Chief Wiggles -- Straight from Iraq
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The online journal of Chief Wiggles.

Monday, October 20, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

To all reading my site please be aware that plunge, the man behind the scenes for my blog, is going to go under the knife on Tuesday, undergoing hip surgery. Please join with me in offering up our prayers for his speedy recovery. (Editorial comment from Plunge: the surgery has been delayed, I'll let you know when for sure. Tuesday has been turned into a doctors appointment to go over my latest MRI. No, it is not life threatening, but yes, needs to be done. During the time I am out, Dean Esmay has graciously offered to run things here so there will be no let down in the posting of the Chief's journal entries.) He has been invaluable in keeping things running, solving problems, and making this toy drive happen, I don't know where I would be without him. He is one heck of a friend, one I would be glad to call my brother.

I am so excited about getting the "Share Joys through Toys" campaign going again, with a kick butt solution enabling us to continue to reach out to the Iraqi kids with bundles of happiness. I am so glad we have figured out a way to keep the flow of toys moving, now across the waters. My hat goes off to all who have played a part in putting this solution together. And of course those who have donated money to help pay for the cost of moving the containers to their final destination here in Baghdad.

You are all doing your part in making kids smile, laugh, and catch a ray of hope for the future. Thanks so much.

You will all be glad to know that the Good Luck Genies struck again this morning, as our team of Chief Wiggle Workers descended on a children's hospital here in Baghdad with arms full of toys. Our caravan pulled up to the front of the hotel with our team, several doctors from our local military hospital, Iraqi friends/interpreters, and several news media personnel (NBC, AP, and our Combat Camera Crew).

After a quick meeting with the hospital administrator, grabbing a few carts we proceeded to delivery our cargo of joy to all the children in the hospital. We went from room to room stopping at as many beds as we could to inquire about the child's condition and prognosis, while we personally handed out a special offering made possible by all of you. It was a choice experience.

As we went down each hall and ward of the hospital our following grew behind us as the word of our arrival spread like wild fire. Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of people, we were unable to delivery toys to every employee or family member who desired something. We were there to make sure each and every sick child got a toy.

The kids were great, yes there were many very sad situations causing me to cry inside for the kids, but there were smiles indicating their happiness to see us with the toys.

At one time a father, whose daughter was dieing from leukemia, confronted me with a real plea for medical treatment not toys. With extreme emotion he explained his need for a medical solution to his daughter's ailment, which the toys would not cure. My heart went out to him as I put my arm around him to calm his cries for help. I was sorry to say that I only had toys in my bag of tricks.

After the toys had all been distributed, the news media personnel, eager for the story, grabbed me one by one to figure out why this was all happening. Although it was fun and exciting for me, the real story is about all of you who have taken the time out of your busy schedules and set aside money in your tight budgets to send a toy to a far-off child, in a land engulfed in killing, violence and tragedies against the very people sent here to free them.

Thanks to all of you!!

Yesterday, in the course of another hectic day the spirit made it clear what I was supposed to be engaged in doing. A man, small in stature but big in courage, came into my office desperately seeking someone to talk to. It was obvious that he was emotionally under a great deal of stress and noticeably upset.

He began to relay to me his story of how his family's house had just been bombed for the second time last night, due to his involvement with the Coalition Forces. Over the past several months he had continued to provide us with intelligence regarding things transpiring around Baghdad, which has resulted in the discovery of several missiles, numerous bad guys, and many caches of weapons.

He started to divulge additional information about the whereabouts of one of our most wanted individuals. I stopped him mid-stride to inquirer of his family's condition after last nights attack, realizing quickly that they had no place safe to live. I told him that the first priority was to find his family a place to live.

It was Good Luck Genie time for action. I needed to find this guy a place to live with his family somewhere in the green zone, which was not going to be an easy process. There are so many rules and restrictions about getting people into some of the vacated apartments in this area, but I was determined and I knew the spirit was going to lead the way.

With my interpreter in tow, the three of us jumped into my vehicle to follow the promptings of the spirit as I drove around the area. I won't bore you with all the details but we met the right people, we went the right places, we got lead and directed, and we found him a place. Unbelievably, miraculously, we found a nice apartment in a complex where Saddam's intelligence officers used to live. Everything came together just like I knew it would be.

It was another great moment.

Out here, Good night.


posted by Chief Wiggles 11:09 PM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible.


Friday, October 17, 2003

Let me first say that you guys are great!!

For those of you who are wondering the toy drive is alive and well, having had some minor set backs, but still up and running, as the packages continue to trickle in. I know that many of your have had packages returned, for which I truly apologize. Fortunately we are still receiving packages, I presume those that were already in the pipeline, having made it past the borders of the US. Yesterday was the first day that our numbers of packages was under 30.

The slowing down of the flow of toys saddens me, now almost drying up through the APO military system. But we will not be deterred and we will not give up, as we continue to "Share joys through toys" to the kids of the world. We are determined to make a difference one child at a time, bringing joy to children whose lives are full of sadness.

We are still planning our trip to the children's hospital on Sunday, originally scheduled for Wednesday but pushed back due to the schedules of the doctors. We are planning on taking toys to over 300 children there at the hospital, excited to see their faces as we surprise them with a new doll or a stuffed animal or a ball or truck.

Toys bring joys but more importantly they bring hope for a brighter day, hope for a different future, where we can all live in peace, free human beings.

We have received several emails from the media, NBC-MSNBC and others, about covering the hospital trip, glad to hear of their interest to cover positive stories of selfless acts made possible by the great people of America, Australia, England and other places, who are all willing to assist in making this possible.

Our alternative solution in just about in place, having received so many wonderful ideas, suggestions and actual solutions from many of your around the country. We are getting help all along the way in order to make the movement of these toys happen. I am truly amazed at the generosity of the people of the world who want to contribute in so many ways to insure the success of this program.

Fortunately a warehouse on the east coast has offered us their address and space so a consolidation of all of your packages can be done, as we fill our first 40-foot container of toys. As soon as the container is full it will leave the US, traveling on the water to its next stop in Kuwait where it will be hooked up to a semi and hauled here to Baghdad. We are anticipating this whole journey to take about 3 weeks.

Due to the transportation costs, ocean is the only viable option, but once they start flowing it will run like clockwork.

Good Morning Iraq. As usual my mind woke me up out of a sound sleep quite early this morning, considering the fact that I went to bed at around 2 am. I paused for a moment as I had one of those self-to-self discussions about whether or not I should get up or just fall back to sleep (yeah right fall back to sleep, you have got to be kidding. Unless I had some strong tranquilizer to knock me out, there is no way I was going back to sleep).

I asked myself a few quick questions regarding the essential tasks of the day ahead, thinking "come on can't I sleep in for once, just this time". But, a list of "to do's" or I should say "must do's" flashed across my head clearly making my decision for me, as I realized there were just too many really important things to get done today that required an early start.

