Saturday, December 13, 2008

Photo Ops Part II

More photos to illustrate life in Iraq.

The MRAP comes in many different models, each made by a different company. Learning to drive it is not as difficult as you would imagine. However, once you get on the narrow roads and contend with Iraqi drivers it takes a lot of concentration in the drivers seat.

Children are still the best hope for this country. Forty years of a dictatorship is not easily washed away after five years of democracy. It will take these children, members of a tribe that is over a thousand years old, to grow up, come into their own, and learn to work with the Arab and Western worlds.

One of the biggest tragedies in Iraq occurs in the SOE (State Owned Enterises). Factory machinery sits idle while the company still pays thousands of works to stand around all day. The factory cannot compete in the regional market. The paradox is that if the company privatized then they'd have to lay off three quarters of the work force to make a profit. Many managers chose to keep people on the books.

This is a picture near my compound looking out near the helicopter landing zone. The "birds" come in day and night, mostly at night. When they do my little home shakes from the sound waves they create. Beyond the LZ is the compound trash fire. We burn out trash down wind from the base. The EPA would probably have a collective aneurysm if this was in the US.

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