Sunday, May 02, 2004

Dispatches from Iraq, Part 2

Posted by Keith

Christian is an aquaintence of my friend, Jenny. He's in Iraq, working as a Contractor and sends back dispatches, letting us know what life is like there in and out of the Green Zone.

Baghdad 2004-04-28

Hello everyone!

I hope this e-mail finds you well.

Much to write about since I last sent a dispatch. First, I have received a tremendous response and more people have wanted me to add them to the newsletter. I have also had a few people requesting permission to forward on my dispatches. Feel free to forward them as you see fit. One of my objectives is to relate as much as possible of what I see is happening here on the ground in Iraq.

I will start with my trip to Baghdad. I was scheduled to depart last Saturday. They picked me up at the hotel in the early morning and drove me to an Army/Air Force base in the Kuwait. While there, I met up with the other contractors flying into Iraq. Many of them were blue collar types destined for a myriad of locations from Mosul to Baghdad. A couple guys I talked to were headed off to help run an ice factory. Another guy was to go work at a prison. Pretty rough and ready types all bent on seeking their various fortunes while leaving their loved ones back home. Some were clearly there for their country. Several wore t-shirts emblazoned with "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Most were Southerners. Of these, the majority were Texans. I'm already slipping into a Southern accent.

The process for boarding the C-130 was extremely tedious. (for those unfamiliar, this is the standard US military plane used to transport cargo and personnel. They can also be converted into AC-130 gunships by installing weapons these were used today in Fallujah to target insurgents) The whole boarding process was stop and go, stop and go. A lot of waiting around to hurry up and wait some more. "Hurry up and wait" as those in the military refer to it. The whole boarding operation was contracted out to a firm. Every job in the process was outsourced except for the crew of the C-130. Although outsourcing has been happening in the military for a while, it seems to be gathering pace. I wonder if one day the entire military will be outsourced! Probably not but I think the trend will continue.

Read the rest of Christian's Dispatches from Iraq.


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