I had a late meet (we call them "meets", our meetings with our sources) last night with a couple of civilian Iraqi pilots, who have been very helpful in locating hidden Iraqi aircraft around the country. They had invited a few of us over to the Rasheed Hotel for a late night dinning out pool side party, them bringing all the fixins for a dining extravaganza.

They had brought a famous Iraqi fish dish called "Musgoof", made from a fish caught in the Tigris River, cooked a special way and served up with a variety of vegetables, onions and such. It was really quite a treat, though hesitant at times to eat it, having seen the nature of the Tigris River and what flows into it.

It was quite a scene, definitely a Kodak moment, all of us gathered round the table snatching up the fish with our flat bread in hand, as we made pigs of ourselves. We were taught the real way to eat the fish without utensils just pinching off a piece of the sweet meat with our two fingers with bread folded in between.

I have grown very close to the two pilots, whom I have met on several occasions, now feeling close enough to engage them in the traditional Iraqi greeting ritual. This involves going cheek to cheek with them starting with the left, then the right, then back to the left cheek, while making a kissing sound each time, similar to what the Latino and other cultures do when they greet someone they know.

It was a little awkward at first hugging and kissing like that but when it Rome, you know how it goes. Now it has become common place and a true sign of the strong ties and relationships we are building with these people.

We had a great evening talking about the issues at hand, politics, the old regime, new possibilities, and a variety of other topics, worthy of several long discussions taking us well into the night.

Even though we are at the Rasheed hotel, well inside the green zone, gunfights could be heard all around us throughout the evening. It was a busy night for rapid weapons fire, surely not fired for weapons testing. A few loud explosions were heard, causing all of us to pause in our friendly discussion to wonder what might have happened.

I especially enjoyed the old love and war stories from the pilots as they discussed the details of their escapades of years gone by when they were young and foolish. There were stories of their travels throughout the world when they were young and single pilots, stories with Polish women who could really handle their liquor and fun filled trips to America.

I was surprised to hear one of the pilots tell us of his wife and child in America whom he hadn't seen for the past 20 years, due to the fact that under Saddam's reign he was prohibited from traveling internationally. He has since married again now with several children with his second wife.

It was such a normal get together one like many others I have had with friends and family members back home, laughing and interacting. It was a great evening.

Afterwards we stayed in the hotel for a few minutes as we decompressed listening to music from back home and no WhosyourBaghdaddy it wasn't Michael Bolton.

I stopped by the office before going to bed to find Chief Authentico up doing some email. I chose to sit with him for a while as we reviewed the events of a very busy day, taking this time to decompress further, after running around all day like some rancher trying to herd cattle that have just been spooked by a brush fire.

I went into the JOC to take care of some messages, only to find out that there was a long firefight going on in Karbala, not sure about the details nor the outcome. Firefights are not unusual but this one might be, can't say much more than that at this time.

There is so much about what I do and what is going on over here that I can't write about until things get declassified at some point in the future. I just have to be careful, there is just too much at stake, like our lives.

Part 2

Friday, October 17, 2003

Wow a break has just sprung up totally unexpected in the action of another crazy day, allowing me to add more to today's journal entry. I actually felt guilty for having a lull in the action for a few minutes. I have tons of reports to write but for now at this moment I am writing in my journal no matter what. So there (I am just practicing being more deliberate).

I couldn't believe my ears this morning as I heard the familiar sound of RAIN, hitting the roof of my trailer, not believing at first what it really was. I thought to myself that surely that must be something else, the falling of ripe dates from the overhanging branches, or the wind dropping sand pebbles. But, yes indeed in was rain, only for a few minutes but this is the first rain I have seen since March on the border of Iraq.

The office is strangely enough empty, at this moment, of all sources, interpreters and debriefers, except for Chief tennis guy, a newcomer to our team, and I, who are both just chilling out, writing our journals while listening to the better sounds of Seal, yes you heard it right Seal, not Michael Bolton Specialist Baghdaddy. Don't be mislead by an hour of Michael Bolton.

I do have serious music interests that stem from the era when real music was invented during the sixties by such legendary bands as the Doors, Cream, Jimmie Hendricks, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, James Taylor, Carole King, the Beatles, the YoungBloods, the Animals, Steppenwolf, and on and on. There is nothing like the singer/songwriter artists that were producing music during the sixties, when lyrics meant something and new sounds were being developed every day of the week.

You know I am just an old hippie at heart, part of the free spirited, independent thinking, love and peace seeking non-drug using hippies of that era, with the traditional long- straight-haired girlfriend, who used to grow beads for our necklaces. Yes, I had the frizzy afro-style hairdo of the day with the long lamb chop sideburns. It was the best of times to grow up in the great land of America, with all the diversity, creative thinking, and freedom to explore.

My past has all played a major role in molding me into the person I am today, having lived through the sixties, Vietnam, the first Gulf war, and now Operation Iraqi Freedom, with so many changes and experiences in between. My road of life has been tough, bumpy and full of highs and lows, complex and messy.

As long as I can continue to get crazy on the dance floor once in awhile, getting my grove on, to what ever sounds are out there, then I am one happy camper. Dancing, even alone, is one of the greatest releases I have found and I will dance it up anywhere and anytime I can, till age takes away the movement in my legs and my body can no longer shake when I want it to.

Lately with the magical developments happening all around me, I am now even more convinced of the divine nature of the mission I am involved in. I know for a fact that the spirit is guiding our hands, increasing our understanding; enlarging our scope and assisting in making so many good things come about. It is mysterious and miraculous to say the least. So many good things are happening. You can call it what you will but I know that the Lord's spirit is here with us, paving the path ahead, opening doors, creating opportunities, and bringing to pass his will the freedom of mankind.

This war, this cause isn't about weapons of mass destruction, or oil, or any other political agenda, it is about the Lord using the resources and might of the United States to bring about the freedom of a nation of people and perhaps to a region.

It is part of our heritage established in the constitution of the United States that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God and it is not right that any man should be in bondage one man to another at any time in anyway. We have an obligation to insure, whenever possible, the freedom of all mankind from all forms of bondage, where the agency to choose is taken away from any person.

This week was especially unique and wonderful.

We had just been discussing with the pilots how prevalent corruption is in the Ministry of Education, with the contractors and subcontractors. The money has been made available, the plans are in place, the intentions are good, but something is just broken, the schools are not getting remodeled and fixed the way they should be. Somewhere along the way or all along the way, the money is going into people's pockets and not into fixing up the schools.

We were all expressing our disgust with the situation, hoping to make a difference in someway by putting a stop to the corruption. The pilots would like to use their engineering/construction company to make an example of one school, properly using the money the way it was intended. So we were asking ourselves the question of how were they going to break through this network of corruption to get a chance to do it right?

Our car was in the shop getting the radiator fixed so we were on foot for a couple of days. After our appointment with the pilots we decided to hit the road in hopes that while thumbing someone would pick us up. With thumbs out we started walking down the road.

