Message > Conversation with a random military guy ...
I was on a flight home a few weeks ago that placed me in the seat next to a returning military. I didn't pay much attention to the details of his position -- something about dropping out of planes, having been part of those who took over the Baghdad airport (and, according to him, did not receive proper credit for it) and a fort out east. What I did remember follows:

- Iraqis are gay until married. He derived this from the fact that Iraqi men are willing to hold hands. This indicates that they are gay. At least he didn't seem too angry about it ...
- Journalists put him at risk. He didn't explain this one, but he did tell me that on at least one occasion, he flat-out refused to storm a house his group was attacking because journalists were present, and he figured their mission had already been compromised anyway. I didn't quite follow the logic, but ...
- His reasoning for joining the military: he likes jumping out of planes, he likes firing guns, he likes blowing shit up. He gets to do all of these things, so he's happy. At no point did he mention that he likes killing -- the act of firing a gun or blowing something up are completely separate from the intended result -- and he just likes the process. Death wasn't much mentioned.
- He believes military forts to be the biggest consumers of alcohol, per capita.
- He's annoyed that, because of "politics", he now has to be careful about how he deals with Iraqis. He can no longer simply barge into a house, pull everyone out violently, and do as he pleases. He says this gets in the way of catching bad guys. He'd rather the politicians stay out of it and let him treat people however he sees fit. There was much emphasis on the idea that everyone he hunts down is a bad guy, by necessity. (This doesn't surprise me -- we once had a sheriff's deputy state that he never arrested anyone who wasn't guilty, and that judges were quite simply unnecessary overhead.)
- He told me how much fun it is to take confiscated vehicles for joy rides, particulary destruction derbies. Once the vehicle's confiscated, he seems to think they're just toys for the military.
- Mosques just blare anti-US propaganda. All of them. The loudspeakers announce that you should gleefully kill as many americans as you can. (To my knowledge, his arabic was nonexistent. But we'll trust him anyway.)
- Iraqis make "the best chicken" he's ever had. Apparently he truly liked their spice blends. I have to agree.
- He explained to me the protocol for gifts: as a guest, you always give someone something that isn't worth very much (to avoid implying you're buying them something they couldn't afford for themselves), and gifts can be turned down without harm.
- He was offended that, although Iraqis who fed him always told him he owed them nothing, he later found out they were being paid by the military to be friendly to military personnel. According to him, civilians were paid more to be their hosts than the military were themselves. (This statement was not qualified: was this an hourly rate, a salary, or some other measurement of payment?)

He seemed fearless enough. He seemed like a nice guy, if a bit detached, and maybe not the brightest crayon in the box. But nice. I believe he stated he'd be returning to Iraq at some point -- and I hope he makes it through.

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Owned by Unordained - Created on 05/08/2005 - Never edited
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