Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iraq from the air

I went up to Iraq last week to check on some operations which fall under my custody. I go occasionally now but don't tell anyone at home that I am heading north because they worry all the time. It used to be that they did not worry because I was in Iraq full time and only worried when I was in a convoy or flying in helicopters but now they worry when I go.
To tell you the truth I used to not worry myself about just being in Iraq but since I have been here in Kuwait for the past few months the immediacy of the war has faded away for me. Even when I return I feel more like an interloper and a tourist than anything else. When I was stationed there full time I always felt a little superior to those who visited and then split. I felt like they were just coming up to say they had been there and to suck up some serious payroll uplift or combat pay.
Anyways, I flew and slept on the way up in my stressed out snap in chair on a cargo aircraft similar to a Sherpa. On the way back though I took some photos with my cell phone camera. I did not take my regular photo rig because I was travelling light and fast and because of the weight limitations. Every person and every bag is weighed because of fuel and cargo considerations.
I still managed to get some interesting shots though. The first one is from a bend in the Tigris River about 50 miles south of Baghdad. You can see canals and irrigated farmland. this is ancient Mesopotamia and there has been some form of agriculture here for over 3000 years. The second pic is from a fade to the left of the first photo and it shows just how close the desert is. It encroaches to a point where there is a dramatic change between green and white. Green being crops and white being hard pack sand. The third pic is an open flare from a wellhead. That is a burning oil fire. it would be about an 80K per day fine in California were this to be there but as it is Iraq no one cares or monitors it.

As I cruise above the strife, heat, danger, poverty, and misery I reflect on how fortunate I am. I am fortunate to be an American, a free man who can make the choice whether to be here or not. Those folks below me can't make that choice but I can. They can't run and I won't run. Dangerous or not, I am committed to finishing my part in this honorably and to the best of my ability.


Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/23/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

7:01 PM  

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