WHAT WINNING LOOKS LIKE |
October 26, 2008
WHAT WINNING LOOKS LIKE
Posting date: 10/27/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog: Rocinante's Burdens
Well, we are finished with the first third of our tour here. Four months into it and still not a sight nor sound of combat. Still think we are in a quagmire? In case you were wondering, this is what winning looks like. It is what we have always wanted here. A peaceful Iraq that is no threat to its neighbors.
A busy market street.
The area in the background is a crowded market area. It is like that every day.
A car load of children on their way somewhere. Note that seatbelt use is not encouraged here. This being the modern age, and no cars being manufactured anywhere in the Arab world (except Detroit, and not many there), every car manufactured in the past 30 years has seat belts included. They just don't know why anyone would use them.
Street urchins sell boxes of tissues. Arab drivers must use a lot of tissues for some reason. Older kids move up the product chain to selling fruit, canned soda and other objects that I can't identify.
The boy in front is demonstrating the international symbol for "give me a soccer ball" -- hands in front facing each other, while doing a kicking motion.The Americans who were here before these kids were old enough to walk must have given away soccer balls like candy. We never have, but they make the motions every day when we pass them.
Another gesture they use -- hands holding an invisible bottled beverage to the lips as if drinking from it -- is the symbol for, "I am dying of thirst because my parents make me work in the hot sun all day and don't give me any water. Please give me your Gatorade."
Of course, we wouldn't dare give them anything. We know the system too well. If you give one something, the bigger kids will beat him up and take it away.Then the smaller kid will expect you to make it better by giving him another one. We also don't throw candy at them from our vehicles because we don't want them darting out into traffic to get it. It may seem selfish on our part, but the Third World is not a place of rainbows and unicorns for children. As one of my interpreters once told me, "Did you know that we actually have soccer balls in Iraqi stores? If their parents wanted them to have a ball, they would have bought them one."
Captured guns, taken away from assorted bad guys. In Iraq, every house is permitted to have one AK-47 rifle and some ammunition. Any more than that and they are up to no good. The penalty for having too many is having all of them confiscated. We also captured some brand spanking new RPG-9 rockets. They were still in the factory wrappings from Iran, with production labels less than three months old. Anyone out there think Iran is not at war with us? (Clue: They have been for thirty years).
Ending on a light note: More Penguins.