Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back From Iraq

A Work of Fiction

I had often thought of what I would write about if were to write about my year in Iraq. One day, I was reading an excerpt from a book by some person who had been to Iraq and he started the book about the food in Sadam's palace in the Green Zone and I no longer had writer's block. I could talk about food easy. In fact, the fellow had no perspective whatsoever. He was just some civilian who wanted to comment on food, but I was a GI, a soldier who had lots of experiences. you see, just down the street members of my unit were getting along with what were called T Rats, (T-Rations). Basically they were like frozen dinners you heat up. They were happy to get them instead of the ubiquitous MREs. In fact to get them, it was necessary to do "drug deals" (This term causes a major digression lest you think that something sinester was happening. Drug deal in this context meant that the T-Rats were coming from outside the formal supply channels. Now the formal supply channels might not work for:1)The Logisticians had omitted accounting for food or supply requirements for a unit, or 2) the Unit supply point of contact was incompetent and did not know how to make the supply system work, or 3)Why bother with paperwork when you could make it work the easy way.) So I believe this drug deal for food was allowing soldiers for a division to use a Sattelite phone given as a gift from a certain country for morale calls. So my unit was giving up nothing but the foreign country was incurring a serious long distance headache. Anyway, I had a moral dilemma. Did I forego the creature comforts of the palace which offered canned sodas, Steaks, lobsters, rice, cake, etc or go for frozen dinners. I justified my actions because I had soldiers under my command who were able to get a better dinner by joining me. I respected Joe because he wouldn't eat unless everyone in the unit could eat. Many months later ironically after the military got their dining facility up and running down the street, all the high muckety-mucks *(Note 1) at the palace were leaving the palace to partake of the better military food down the street. I pleased that my men returned the favor by inviting some other GIs to the palace so they could use the internet and make some calls back home on the DSN (a military free phone) Evidently, back in their unit their commander nick-named Safety Rob used the unit's only internet connection to keep up with things back home all day and didn't want to help the GIs get into the palace since they might embarass him.

*(Note 1)
(Just today writing this down I use the word muckeddy mucks which I had heard used before but was unaware that it originated from the Chinook Jargon native to my state of Washington, the jargon of which many place names in Wa originateat
*One might not immediately associate the word high muckamuck with fur traders and Native Americans, but it seems that English borrowed the term from Chinook Jargon, a pidgin language combining words from English, French, Nootka, Chinook, and the Salishan languages that was formerly used by them in the Pacific Northwest. In this language hayo makamak meant "plenty to eat" and is recorded in that sense in English contexts, the first one dated 1853, in which the phrase is spelled Hiou Muckamuck. In 1856 we find the first recorded instance of the word meaning "pompous person, person of importance," in the Democratic State Journal published in Sacramento: "The professors-the high 'Muck-a-Mucks'-tried fusion, and produced confusion."

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