Monday, July 19, 2004

By Noon If Possible

James Lileks ended his blog on Friday like this:

Our present enemy will nuke us as soon as they can, because it means heaven, period.

I hate this; God I hate this. But I don’t have any longing for normalcy, as Noonan put it the other day, because normalcy was a delusion, a diaphanous curtain draped over the statue of Mars. Nor do I want a time out, a breather, an operational pause. I want to cut to the chase. I want Iran in the hands of its people and leaning to the West again, I want Lebanon independent of Syrian rule, I want Syria isolated and cowed, Arafat dead and buried in the land of his birth – or Paris, symbolically – and the Saudi Civil War done and over with pragmatists in power. I'd like this all tomorrow please.

Noon is fine, if it works for everyone else.


CBFTW helps us imagine what it is like to work the observation post in Iraq.

If you want to know what an OP in Iraq is like, here's what you do: go put on some boots, longs pants, long sleeve t-shirt, some skateboarding knee pads, gloves (Mandatory in my unit, don't ask why) grab your high school football helmet, and a huge backpack. Not no first day of school backpack either, grab one of those outdoorsy heavy duty ones.

Now that you've got all that on you, go down to the nearest fitness center, like a 24 hour nautilus.

Go to the weight room and throw a 45 pound weight in the backpack. No wait a minute, lets make this accurate, the machine gun I carry weighs 27.6 pounds, I carry about 400-600 rounds of 7.62, that's like say, 25 pounds (Its probably more than that), the body armor which are two ceramic plates weighs about say 10 pounds each, and you have your pistol, knife, first aid kit, camera, night vision, and whatever crap you need to carry, lets just say it all comes out to: 80 pounds. So throw in your back pack a 45 pound plate and a 35 pound plate. Don't forget water, grab a gallon of water and throw that in your backpack as well.

Ok, now that you have all that in your backpack and you have your football helmet on, go walk into the Sauna. Every good gym has a sauna. Once your in the sauna, crack open a National Geographic magazine, and rip out the centerfold of the third world country landscape that's inside every issue, and tape it to the wall of the Sauna. Now sit there, inside that sauna, with all that crap on, and stare at that centerfold photo for 8, 10 or 12 hours. Now if you really want to make this realistic, bring a jar full of mosquitoes, flies, and as many different exotic disease carrying bugs as you can find and open up that jar in the sauna and let em fly!


BLOGGERS OUT FRONT ONCE AGAIN: John Leo for US News & World has a piece called Blogging the Watchdogs.

On June 28, Paul Bremer gave a farewell speech as he stepped down as U.S. administrator in Iraq. Some Iraqis, at least, found the talk moving. Ali Fadhil, 34, a resident in pediatrics at a Baghdad hospital, watched it on television with a group in the cafeteria. He said Bremer's words choked up even a onetime supporter of April's Shiite uprising. We have this information about the Bremer speech because Fadhil and his brothers are bloggers who file their own reports on the Internet ( I had never heard of "Iraq the Model," but Margaret Wylie of Newhouse News Service produced a good story June 29 about Fadhil's blogging and Bremer's talk.

Word that Bremer actually gave the speech is something of a collector's item among American reporters. The Washington Post said Bremer left without giving a talk. The Los Angeles Times did worse. It missed the speech, then insulted Bremer for not giving it. A July 4 Times "news analysis" said: "L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country--almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year." This is a good one-sentence example of what readers object to in much Iraq reporting--dubious or wrong information combined with a heavy load of attitude from the reporter.

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