds line the river, and there are grove upon grove of date palms as far as the eye takes you.
Across the river, the OGA boss pointed out Saddam's old Ramadi palace. He had retreats tucked away anywhere he travelled, and Ramadi was no exception. It's part of an outpost called Blue Diamond, and is mostly staffed by Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police.
"You guys interested in a boat ride?"
What else could I say but "Yes!" We didn't need a second invitation to jump on the chance. I mean, who takes boat trips down the Euphrates River?
After calling in to security that there would be traffic on the river and assigning someone as "overwatch", we cruised the Euphrates in the late afternoon.