BAGHDAD — One morning late last month, as I was coming back from breakfast, I ran into fellow employees Aziz, Ali, and Hassem who were just arriving for work.
From Aziz I learned that the previous night there was a pitched battle between insurgents and U.S. troops out near where he lives. I have no details of how many were involved, but Aziz said that until an Abrams tank arrived on the scene the American troops were being shoved around pretty badly. Ultimately, the Americans, at the invitation of Aziz, went up on the roof of his house from where they were able to rain fire down on the enemy until the battle was stabilized.
Aziz told our guys that all the local Iraqis out there are pro-American and they should feel welcome to go on rooftops anytime they need to. He also told them all the locals have guns, which they will be only too happy to use against the terrorists.
The whole thing lasted an hour. It won’t ever be mentioned in the media because they stay hunkered down in town, and have no idea what is going on out there. There are apparently quite a few skirmishes of this kind going on all the time that we never read about. I hear about them from the people in whose neighborhoods they take place.
THE DESIGNING AND ENGINEERING of 400kV electrical substations is the major leagues of the electric work being done in postwar Iraq. These projects, which go for $30 to $50 million a copy, are attracting the elite and famous among the giants of electrical equipment manufacturing. Siemens, Westinghouse, ABB, General Electric, Schneider, Mitsubishi, and all the rest are here in force. Since there are quite a few projects open for bidding, no doubt the giants are looking at the possibility of making a single gutsy offer that has the potential to win them all the contracts in one fell swoop.
One of the companies in the running is a pretty substantial French electrical manufacturer called Areva. I am opposed to doing anything with the French. Others don’t agree with me and are pressuring me to join with them to make a team offer for the project. My opinion is that, after winning the war, paying with the lives of 1,700 soldiers (so far) and having thousands more wounded, providing $18 billion to rebuild Iraq, and contributing close to 100% of the effort to establish democracy, the U.S. Government will never award one or all of these projects, and the associated $50 million each, to a French company.
President Bush would be impeached!
A FEW DAYS AGO I WAS FILLING out a third copy of an application for my DoD badge. Dyno Corp, the U.S. contractor in charge, lost the first two. Obviously, one of the questions asked is my birthdate. I happen to have been born on July 14. For many years a few people would give a knowing glance and mumble, “Oh yes, Bastille Day!” That never bothered me but now it does. I don’t want anything about me to be associated with the French.
What might be equally bad, is that July 14 was also the date of the founding of Saddam’s Baath Party in 1958. Until we came along it was a mighty big deal in Iraq! There is a bridge over the Tigris called the 14th of July Bridge.
I can’t decide if I feel worse about the French connection, or the Saddam connection. Both seem about equally rotten to me.
When I get back to the States I will go see a judge to have my birth certificate changed. If you can change your name, one should be able to do the same with a birth date.
THE POST OFFICE WHERE I PICK UP our mail is located in one of Saddam’s former palaces. Some of the building took a fair amount of bomb damage during the war, but the part assigned to the mail department seems to be okay. It is terribly lit, however.
The ceiling at the entrance to the post office is about 20 or 25 feet high. And right up there on the ceiling, as if Saddam had brought Michelangelo out of retirement, is a vast painting that depicts a “crushing defeat of U.S. Forces” by Saddam’s army in the 1991 Gulf War. None of the many American soldiers working below even seem to notice it’s there.
LAST MONTH I WROTE (see item #6) that one of the unreported improvements in Iraq was the resumption of commercial aviation between Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities. My major pronouncement didn’t result in a flood of stories on the subject in the N.Y. Times, but, of course, it feels no urge to report any successes in Iraq.
Later, however, I was watching the news conference involving President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jafari. Lo and behold, right in the middle of it, as President Bush was talking about the improvements in Iraq, he spoke about the dramatic “increase in commercial air traffic in and out of BIAP”! If the Times expects to get the low-down on Iraq, it should have its local stringer give me a call.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online