Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pictures I've Taken...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hey Cheney, Send Some Money This Way.

Third Country Nationals had it the worse over there. The guys that worked in the DFAC (Dining Facility) were mostly from India. They were so hard working, sweet, and took so much pride in their job. They could carve things out of an apple I didn’t even think was possible. When they signed a contract to work in Iraq, they signed up for three years…no if ands or buts. Three years and you can’t go home to visit your family…and if you leave don’t think about coming back. They made on average 300 dollars a month…possibly less. I asked one guy why he’d sign up for three years…he told me there were no jobs in India and by working here he can send money to his wife and when he gets home they can start a family. They lived in trailers….about eight people to a trailer, no windows, no heat, no air conditioners. The other Third Country Nationals, like the Filipinos worked various jobs around the camp. They also lived in trailers and were forced to eat at this certain DFAC. One of my Captains found out that the DFAC they were forced to eat at was; infested with mice, their food was spoiled, there was no air conditioning in the kitchen, there was animal shit on the floors, the cooks didn’t wear footwear or gloves, their food had cockroaches in it, and some of the cooks slept in the containers where their food was being stored. The Captain told SPC G, SPC S, and me about this one day. I was ready to go over there with my camera, interview some of the workers…but I was told I wasn’t allowed. Rumor has it, that one of our Lieutenant Colonel knew about their living conditions but didn’t do anything to fix the situation. Now lets look at good ‘ol Cheney’s company; Halliburton, Kellogg Brown and Root. These civilians contract workers made at least 100,000 plus a year, went on four vacations, lived in nice trailers that came with a bed and sheets, a refrigerator, a desk, a dresser , and had a bathroom built in the trailer. They ate at the same DFACs as us…shit, they had it better than us.

Third County Nationals also worked as truck drivers. I did a story on a Soldier in my unit that was a NYC Firefighter and he worked at the truck lanes. Basically, he regulated all the trucks coming in and off the post. When I went to interview him and take a few pictures, I saw what these guys were driving around in. The majority of their trucks were missing windows, had bullets holes through the windshield, doors were barely hanging on, the metal cages that were around some of their windows weren’t on properly…everything was just fucked up. Not to mention these guys went out with just the clothes on their backs. No armor on their trucks, no bulletproof glass windows, no flack vests, no helmets…literally, they just wore their holey, smelly shirts and jeans. Things must be really tough for someone to take up a job like that. So maybe when Cheney is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to American contract workers, he could show a little respect to the other civilians risking their lives. (Let me make it clear, I’m not saying the Third Country Nationals are contracted under Cheney’s company…but I’m pretty positive our government could help their situation).

Good Soldiers Go to Church on Sunday, Even if They Don't Believe in God.

It always amazed me as to how many people would become religious because they were in Iraq. A bunch of Soldiers in my unit would say, “Oh, its Sunday I’m going to church.” They’d ask me to go but I always refused. And then I’d ask them if they went to church back in states. They usually responded with a “no”. So why start now? Are you scared because you think your life is in jeopardy? Maybe if you pray to God a couple more times on Sunday, the insurgents running around in the desert with a dress and flip flops on won’t kill you? Maybe you figure it’ll be another poor soul who gets killed instead of you? Or maybe you just need comfort? Either way, it’s all bullshit excuses. When SGT A tricked me into going to church one day (she was suppose to be praise dancing, but she really wasn’t) the preacher told us to hold the hands of the people next to us. SPC G was on my one side and another male Soldier on my other side. The preacher asked us to pray for the people standing next to us. I was like, “Oh fuck.” But I prayed really hard for those two. I asked God nicely, “If you do exist, well one, I’m fucked…but please let these two Soldiers make it home safely and in one piece. Because they don’t deserve to die in some foreign land fighting some bullshit war….thank you for your time.” SPC G asked me if I prayed and I told her I did but only because it was for her….and she told me, “I prayed for you Katie because you need Jesus in your life.” I punched her in the arm.

Besides the Army thinking you have nuts made of steel, they also think you ‘re a Christian. No matter what you’re doing, you can be in formation, eating dinner, at work…they’ll have you pray. It’s like once you join they brand you with a cross. My unit would spend holiday’s together…Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…and we’d pray like five times. I never put my head down, I always looked straight ahead. Sometimes people would say, “Hey, we’re praying you know.” This might come as a surprise to some, but not everyone believes in Jesus….and get this, there are other religions out there too. One Soldier in my unit was Muslim and he didn’t want to participate in some holiday dinner. The commander told him that if he didn’t show up, he’d get an Article 15. Well he didn’t show up, he had a few choice words with the commander and never received an Article 15. If I get deployed again I’m going to put some crazy religion on my dog tags, so they have to fly in a monk from Japan or something to give me my proper burial.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Its Been a While...

i know i've been mia recently. i'm rewriting and writing a bunch of give me a couple more days and i should have some new entries up. in the mean time check out these pictures...they were given to me from sergeants in my unit. one is of a suicide bomber that got shot with a 50 cal, blown up vehicles and people, one is from the car bomb that went off at our get the picture.

Iraq...the ugly side.