Friday, March 28, 2003

Iraq Rock
Here's a tidbit of war news that does not include a mention of "Fedayeen".

Armed with $10,000 (7,000 pounds) in hard cash and a booklet of U.S. government IOUs, the 535th Engineers Company headed off to acquire a couple of basic items -- clay and rock. They need the materials to help build a desert airstrip capable of handling large C-130 transport aircraft, planes the army will use to bring food, parts and ammunition to forward units on the long southwestern Iraq front. Fortunately for the 535th, there's a lot of rock and clay in this part of southern Iraq. The problem is finding who owns it and then getting them to sell it.
That was lucky for Hussan, who owns a rock quarry close to where the airstrip is being built and whose grey, clay-brick home was the first stop on the shopping trip. Unused to visitors, Hussan's pack of dogs was alarmed to see three camouflaged U.S. army Humvees loaded with soldiers pulling up to their owner's crumbling house. As Hussan peered from his front step at the approaching vehicles, the 535th's only Arabic speaker leapt out and went to introduce himself. "Can we have some of your rock?" asked Sergeant Dan Osborne. "Sure, take all you want," was Hussan's reply. "Well, we want to compensate you for what we take," said Osborne. "Oh no, you don't need to do that," replied the Iraqi, perhaps unsettled by the presence of seven well-armed Americans. The rock was taken and no money changed hands. But later in the day the commander of the 535th and his Arabic-speaking sergeant came back to make sure Hussan was reimbursed.......Hussan was offered a few hundred dollars. He took the money warily, although he could barely control the smile on his face. The sum represented more than 100 times an average Iraqi's monthly wage


Post a Comment

<< Home