The very first car, seeing our thumbs, pulled over to pick us up. After a few minutes of small talk and simple introductions we discovered they were both with the Ministry of Education. Now I can't tell you what was said or what transpired in the car but all I need to say is that the spirit witnessed what our course of action should be. The Lord's spirit was so strong that both my interpreter and I looked at each other; simultaneously stating we could feel its presence and knew what we had to do. Let's just say that I am now investigating corruption and bribery in the ministry, gathering information as fast as possible.

Sometimes things just get dropped into your lap, which unequivocally are a message from above directing your efforts to bring about the Lord's work.

On Monday one of our sources, with the help of the police, raided a counterfeiting operation here in Baghdad based on the intelligence we had gathered. The seemingly small outfit turned out to be a huge organization with large ramifications and international implications, which I can't go into.

It was such a great story that the Governing Council of Iraq ended up displaying all the bounty to show off to the news media, which I chose to remain in the background on, other than being there to witness the whole event. I was just so overjoyed to see that everything went down as they had planned it.

It is such a satisfying feeling to see the results of our labors bringing about a positive change for good, by taking out criminals running illegal operations. Yeah baby, there is one for the gipper.

We are gaining such momentum, with such synergy with our sources, all coming together in a very synchronized fashion as if it was all meant to be. It is just so amazing when all the pieces start to fit together as if they are all part of a well-made - fine tuned piece of equipment.

By the way, I took two boxes of toys over to our local hospital to be given out to outpatients. I also dropped in on Passion who was the young homesick guard I promised a box of toys. Having the toys gives me a reason to have a nice diversion from the non-stop depressing discussions of crime and violence that permeates our office.

A big welcome to our new team members, Surfer Dude, Tennis Guy, Skater, El and Sarcastico, who is still at home on leave. We are finally getting everyone up to speed, spinning them up to where we need them, self motivating, self directed, killer debriefers. They are not all there yet, but I am confident they will be soon, just now getting their feet wet, ok totally drenched, baptism by fire, the only way to fly.

It is great having the help.

I just heard from home regarding some very unfortunate turn of events involving my business, relating to the downturn of the economy, and the increase in competition, causing us to close our doors with a large sum of money owed in back payments. Life does go on and things continue to happen in my absence.

I know that things will work out one way or another, the Lord has control of my life and will take care of things for me. I don't know where it is going but I have faith that things will be ok. I know it is going to be tough for awhile as I have to work through things from such a long distance away.


posted by Chief Wiggles 11:08 PM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Sunday, October 12, 2003

We won't give up on getting the toys here, so don't you either. I feel really bad for those of you who might get something returned, I am really sorry. I am determined to make this happen and it will. I can be very persistent, with a firm belief that where there is a will there is a way. I am going to make this happen, with all of your help. We are going to find a viable solution for all of you.

Today hit like a whirlwind and we never stopped till it was too late to know what had happened. Every day we light our hair on fire and run around all day just trying to keep pace with the demands for our services. Even now after the arrival of more bodies, we are just keeping up, the work just expanding exponentially.

We are right here where things happen, where the pavement meets the road, the place where news is made in many cases. We all feel so privileged to part of this effort right here, doing just what we are doing, everyday giving thanks that we are busily engaged in a good cause, making our little difference.

Along with doing our part in passing on actionable intel to SF teams, and pushing reports up the chain, we are also trying to help these people start businesses that create jobs for people doing good things, that just need to put food on their tables. We are passing out toys to kids, made possible by all of you, so that they can find some degree of happiness in this mixed up place. We are spreading joys with toys. We also help some of our sources find housing, get rewards for the stuff they turn in, help them fill openings here with the ministries and on and on. The opportunities are endless, so many ways to make a difference.

As you know not all the generals got released, the remaining six still there awaiting the word, which should be any day. You might recall my friend the air force pilot whom I had grown so close too and from whom I learned so much about life. Well he is still there but it is only a matter of a few days before I might be able to greet him as a free man, when he returns to his home here in Baghdad. I can't wait to meet him and his family, what a treat that is going to be.

I just feel bad that I can't tell you anything that went on today, all classified you know. Just take my word that this is some really cool stuff.

One of our sources brought us over some great food for us to partake of, out of thankfulness for the sacrifice we are all making being here away from our families.

Our office is finally closed for the day, quieted by the departure of everyone except baghdaddy, who is asleep in the chair, and myself, with the gentle sounds of Michael Bolton playing in the background. I continue to look for ways to make more of an impact on the slow moving train of change, sometimes hardly making any forward movement.

Well I thank you all. Grateful for all you have been doing and the great response we have received on the toy drive. It is going to happen.


posted by Chief Wiggles 11:07 PM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Friday, October 10, 2003 Part 2

Great news!!

Guess what happened today? It has finally happened!! The generals have been released. I can't believe it, it is such a good feeling to hear that they were released. After countless hours spent over the past 5 months and the involvement of numerous high-ranking officers, including 5 different US generals, and the prayers and efforts of all of you, eleven of the generals were released to return to their homes and the rest are due to be released in the next few days. This is a great day, one I knew would happen eventually, but I had no idea it would take this long.

They have been incarcerated since the end of March, now six and a half months, living in the worst possible place in all of Iraq and I should know because I lived there myself for 3 of those months.

I can't believe it actually happened, after all this time and effort. I am so happy for all of them now reunited with their families and loved ones. I can just imagine the reunions that are going on right now. I am so jazzed about this. Somebody stop me from screaming, I just can't contain myself. Yeah baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are not coming up here to me yet, but I am sure they will in the next week or so, in that I have back pay for quite a few of them, which amounts to several hundred dollars. I have also worked out for most of them to be hired as contractors or consultants with the people building the new Iraqi military.

Being incarcerated might turn out to be the best possible thing to have happened to some of them, even though it was perhaps the most difficult thing too. As I stated before no man knows what is good or bad, in that none of us know the future. What today might be viewed as a terrible thing might actually turn out to be the best thing as we look at the chain of events that make up our lives.

For the most part, we don't spend enough time analyzing the chain of events that has lead us to where we are in life or what the cumulative affect of all of our life's experiences are. We are the sum total of all of our experiences, good and bad, all part of the chiseling process of the master's hand, as we are sculptured into our present being.

I for one enjoy the refining process, grateful for the hands of the master sculpture as I am chiseled on day by day in this perfection process.

As we go through the daily flow of sources, good and bad, we begin to sift through them, to discover those of real value, which will actually bring about the greatest results. There are many sources which we burn through sending them on their way to find other means of employment.

There are those chosen few who actually do have real valuable intel, which can be acted upon, by one of our SF teams. In the last few days, we have been fortunate enough to have a few of those. Once in a while we hear back from the teams about the outcome of a raid, or an attack on some bad guys, like we heard today. I can't tell you what a great feeling it is to hear that everything was there just as the source said it was and that things went down just as expected.

