12 April 2003 (Finally, A Nice Home)

1504Z, 12 April 2003, Saturday

I did not get to kill any dogs last night. I tried to but they kept running away from me. So, I guess they got lucky.

We moved to a new home today. We are inside a nice meeting building that was used by government officials. The floors are marble and the doors are solid wood. There is a huge, I mean huge, chandelier in the center of the building. There is actually running water in here as well, but still no electricity. We are using a generator for power. We hope to have that in just a few days. There aren’t a lot of people with electricity right now.

We have a huge room all to ourselves in here. It’s just us four and SGT McBeth from the S2 shop. This used to be a meeting room and had a huge u-shaped table in the middle of the room. We pushed everything over to one side and set up our cots against the wall. Since there are only a few of us in here, they are using most of the free space for storage of stuff that came from other rooms. I ran an extension cord from the generator and we set up the computers and printer on the table.

I haven’t been feeling good lately. I guess it started last night, but I’ve had the runs and an upset stomach all day. I haven’t been able to eat anything until tonight. I don’t know how long it will stay down or how quickly it will pass through me though. I’m not sure why I’m sick. I haven’t eaten any local food or drank any local water. I’ve only been able to drink water pretty much all day. It’s not easy being sick and having to pack up, move, and then unpack all over again. We got a whole bunch of little breakfast meals from somewhere. The meals contained Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts, a fruit bar, some mixed fruit, juice, and milk. I was able to eat that. It was supposed to be our breakfast but I thought I’d try to eat something tonight before I wasted away and woke up as a stick.

I still haven’t gotten any mail since the war began. It’s kind of irritating since the task forces are beginning to get mail. I’ve sent a few letters out but not many. I wonder how many letters or boxes are waiting for me. Since we’re on the front lines and still pretty much secluded from the most of the units here in Baghdad, I guess it’s difficult to get us the mail. My mail is probably just sitting in a truck right now and hasn’t been sent out either.

The building we are in is directly across the street from Iraq’s version of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We’ll go in there when things calm down a little and look around. We are across the street and two buildings down from the Al Rasheed hotel. Between us and the hotel is the ministry of information or something. It’s a huge building with about 25 floors or something. I haven’t counted. It’s good to be in a building in which the windows aren’t blown out and actually has doors and a bathroom. Lining the walls are a bunch of pictures of Saddam and some weird art.

There isn’t a whole lot of space for our vehicles. The amazing thing is that the building is surrounded by flowers. I went out earlier today and just stared at them. How can such beauty exist through such ugly times? I’m not sure how long I was there, but one of my soldiers came and got me to start planning our work. So far, we’ve just been doing a lot of talking to people at checkpoints and haven’t been able to venture into the city. Probably for good reason too. There are still explosions and people trying to penetrate our perimeter. The rest of our units are staying in the Al Rasheed hotel. It’s pretty nice over there, but I like my huge room, roof over my head, and marble under my feet.

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