Sunday, February 29, 2004

Apple Pie and Mortar Explosions, Assad Talks About his Time in the Iraq-Iraq War

Buy the book at or see original video.

29 February, 2004 2300

We got attacked tonight with about 10 mortars. I heard a muffled explosion while talking to LT Orr in our kitchen area (I was trying to convince people to eat one of the several apple, peach, and pineapple pies that Assad (the welder, AKA Mr. Maizel) brought for me from his home in Babylon. His wife made them, and some dolma (rice wrapped in grape leaves) for me too. Anyways, we heard one explosion.
“Was that a controlled blast?” everyone was coming into the TOC asking. Then another blast, closer. Then another, louder. Then BAM! BAM! BAM! I was surprised they kept firing for so long. SGM Walker ran in,
“Thompson, get the truck ready!” I ran and got my hat and video camera, got the truck ready, and soon we were suited up and flying around the camp looking for an open gate to get out of. We knew the general area the fire was coming from, and sped that way, across the river and to a suspected firing point. We were with the Quick Reaction Force. Soon, a Hummer was ramming against a cinderblock wall to knock part of it in. It succeeded, and a raid team went into the hole, but found nothing. Nothing found anywhere. The attackers got away, again. We got out of the gate fast though. Luckily no one was injured. I’m tired though, so I am going to turn BBC down low and get some sleep. I love you Spatzi, I’ll call you soon. Gute Nacht (good night), MUAH.

One day, Assad told me about a book that he had written during the Iran-Iraq War. It was a journal similar to mine. He never had copies of his handwritten notes made, and the original journal was ripped to shreds by his young children. He sat down one day, and told me about his role in the war. He was a mortar man, and to this day he still prays that he never killed anyone with his mortars. He told about the Iraqi army electrifying the marshes along the Iranian border in order to electrocute any Iranian intruders. He told about the long nights, when they could hear the battle cries of Iranian soldiers in the distance. He told me about the wild cries of “Akbar Allah!!!” some Iranian soldiers dressed in white would scream like mad as they charged the Iraqi positions. These were martyr soldiers, dressed in white – prepackaged for burial. He said the Iranians would scream terribly, striking fear into his heart. He and his fellow soldiers were demoralized, they didn’t know why they were fighting, and so many people were killed without a real reason. He lost his right foot in the war. It was blown off by an anti-personnel mine. I noticed that he walked with a limp, but never thought much about it. He would talk with teary eyes as we sat on an old car seat next to a trash dump while drinking tea.

Buy the book at or see original video.


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