That is such a buzz, such a great high to have actually taken part in the doing of great things. We are working on some really big things right now, which would have a huge impact on things over here if they work out. I can't say yet but I will let you know.

Today alone I had a 3 hours debrief on some very vital and critical information that could have a large impact on many people's lives. This is so cool, and so real.

The rest of our new team members arrived yesterday and today, bringing our numbers up to 8, that leaves one left who will be with us tomorrow. We are so grateful for the arrival of these boys, who have come to our rescue, hoping to relieve some of the pressure we have been under. So far though our workload has multiplied to the extent of which are forces have been added.

Great things are happening, time will prove this out.

Spreading joys for toys.


Friday, October 10, 2003 Part 1

My mind in all it's eagerness to get on with the day, woke me rather early this morning, already well into the issues at hand needing a solution. There are so many items of business to deal with that at times I wonder how they are all going to get done. Some more pressing than others but all very important to others around me. In all of my eagerness to make a difference I have taken on perhaps more projects that I should have, not uncommon for me to have way too many projects at any one time.

Waking earlier than desired, I felt an urge to purge some of my stress by going for a good long run. It was a perfect morning for a run; now with much lower temperatures, a cool breeze blowing through the trees, and a cloudless clear blue sky. As I took in a breath of fresh air, I was totally invigorated, feeling a resurge of energy to help me cope with the challenges of the day.

As I ran I felt the release of the stress that had been bothering my upper chest and my mind cleared from all the worries of the day. I was able to enjoy the sounds of birds in the swaying trees as I ran by and the warmth of the rays of the morning sun. It was a new day, the start of many more unpredictable magical things.

I ran my normal 3 miles, appreciative of the fact that my health still allows me such physical exertion and the enjoyment of a good sweat. I ran by the hospital reminded of the young guard who I had promised a box of toys, the doctor who was supposed to get back to me on the epileptic boy's medication, and the surgeons who want to go with me to the 300 bed children's hospital to pass out toys.

I was saddened yesterday with the news that the Army APO mail system had decided to clamp down, enforcing their policy of not allowing goods to be shipped that are intended to be given to another individual and to insure that the troops don't get any unwanted packages from unknown individuals. I do understand their position but disappointed with their decision to enforce it. I would like to personally apologize for the inconvenience this is definitely going to cause those of you who already have shipped your packages. I have asked the postal service to allow those packages already shipped to pass through the system, hoping they won't be returned to you.

We are busy trying to come up with an alternative solution, with many good ideas, surely one of which will be acceptable to all of you desiring to spread joy with your toys. We have a great start, now having received more than 400 packages, with many more on their way. I have faith that there is a viable solution to our temporary dilemma, keeping the momentum growing and the desire to share alive.

Yesterday was a great day, as our group of volunteers met up with about 100 young girls out on a field trip away from their orphanage they call home. They were all playing in the garden and tennis court areas of the Babylon Hotel, when we pulled up with Chief Wiggles Toy Bus, full of items carefully selected for this group.

The young girls were so excited as they saw us walking carrying boxes of toys, school supplies and plenty of stuffed animals. You could see the sparkle in their eyes and their grins of anticipation, as each of them greeted our band of Good Luck Genies with a confident “hello, what is our name.”

The girls, from 6 to 18 years of age, eager to include us in their games and festivities, grabbed hold of our hands to play their version of ring-around-the-rosy. They sang songs, chanted, clapped their hands, but most of all they laughed. It was a full-hearted laugh, indicating, at least for that moment, they were completely happy.

As we opened the boxes to begin handing out the toys, the orderly lines we had attempted to form disintegrated causing things to get a little out of hand, especially with the adult workers and employees of the school and hotel. The adults, all hoping to get something for their own little children, pressed in and continued their polite requests despite our efforts to ignore them. In the end we were able to insure that the toys got into the hands of the little girls from the orphanage.

After spending a couple of hours with the girls we made our way back into the security of our green zone, knowing that we had done a good thing, all of us full of the joy that comes from serving someone else. It was exactly what we had anticipated when I made the initial request for more toys, a chance to bring happiness to the children of this nation, one child at a time. Spreading joy through toys.

Thanks to all of you who have helped make this happen.



posted by Chief Wiggles 11:07 PM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible


Sunday, October 05, 2003
I worked late last night, as usual, trying to deal with all the projects that I have started, not being able to, nor do I want to, forego on anyone of them. I woke several times during the night with my mind spinning around, going over and over several issues, waking up with my brain fully engaged on the schedule of the day. At times, I feel like a fishing pole struck by a large whale that is running the line out, so I wake up every morning with my line racing uncontrollably. I am sure you can imagine the sound of that.

This is quite a ride I am on, one I never would have missed for anything. You cannot imagine all the magical and wonderful things happening here. On a daily basis, I am just in amazement of all the things that are transpiring, both the good and the bad. I will try to put words to the details of the events going on.

Yesterday, I was able to take one of my source’s little boy to our military hospital to be evaluated by a neurosurgeon. The little boy is suffering from seizures, perhaps epilepsy, at least according to the Iraqi doctors. The little boy’s condition has been worsening over the last few days, forcing us to take action to provide some type of care or prognosis of his condition.

I had met with the doctors a few days earlier to arrange for this appointment. The doctors were more than willing to help out due to the nature of the circumstance. I was so pleased with their attitudes, so gracious and eager to be of assistance. The doctor actually spent over 2 hours evaluating the little boy’s condition, even taking a CAT Scan and everything. They are somewhat limited by the lack of certain equipment, but the doctors prognosis was favorable, indicating that it didn’t appear to be epilepsy.

While I was waiting for the doctor to complete his evaluation, I walked outside to get some fresh air. I walked by the young female guard at the front of the hospital, offering up the customary greetings of “How are you?” her response caught my attention, compelling me to turn around and sit down next to her. After further inquiry about her condition she broke down and started to cry, expressing how home sick she was.

In an effort to cheer her up, I told her I would bring a box of toys over for her to pass out to the little kids that come to the hospital. Her eyes sparkled and she smiled upon hearing my offer to bring a little joy to others, doing so might help get her mind off of her own separation from loved ones.

There are so many opportunities to reach out to those around us, helping them in time of need. If we are paying attention to our surroundings many opportunities to brighten another’s day will come our way, to bring a little sunshine into what might be otherwise full of gloom and despair. Sometimes it is just a matter of being sensitive to the signals of someone in need whose path we might pass in the course of our busy life.

On Thursday, one of the local orphanages with about 85 kids, is having a field day over at a hotel not far from here, so we are planning on loading up the Chief Wiggles Toy bus, we have a bus now – a 20 passenger bus no less, to do a toy drop as the good luck genies. We are also putting a trip together with the doctors of our hospital to do a toy drop over at the local children’s hospital which has over 300 beds. We will continue to plan for these events as we attempt to put the toys everyone has sent into the hands of needy kids.

