I've been thinking about what and how to write in order to update people what's going on during this deployment, but it's not possible. Accurate descriptions evade this experience for a variety of reasons. One of those being OPSEC (or Army speak for operational security). On a tangential note, I hate Army acronyms. I suppose they are meant to be time saving devices, but seriously how can you save time when you spend more time explaining the acronym than it would have taken to actually utter the words which it abbreviates. I digress. It's difficult to explain what I see here because descriptions could endanger the lives of the people I work with as illustrations might provide clues as to which threads might unravel our defensive and offensive mechanisms. Our trucks, the living areas, our water supplies... now describing seemingly inconsequential pieces of the larger picture of Iraq life might give away too much information. I'm not trying to be paranoid, but it's a very fragile feeling to be here, outside the security of home. Many people's lives balance precariously on pieces of technology that the enemy... no, the terrorist...no, bad people... no, the other side needs very little information on in order to undermine.
Secondly, this place is depressing from many aspects. It's an environmental travesty for one. The entire base is littered with plastic, water bottles, wrappers, discarded pieces of scrap metal, worn vehicle parts, or abandoned defensive positions. Oddly we don't really seem to care. "Draw down" is the phrase of the day and aesthetics are most assuredly playing second fiddle. We live in what feels to be a bubble (or a series of connected bubbles) in the middle of a desert. Somehow despite the surroundings we manage to enjoy all the luxuries of the states (in terms of running water and food items). Not that I'm complaining about the food or the showers but it's still depressing when you think of our ecological footprint here.
Other than that, it's difficult to figure out what we can write about and what we can't. The stuff that filters out isn't all that interesting to talk about. There are a lot of really powerful dynamics changing within the Army today, but most of them are difficult to understand from the outside. The others are dangerous to get caught up in. While it would be great to bring them into the public forum, that's not the nature of this beast.
I'm trying to figure out how to balance the limitations of what can be posted here against my need to show what the deployment is all about, but it's going to take some time. Until then...
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