ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
It looks like I'll be leaving here on schedule. I was worried that I might get held in place waiting for a replacement, but apparently all the pieces have fallen into place so that won't be a problem. Not that things here are that bad, I'll just be happy to be back with my family.
Life here in Qatar isn't too uncomfortable, especially when compared to what it's like for the folks in Iraq and Afghanistan. We live in metal cargo containers called cormaxes. There are two people assigned to each cormax. We have electricty, AC, TV's and such. We also sleep on real beds, rather than cots (the mattresses are harder than granite, but it could be worse). The cormaxes are lined up and stacked inside a warehouse, making it look like some kind of indoor trailer park. The AC works almost too well. I've had to use a thinsulate-lined sleeping bag as a blanket on more than one occasion. It's definitely preferable to being too hot, though.
When I started exploring deployment opportunities, I tried to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, but the military (in its infinite wisdom) sent me here. One thing I have learned in my military career is that you have a say in whether you serve, but not in where or how. Those details are left to the powers that be in personnel. At least I've had a chance to play a part in the war on terrorism.
The Nicholas Berg story is a tragic one, one of many in this war (and in this life). I watched the video of his murder on the internet with some of my team members. Needless to say, it was grisly. When Dan Pearl was murdered, I didn't make an effort to find the video that was posted on line. I saw no value in it. This situation was different. I think being in the Middle East is what made the difference. I wanted to see what it is we're up against. These guys are animals. Their excuses about payback for Abu Ghraib are bogus. They are just trying to scare us away. Berg's musder is nothing more than a barbaric PSYOP.
I have seen Berg's father on the news blaming President Bush and SecDef Rumsfeld for his son's death. Being a parent, I can understand his grief. There is nothing more horrifying to a parent than the thought of losing a child. Last year, one of the officers in my reserve unit lost his teenage son to a senseless accident. I went to the wake and it was a heartbreaking experience. I can understand Mr. Berg's pain, but he is off the mark in his accusations. After reading this article I found out how he got so far off the mark. It was Abu Musab al Zarqawi and his fellow terrorist thugs who bear responsibility for the death of Nicholas Berg, and no one else.
The media, as usual seemed to have missed the mark on this story too. Thomas Sowell, one of the smartest people around (smarter than Al Franken and Michael Moore combined), wrote an excellent column about how the media have conducted themselves as of late. If you aren't familiar with Dr. Sowell's work, you should be.