I am trying to come up with a name for Chief Wiggle’s Toy Bus and for a slogan and design to go on our t-shirts that we wear while we do these toy drops. I would like to hear your suggestions. We could even make these t-shirts available on our web site for any of you who would like to buy one. I will have Scott my site manager put the design on the site that we have come up with.

It is now 10 pm Sunday night. I have collapsed back into my office chair, totally exhausted from the hectic day’s activities. Sometimes at the end of the day, Chief Authentico and I just take a moment to sit back and laugh about the crazy-zany, mixed up things that happen to us on a daily basis.

I am sure if we didn’t just make fun of things we would go totally out of our minds. Sometimes just a glance at each other will cause us to burst out laughing, words at times just not necessary to convey the mutual feelings we are experiencing about the strangeness of the daily events.

I can’t even begin to explain some of the things that happen, due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter and for the fear that many of you might misunderstand or take offense. Let me just say that there are times when we feel like we are on a different planet, totally dealing with a different realm of circumstances and situations.

At any given time we are pursuing leads tha, if proven to be true, would solve any and all the problems that exist over here; from the whereabouts of Saddam, to the location of weapons of mass-destruction, to stashes of gold, to locations of Fedeyeen, of Whahabees, of Ba’ath Party members, of Mujuhadeen, of ex- intelligence officers still pro-Saddam, of Al Quieda members, and so on and so forth.

This land has become a gathering place for anyone who, through hatred, has a desire to kill or harm the infidel Americans. If you take all of those groups with all that hatred and mix it up with all the traditions, the culture, the beliefs, and the religions of this region, you can start to imagine what kind of pot of soup we are dealing with. I say this with a sincere love for these people too, but on any given day we run into the full gamut of people, their stories, their expectations and motives, their excuses and solutions.

This evening alone we met with one individual who is campaigning to be the next president of Iraq, tribal sheikhs from 5 different family groups, 2 metaphysical spiritual leaders, a Kurdish lawyer and an Engineer/Lieutenant Colonel from the old regime. You could not have interviewed a more different group of people, with all of their idiosyncrasies, their cultural traditions and religious beliefs, and rituals, superstitions, and fears. Fortunately, we didn’t have them all in the same room at the same time.

It is like a breath of fresh air when we meet someone who really cares about his people for the right reasons, with pure intent, with no hidden agenda or ulterior motive, without greed or self-consumed desire to gain personally from everything that is said or done. There are those who, for whatever reasons, have remained uncontaminated by the evils perpetuated by the leader of this country.

Fortunately, it is the time spent with those people and their families that recharges our desire to go forth, continuing to care and be concerned about what happens to this land and its people.

One man brought his family over this week, inside the green zone, desiring for all of us to have dinner together. All I had to do was meet his kids and I knew at that moment what I was working so hard for, what we were all fighting and dieing for. What a great family, with 4 kids, from 16 to 8 years old, well groomed, so polite, and so loving.

Meeting such a family such helps me realign my perspective about my surroundings, aside from all the bad stuff that I normally hear on a daily basis. I am so glad that I was able to go with gifts of toys from all of you, making a huge difference in the long-term big scheme of things.

Time to crash. Good night.

Wiggles


posted by Chief Wiggles 11:06 PM
. . .
Saturday, October 04, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

To all who have sent toys:

I cannot begin to tell you how exciting this has been for the past two days as the boxes of toys have started coming into my office. So far I have received about 50 boxes of just the greatest stuff, very carefully and thoughtfully selected. I humbly salute all of you for finding it within yourself to sacrifice your own personal wants to send a package of happiness to the children of Iraq.

It has been like Christmas here in October for all of us on my team who have been opening your packages as we attempt to sort the items to insure the right kids get your gifts. It is so much fun going through the boxes, evening playing with the toy dinosaurs as I had flash backs from my own childhood. I am so thrilled with the items you have sent for these kids.

I took out the first toys and school supplies to a family we visited with tonight, treasuring each smile and sparkle in the children’s eyes as I handed them the specially selected items. You are making so many great things possible here in this land of trouble. This is just so magical.

I am working on my distribution channels to a variety of destinations. I have spoken with a few doctors who are hooking me up with the children’s hospitals in the country. I am also working with the people who regularly go out to about a dozen orphanages around the country to get in their loop, even planning on going out with them on their next outing with the kids next Thursday, (by the way the orphanages need kids socks and underwear for ages 3 to 18, both boys and girls). I have about a dozen schools that I will be working with also to provide things for their kids.

One of my best friends and his family have agreed to assist me in this effort by offering a warehouse facility to store the toys, which has a guard and is secured. He also has a truck at his disposal to help me move the toys from place to place.

Miracles continue to happen as people everywhere catch the vision of what this means to the children of this land, putting smiles back on their faces and the twinkle back in their eyes. You are all doing great things, greater and bigger than me or my team or anyone. You all are just the greatest and I love you for it.

God bless you all.

Thanks from Chief Wiggles, from the bottom of my heart.


posted by Chief Wiggles 5:40 AM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible


Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Even amidst all that is going on, a day doesn't go by without thoughts of the 17 Iraqi generals that are still incarcerated in an EPW camp in southern Iraq. They are so desperately needed in this monumental task we have before us of rebuilding the Iraqi military. We could use them in so many different capacities; in leading, teaching, guiding, and consulting the new Iraq soldiers, as we make a serious effort to create a new way of running an army.

Day in and day out, I continue to pester whomever I come in contact with that might have a say in their release, to push the issue along. I have several US generals in my camp, also desiring their release that they might be utilized for their exceptional skills and talents.

Everyone who has had the unique opportunity of meeting with the generals has walked away with the same conviction that these men need to be released before we lose them altogether as advocates of our cause.

The following is a sample of two letters I have received from a daughter of one of the generals.

Dear Sir,

I'm the daughter of the Brigadier General XXXXX one of the Iraqi Prisoners of war, I've met you Sir in our first visit to daddy on the 13th of June 2003 at Camp in XXXXXX, I've reed your memorandum that you've presented it to Mr. President George W. Bush. Thank you Sir for all your efforts.
Daddy still in prison for more than 180 days without any cause ,I know from the families of the other BG that you are working in Baghdad ,I respectfully request from your kindness if you let me know the `E-mail of US adminsitrator Paul Bremer ,he is our leader.
I hope Sir that you will not disappoint me.


GOD Bless you.

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for all your efforts, we are grateful for you, but Sir daddy still detained and he completed his 6 month and I don't Know why he still detained despite of his cooperation with the American Forces, we've heard a lot of talk about his release, but Sir days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months and I'm afraid that months will turn to a year, when we've heard that an investigation is completed we've cheered up and we think that daddy will release, but Sir after a period of time we've heard again that other investigation has been started and all our hope went with the wind, it's more than 6 months Sir and we've started to lose the hope in his releasing, I'm so sorry Sir that I talked a lot about my problem, but Sir I'm sure you will be patient with me,we are only three sisters and we need daddy,we live alone in bad condition in an area filled with criminals .I pray Sir for your safety and I'm asking GOD to protect you .

