Saturday, August 13, 2005

G.I.'s Deployed In Iraq Desert With Lots Of American Stuff

I found this story off the New York Times. In a sense, I'm somewhat amazed by the amount of stuff accumulated by the G.I.'s to make their desert life more comfortable. And what is even more interesting is when the individual soldiers are shipped back to the states, the stuff gets handed down to the new people there.

I know this tradition has been going on throughout history. No soldier wants to suffer the lousy conditions of the battlefield--poor food, no heat, no comforts, and away from families. So they will certainly try to make their stay in the field as comfortable as possible. But here we have the most modern of any army, from the most technologically modern nation in the world, and look at what these soldiers are bringing in for the creature comforts of home. It is incredible.

Here's the first couple paragraphs of the New York Times story:

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - First Lt. Taysha Deaton of the Louisiana National Guard went to war expecting a gritty yearlong deployment of sand, heat and duress, but ended up spending her nights in a king-size bed beneath imported sheets and a fluffy down comforter.

She bought the bed from a departing soldier to replace the twin-size metal frame that came with her air-conditioned trailer on this base in western Baghdad. She also acquired a refrigerator, television, cellphone, microwave oven, boom box and DVD player, and signed up for a high-speed Internet connection.

"We had no idea conditions were going to be this great!" said Lieutenant Deaton, 25, the public affairs officer of the 256th Brigade Combat Team and an ambassador of the exclamation mark. "My first thought was, oh my God! This is good!"

As much as modern warfare has changed in recent decades, so has the lifestyle of the modern warrior - at least the modern American warrior on base.

Camp Liberty, one of the best-appointed compounds in the constellation of American military bases in Iraq, has the vague feel of a college campus, albeit with sand underfoot, Black Hawks overhead and the occasional random mortar attack.

The soldiers live in trailers on a grid of neat gravel pathways, and the chow hall offers a vast selection of food and beverages, ethnic cuisine nights, an ice cream parlor and, occasionally, a live jazz combo. Camp Liberty, like many other bases, also has Internet cafes, an impressively stocked store, gymnasiums with modern equipment, air-conditioning everywhere and extracurricular activities like language and martial arts lessons.

Amazing.

3 comments:

Neil Shakespeare said...

So it IS summer camp! That's just wonderful. Where can I sign up? You hear so much about how discipline and hardship toughens a fighting force, but evidently that's all hogwash. Nice to hear that our Creampuff Warriors got it so good. Well, except for the death, of course. "Six Feet Under" had an amazing (even for them) episode tonight on a triple amputee back from Iraq who kills himself. And Claire goes off on an incredible anti-war spiel.

Eric A Hopp said...

Neil: It is just like summer camp--only you get to shoot your guns off. You can sign up at your nearest Army recruiting station, and maybe even get an extra bonus with your signing--I hear the Army is having a little trouble getting customers to join their summer camp sessions.

I find it interesting that "Six Feet Under" is showing an episode criticizing the Iraq war. So far television (Both cable and broadcast) have refused to touch on the Iraq war or even the antiwar protests with a fifty foot pole. It is only this season that we've had TBS a Steven Bocho series "Over There" showing a gritty, violent life of American soldiers in Iraq, and now this "Six Feet Under" episode. Is the fear and stigmata in opposing the war starting to dissapate? I wonder when other writers are going to start expressing their views on the war in television and film?

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