I’ve decided that the entire Middle East, at least in this region somewhat below Russia, could probably be made into one tac-nuked glass parking lot and no one would notice because really, all of the countries are exactly the same. Well, okay, not exactly, because of the proportion of houses made of mud versus those made of poorly mixed concrete, and the rugs in Afghanistan and Iran are slightly different patterns than those found here, but by and large, Afghanistan looks like Iran looks like Iraq. All three countries are tan, farming in the middle, and the towns seem to look exactly the same, right down to the strange pulpy fizzy orange drink that you aren’t quite sure if it is juice or not but you drink it anyway just to make the strange man with the beard stop looking at you like you just shot his dog. Unless, of course, you DID just shoot his dog, but that is someone else’s story about a town that we are no longer allowed to enter.
I went on a little trip recently to see what our friendly neighbors are up to. I told my higher-ups that I was going to head over the border because if the Iranians won’t let foreigners leave their country for legitimate reasons, they probably don’t extradite either. As such, they ensured I was traveling with a significant overwatch force. Turns out, though, that my escape would have probably turned out for the worse anyway, as instead of fences between some of the border posts, there is a minefield. And here I am without a goat herd to find my way across (reference my adventures in the Stan). However, there was a significant number of rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, pebble rocks, dusty rocks. Just like (no coincidence) two borders away in Western Afghanistan. All rocks useful for throwing at the Iranian border forts yelling nasty things about the Ayatollah and his nuclear program, just as I had done from the other side. It was my attempt at flanking. The fun part was that the Iraqi border guards find heckling very amusing, and were more than happy to repeat anything I said in the general direction of the Iranians. I think we all learned some fun words that day.
Unfortunately, I only got about two rocks thrown before some dutiful Iraqi soldier informed me that I might not want to do that, because if I hit a mine people tend to get a little jumpy and start shooting at things all willy nilly from both sides. I have seen the Iraqi Army muzzle discipline program, so I decided that his advice should probably be taken into account.
I also noticed on my little adventure that a significant portion of towns in Iraq look like a destitute suburb of Miami. There are gated communities, but also trash in the streets at the base of palm trees. And Miami doesn’t have as many goats, at least not that I have seen. I thought previously that it was just one of the towns. It appears, upon further research, that this Miami-syndrome is common throughout the central part of the country, as though someone got a postcard of somewhere in West Palm Beach and wanted to build a mud sculpture. Now it is just a case of finding out who sent that postcard, and we can end the terrorist threat. I guess no one pointed out to them that in order for something to be considered a beach, there needs to be at least some water. The Tigris does not count.
But as such, the days are getting longer and hotter, and the porta-potties more fragrant. We tried to hand receipt my team leader to other people today, but no one would sign for him. The S-1 said she had tried that before, and it never works. I think I’m just going to take him over to the Central Issue Facility tomorrow and try to trade him in. I got new uniforms that way, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t work. Every day is Groundhog Day, as movies portray more of real life than anything else we have been able to find, and we are just another Groundhog Day closer to home…