Wasting Away Again in Baghdad

I am stuck in Baghdad.  My flight was “rolled” a day, but now I learn that I will not go back to AA right away.  Instead I have to go to another city to meet a delegation from mother State Dept.  Following good OPSEC (operations security), I will say no more.  The Marines tell me that every time someone violates OPSEC, God kills a kitten.

Baghdad is nicer than AA anyway.  You could forget you are in a war zone if not for the choppers flying overhead and the odd bang heard off in the distance. We have not suffered any attacks on the compound for around three months. Good.  Those who were here in the bad times tell me that it was no fun.  Most of the injuries were from people ducking and covering with too much enthusiasm, but a couple people were killed.  This is an experience I do not need. 

I had supper near the pool.  You can see what it looks like from the picture above.  The picture is a little misleading.  The surface that looks like grass is actually just dust, but in general it is pretty. The cans (below) are located among the palms.  It is sort of like Florida with sandbags.  (The sandbags, BTW, are covered with tarps because they are made of an eco-friendly substance that decomposes in the sun.)  You see, I am doing my part to entice colleagues to come to beautiful Baghdad.  There is a lot of stress and a lot of work, but it is not all terrible all the time.  You can find places & moments of significant beauty and tranquility.  It is important to enjoy them.

Take a look at this from “The Onion” Not So Horrible Thing Happens In Iraq, for some reference.

The problem (besides the war) is that there is no place to go.  I walked around the Green Zone.  The picture below is the nicest, most normal, place I found.  Actually Baghdad is like a Club Med in that you are essentially on an island and you cannot leave w/o flying.