Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Living the Desert Life in Kuwait

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May 20, 2003 Near Kuwait City Port

A lapse in entries has unfortunately occurred, but it is not entirely unfortunate that so much has passed and happened since April. I am now at Camp Spearhead at a port to pick up my truck. I have been here for 3 days, but I arrived here in Kuwait a week ago, last Monday. Since then, I have been living at Camp Udiari in an isolate desert near Iraq in the north west of the country. So much has happened that I must record, the most important thing being my marriage proposal to Nora on May 3, 2003. The time following that was so happy and full of love, and I pray, an indication of things to come following my return to my proper home. The other notable happenings are, obviously, my arrival in the dusty capitol of oil-rich Kuwait. The pace and circumstances surrounding this Army expedition have prevented me from writing as I should. This is easy to say as I sit here in an air conditioned tent. This is luxury though, Camp Udairi is nothing like Spearhead. Unfortunately I will have to leave here tomorrow. Then the profuse sweating and killer heat will have me and my guys incapacitated, panting like dogs, lying about like desert lizards. That is all you can do there, you can’t read or write, because it is too hot to think. That is no exaggeration. You get used to it, maybe not. Again, I am saying this from an air-conditioned tent. Once reality bites tomorrow, I may change my tune.
The lights are going out soon, so I am going to part with my first impression of Kuwait. The more important reflections on Nora and our engagement merit attention to details and more time. That will follow soon.
Kuwait is a dirty country. On the flight here, I already hated Kuwait before I arrived. When I saw it from my passenger window, there was no world music playing in my mind, or images of exotic shops. I was numb, and that only developed into mental surrender and disappointment as Kuwait failed to meet my minimal expectations. I had faith in this place as a model of civilized Arab life, but found it to be a dump, an ill-maintained slum that hints that it may have been nice in the 70s or 80s. I could also tell that Kuwaitis don’t like to work, the only people working here are from Bangladesh or Africa. This comforted me, and filled me with pride – as I realized I would be away from Nora for 6 months or more to protect and serve a rich, lazy region. I mean this in jest. But I quickly became angry as it was and is still obvious that all this place is good for is oil. Iraqi Freedom seemed like a joke, and what’s more is the thought that George Bush could actually have a genuine, humanitarian concern for this region. I think not. I am in a camp right now surrounded on all sides by oil refineries. It is the perfect backdrop, as I breathe the exhaust fumes from the factory and look up to the brown, disgusting sky. Kuwait makes me sick, it makes me angry to see that our U.S. government so freely wastes money on this place and gets away with it. The more I think about it, the more I think I need to change something about our government, or become a German citizen. Being here is an insult, and I can’t believe that we as Americans have been sustaining wounds, September 11th being the biggest, over the past decade since Gulf War I – because we believe we must have a presence in this Islamic region. I am going to retrace my journey to this country in later entries, but I have found my truth about this place with my own eyes. This war past was a war for oil, and that I cannot be convinced otherwise. The contempt I feel for the U.S. government for sponsoring this is immeasurable, and all I hope is for Nora to stay strong as we both struggle through this folly of men – as generations of lovers have had to do before us.

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