GOD Bless you


Sincerely


I am sure you can all feel the sincerity of the words written on behalf of her father.

Again I petition all of you who read my words; to do all you can to help the generals get released from the prison we put them in the first day of the war. What we are doing is a real travesty to these men, who trusted our words as they read our leaflets and followed our instructions to surrender.

I have arranged for each of them to be interviewed and possibly offered jobs as contractors as soon as they are released.

DAY PART 2

When my head is up and my eyes are open, cognizant of my surroundings, it is amazing the number of opportunities that come my way, if I but have the desire to serve, doors will be opened. Today was one of those days, when I was able to carry on the tradition started down south at the POW camp, the Good Luck Genie was able to strike again. On several occasions today I was able to pass out more toys to the kids of Iraq, just in the course of my normal busy daily travels.

A young girl, about 7, came in our office with her father, who was hoping to pass along vital information to us regarding a variety of things going on in his neighborhood. As she stood in front of our office door, sheepishly hiding behind her fathers pant leg, I quickly grabbed a couple of toy items to see if I couldn't bring a smile out on her pretty face. The minute I gave her the green stuffed frog, sent to me by my buds at FedEx, she lit up like a Christmas light, smiling from one ear to the other.

As I went out to the front gate to pick up a source a man was standing there with his little boy in his arms, noticeably in anguish over the burned condition of his son. His boy's entire body was obviously burned at some time, now scared and still blistered and peeling. The boy's fingerless limbs attempted to scratch the scabs now itching.

I had my interpreter instruct the father to wait until we could return, hoping to give the boy something to feel good about, as he waited at the gate to see the doctor. The father was hoping we would be able to provide some medical care for his son, obviously not able to receive the type of care required from other facilities.

I brought back a stuffed animal, which was all I had left from the two boxes of toys I had received. But, the father and his little boy were nowhere to be seen. Disappointedly, I gave the stuffed animal to the young black guard at the gate, informing her to give the boy the gift if by chance he returns.

I was so happy to be able to help bring a small amount of joy into the lives of these children, who might otherwise grow up without having the fun some of these toys can bring.

Another great day.


posted by Chief Wiggles 5:38 AM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Sunday, September 28, 2003

My head is spinning from my last appointment, which lasted about 5 hours and took everything out of me. I am sure glad I am finished with meetings for the day, not sure if I would be very effective if I had to go through another debriefing right now. Some times I feel totally spent after a day of grueling debriefings, running around from place to place, and trying to do things that make a difference in this crazy mixed up place.

We are constantly being bombarded with a steady string of overwhelming problems, the weight of which seems unbearable at times. We feel like we are swimming in a sea of honey, hardly able to make any progress as we pull and push with every stroke, with every intention of moving forward along this journey but not sure if we have even moved an inch.

We are still very positive about our efforts in the overall scheme of things, knowing deep down inside that each person we touch gets us that much closer to our goal of winning the hearts and minds of these people. Fortunately, we are able to sustain a good positive attitude regardless of the roadblocks and obstacles in our way.

Actually yesterday, during one of my meetings with my favorite source, a light went on in my head, finally giving me a clear understanding of what is needed. What these people need more than anything else is jobs, incomes, and industries that create all of this. We need the people of Iraq to start thinking about opportunities that have can now become a reality with the removal of Saddam.

Creating new industries for this country will give them the chance to opt out of the weapons business and get into something with more of a future, that is legal and provides more of a steady income, with perhaps benefits. Think of that.

With the control that has been placed upon them by their illustrious leader, most of these people have closed down their minds and left their blinders on for the last 30 years. The first thing that needs to be opened is their minds, allowing for free flowing thoughts and ideas of ways to make improvements in their own country.

One of the main problems here is that the bad guys are all involved in doing illegal acts that are reaping them great sums of money to finance their operations and recruiting efforts. It is estimated that on the pipeline alone we are losing millions of dollars through theft that is going into the funding of anti-coalition operations. The bad guys have always been well organized and well funded, offering your every day citizen, who is struggling to feed his family, a way to make additional money by firing a shot or planting a bomb.
Our problem has been that we don¡¯t have money to pay the good guys to run operations against the bad guys, or ways of providing resources for teams to go out and take down an opposing group, or to turn in a weapons cache, or to identify who the terrorists are. We have a rewards program but it is cumbersome and time consuming, not offering immediate compensation for good actions that save lives.

Almost all of our sources have been in need of something, a job, a reward, a phone, or a variety of other resources, which we have none to give them. They want to do good things for their country but have not been able to sustain themselves with out some form of compensation. They all have to take care of their families first, making sure their children have food to eat and clothes to wear.

So the best possible thing I could do is to help my sources start up their own businesses that will create jobs and incomes for their team members. We have the ministries and other resources available to assist and teach them how to do it. We can even provide small business loans and other financial aid to help them start up new industries, now opportunities and an escape from the temptation to get involved in illegal activities.

This approach actually helps kill several birds with one stone. First it helps provide jobs and income for their team members. Secondly it helps them fund their operations against the bad guys. Thirdly, it creates economies in this country, alternatives to the industries that we are presently dealing with. Fourthly, it begins to strengthen the Iraqi economy providing goods and services that can be exported to other countries, becoming part of the international community.

I have already started trying to make this work with two of my sources that I feel have the capabilities, the skills and the knowledge to make it happen. I am invigorated by the vision of what this could do for this country, full of ideas of ways to make this come about. The possibilities are endless and the upside so great, if we can just get over the hurdles that I am sure will come up in the course of guiding them along this way.

And of course I will be able to gather more and more intelligence, as they are able to fund their efforts to gather it.

I am so excited about this. This is just awesome giving us just one more idea for a way to provide a solution to these people.

Wiggles


posted by Chief Wiggles 5:37 AM
. . .
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Saturday, September 27, 2003

I was woken this morning from my restful sleep by the sound of explosions going off near by, reminding me of exactly where I am. When my roommate returned from the gym, he informed me that the Rasheed Hotel, the place where I go dancing, was hit by two RPG rounds this morning, once again bringing to mind the stark realty of the dangers that surround us and how vulnerable we are. I lay in bed for a while pondering the facts of the moment, wondering how someone could have gotten so close to the hotel deep in the heart of the green zone.

I haven’t heard, but I am sure people were either killed or injured at the hotel, the place where a lot of our soldiers live, along with dignitaries and other important people. I believe Drew Carey along with the other comics of his USO tour was staying in the hotel last night. As visions of the explosion dance through my head, I can’t help but wonder what damage was caused and if the hotel employees along with the gherkin guards at the front door were also injured.

All of the entranceways to our buildings are guarded by a group of retired gherkins from Nepal, known for being some of the best soldiers in the world. They are all very diligent in performing their duties, taking their jobs very seriously. I have found all of them to be very courteous and polite, having taken the time to learn enough English to greet us with the appropriate salutation. I have made friends with a number of them that I see day in and day out, also having learned how to greet them in their language.

Last night Drew Carey’s USO tour put on a concert over at the convention center, which is across from the Rasheed Hotel, in a large auditorium. Drew and about 5 other comedians made us laugh for a couple of hours, helping us remember what it is like to laugh out loud again, feeling as if we were back in America hearing Drew do his stand up routine.

There were a few off colored jokes about Iraq, its people and their food, and I hope that this morning’s explosions weren’t in retaliation for that. Not everyone in the world understands our sarcastic humor and the freedom we have to make fun of everything, even if it isn’t true. The sad part is that some of the jokes weren’t too funny even somewhat offensive, at times we caught our selves looking at each other wondering if that probably shouldn’t have been said.

As we left the concert we all commented on how nice it was to laugh, feeling like it had been quite sometime since we have laughed that loud. It was definitely good therapy, a much needed break in the seriousness of our surroundings.

It definitely reminded me of past times laughing uncontrollably with friends and family back home, especially with people at work at our annual sales conferences (which I missed this year).

On my way back from the front gate this morning I swung by the Rasheed hotel to see what really happened this morning with the explosions. I found out that three RPG rounds were fired at the hotel, only one striking its intended target, no one was hurt and there was no visible damage to the hotel. I was so relieved to hear that no one was hurt, which was my first fear.

That is so great.

I had a great day meeting with one of our sources who has his own team of about 20 people, all out doing great things for their country, out taking down bad guys, discovering caches of weapons, finding out about attacks, and so on and so forth.

I will tell you more later.

Good night for now. Totally exhausted Chief Wiggles.


posted by Chief Wiggles 12:07 PM
. . .
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The heat of the afternoon has forced me to find refuge in what they call the "transient tent", where I will be staying for a couple of days. You might think the heat should be subsiding since we are almost into October, but I am afraid it is still too hot for comfort, all too reminiscent of my time spent down south. It is hard to imagine that I lived through the summer with temperatures exceeding 140 at times, without AC. I commented earlier today that I can't believe humans can exist in an environment with such extreme temperatures.

This morning I caught a ride on a Black Hawk going up north to a city called Balad in order to get my tooth fixed. I cracked it a week or so ago chewing on some tasty Iraqi bread, which has left me toothless until I could get up to the only dental lab in country. My appointment is in the morning and according to the prosthedontist I should have a tooth ready by Thursday morning.

I am actually looking forward to the break, even if it is due to the loss of a tooth. I have been on the edge lately, yearning for a couple days of down time to recharge my batteries. I have been on a real emotional roller coaster since Saturday, due to one very uncomfortable meeting.

Saturday came as most other days our schedule jammed full of appointments starting early in the morning extending way into the evening. We can always expect things to get even crazier on Saturdays the day following their Sabbath, but I could not have imagined what was going to transpire.

We had our appointments come as scheduled but also a number of unexpected visitors, completely messing up our schedule and keeping all of us running around in a constant state of anxiousness. Fortunately we have added a couple more people to our ranks, which has helped manage the flow of sources. Even so we got backed up a couple of times, forcing us to take a few people to lunch while we finished with the ones we were already doing.

My last appointment was at 6pm with the gentleman who had fixed such a lovely feast a week or so ago and his boss whose brother is a member of the Governing Council, the actual government of this country. I had met with him once before so I was not completely caught blindsided, but I was not ready emotionally for what was to come next.

I should have known by the way the meeting started that I was in for a ride. He came out with both guns blazing as he first proceeded to tell me that I had a trust issue with him. He had asked me on our previous meeting if I trusted him. Being totally honest I replied by stating that I had just met him that day for the first time, unsure of who I was dealing with, but I trusted him because of the trust I have for my friend. If he trusts you then I trust you. Well he wasn't too pleased with my answer, expecting me to trust him unconditionally because of his family lineage and their 2,000-year-old tribal history.

I told him that it isn't that I don't trust him, but in that I just met him, my trust will grow over time as we work together and have trust building experiences. At some point I will be able to have total trust for him independent of my friend. He still wasn't' convinced by my explanation, still holding fast to his expectation that I should trust him regardless.

In the course of the next 3 hours he continued to portray a very different attitude and sentiment towards us, Americans in general, and others that he has worked with. Already weary from the day's activities, my patience began to wane and my personal defensive measures began to rear up, as he pursued a very direct and personal discussion.

Regardless of his comments I made every effort to maintain my professionalism, but there were a few comments that just set me off. He stated that nothing is being done to fix the problems of Iraq, that the USA is not solving their problems fast enough to his satisfaction. He mentioned that even my friend, who works for him, has been meeting with us for the past two months and nothing noticeable has been done in his mind.

I have a hard time accepting that when so many Americans are here in their country, putting their lives on the line day in and day out, even dieing. I am here with the others from my unit, all away from our families for perhaps over a year, making great sacrifices so that the people of this country may enjoy freedom for the first time in their lives. And this guy has the nerve to say that we are not doing anything. I took a personal offense to his remarks.

At one point he stated that we were to blame for him, along with the other members of the Governing Council, being targeted and even shot at. According to him they were being targeted because of their involvement in assisting the US. This is such an absurd remark given the fact that they represent the new government of Iraq, as such they are a threat to all those who were in the old regime.

He remarked that his brother and him are considering resigning from the council because of their lack of faith that the US is going to be able to resolve the problems and be successful in this endeavor. They are feeling it would be a black blemish on their great family tribe if the US fails. I was totally taken back by his tribe over nation mentality and his lack of patience and determination to stick with it to the end.

He continued to stress that his honor was more important than the people of Iraq, reiterating an experience when he felt his honor had been damaged because an American soldier made him get out of his car during an inspection and used the "F" word on him when he refused.

At this point I was appalled and disgusted with his pompous arrogant attitude, but that wasn't the worst of it. My friend who had remained quiet up till this point made an attempt to come to my rescue as his boss persisted to pursue his attack on me. But his boss would not hear of it, telling my friend in Arabic to shut up and to not say a word. I was so hurt by his attitude towards him; feeling his pain and embarrassment

I was losing it fast, getting verbally upset with him on several occasions to the extent that I had to get up and leave the room, retiring to the bathroom where my emotions just got the better of me. I stayed in there for some time, upon exiting I grabbed my partner who just happened to be passing by, requesting that he take my place until I can compose myself

I returned after a few minutes, attempting to take control of the conversation and finish up the meeting, wanting to get him out of my office. As he was going to the door he said that he deliberately attempts to upset the people he speaks with to make his point and to see what kind of person he is dealing with. Words can't express my emotions upon hearing that, as if we are but toys in his hands to play his silly game with.

The final dagger was when he said that he prohibits my friend from seeing any of us again until his demands are met, as if he is punishing us for working together. Those words really hurt me big time, knowing actually how valuable his information has been.

As they were all leaving my friend slipped me a note saying he will come to my office the next day at 3 pm to discuss what happened today.

When he returned the next day he was so apologetic, stating repeatedly how out of touch his boss is, with no concept of what is really happening, clueless of the real situation. He told me he does not need them, feeling very sure that he does not have what it takes to lead this nation. He told me he was leaving them for good, stating he had his own group of people that are willing to do what ever it takes to make their dreams a reality.

Knowing he was obtaining his livelihood from his boss I told him I wanted to make a donation to his cause by giving him a couple hundred dollars, hoping that he would be willing to take the money under those pretenses. At this point my interpreter started to choke up, with tears running down her face she attempted to interpret our sincere expressions of friendship for each other.

The following day he popped in for a second to drop of two bunches of plastic flowers his daughters had put together in an effort to cheer me up. I was so touched by their kind gesture. Wow what people. This is the same family that made such a marvelous feast for us, with such beautiful children, who heard I wasn't feeling good so they wanted to cheer my up with some flowers.

I am so glad that during our meal together I took over a box of toys for them to choose anything they wanted, it was like Christmas in September. Seeing their faces gave me a warm feeling all over my body, knowing that I was able to add a little bit of happiness to their difficult lives. At that moment I felt like Patch Adams, bringing a little ray of sunshine into what is normally a dark and dreary world.

I am so stunned by the overwhelming response I have had to my simple request for more toys. You are all the greatest people on earth. I am speechless and in awe at your desire to give and share. God Bless you all.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Way to go America



posted by Chief Wiggles 12:05 PM
. . .
Monday, September 22, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible

Okay! We are finally ready for this to start!

First, some ground rules. These toys are for Iraqi children, so let's keep that in mind when shopping.

Some no no toys:

Any guns of any kind
No violent action hereos
No violent toys
No barbie dolls or dolls skantily dressed
No toys that shoot something, no projectiles
No water guns
Lets just keep it simple, simple toys, just the basics, these kids have
nothing.

Some other items that are nice are pencils, pens, paper to draw and color on.

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, brushes, combs, etc.

Nice stuffed animals, other items.

Just use your good judgement, and if you are unsure, contact a local muslim group for help.

Here is the mailing address to send items to:

Chief Wiggles
CPA-C2, Debriefer
APO AE 09335


As the Chief has said, ALL toys will be distributed to the children, unless they are inappropriate.


Please folks, spread this around. Let's get as many toys as possible over there. If the Chief can't do it alone, there are many others serving with him that are more than willing to help.


posted by Plunge 1:51 PM
. . .
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible.


Thursday, September 18, 2003

Good Morning. I woke this morning with thoughts racing through my head, my mind already well into the matters scheduled for the day, my mind being far ahead of my body still trying to recover from the day before. It is not fun being busy before getting out of bed. Taking control of my thoughts I focused on the journal worthy events of the last few days and the continual desire to put down in writing the feelings that fill my heart and soul.

During the course of my daily activities I often take time to glance through the headlines of the so-called news being reported by our own media back in the states. The constant barrage of negative news the media chooses to report on bothers me, depicting quite a different view of what is transpiring over here.

I am forced to ponder the value of a news-media that only reports a distorted view of events based on what they determine will sell papers and magazines or news that supports their own biased political attitudes. What is the value of news that doesn't tell the true story, but only a one-sided biased interpretation predetermined before the news events even occur. Why should the political bias or personal agenda of the news agency be so intertwined with the facts of the event, so as to purposely influence the attitudes of the reader?

I personally do not want my news to be contrived or purposely limited so as to sway my own political views, in order to achieve someone else's own personal agenda. I am disturbed by this attempt by the media to deliberately direct the attitudes of the people of America and the world by preconceiving the interpretation and selection of what they determine to be news worthy.

Where is it stated that news needs to be limited to only those transpiring events that are negative in nature, using sensationalism as the criteria by which events are judged to be news worthy?

Where is the complete story of events, both sides, all aspects of what is really transpiring so as to paint the total panoramic view, allowing the reader at that point to interpret and create their own meaning of the reported events?

With that in mind, are not the positive aspects of what is transpiring just as critical and vital as the negative? Are we going to allow others to determine what we think about, as if we are sheep to be herded by the media?

I recall as a boy on a scout camping trip coming upon a herd of sheep. Thinking it would be fun, we started pushing them in one direction and then another, just by running around screaming from side to side. At one point, without knowing it, we spooked them directly into a wooded fence. One sheep after another attempted to run through the fence, hitting their head on the wooden slats, until the entire herd had banged their head into the fence.

At times reading the news I feel like one of those sheep, being forced or influenced to see the path ahead the way the media might desire me to. I for one refuse to take part in this media frenzy, based on nothing but negative perceptions, at times contrived facts, purposely selected to sway or influence my mind or view of our path. I do not need a steady diet of sensationalism, now gorged by the media's constant flow of such. Enough already.

We as the ultimate consumers of media can determine the nature of what is dished out to us, by choosing not to partake. Our choices do make a difference and can influence what is supplied to us. We do have a voice and I for one demand more accurate and unbiased coverage of what is really going on over here and else where in the world.

I will take the time and effort to find a more accurate unbiased coverage of my news, regardless of the cost.

Today, as usual, my day started with a flood of calls informing me of the arrival of one source after another at the front gate, right up until dinnertime, now 6pm. I didn't have time to eat breakfast or lunch, getting one of my interpreters to bring me a plate of food so I could eat during my debriefings.

But during the course of the day I was forced to pause for a moment, even making my sources wait, while I attended to an issue more important than anything else. While out at the front gate I noticed a young girl crying behind the barbed wire that separates us from the throngs of people waiting for their chance to speak with someone. Her mother, only having one leg, had hobbled in on her crutches a few moments earlier. The young girl separated from the only person she was familiar with, began crying, now hiding behind the rest of the crowd, I searched through the mass to see where the crying noise was coming from.

She was obviously very poor, in her tattered old dress, totally worn out plastic flip-flops, her hair matted against her head indicating she hadn't had a bath in a long time and her skin blistered from the dirt and weather.

Once I saw her I quickly told the MP's to move the barbed wire back to let her in to join her mother. Her crying stopped as she darted in to grab a hold of her mother's long black dishdasha, torn and frayed from years of use. As she stood by her mother's side, grasping her dress, I moved over slowly to brush her stringy hair away from her eyes and to pat her gently on the head, as I told the guard to make sure they don't leave before I could return.

I quickly loaded up the sources in my car and returned them to my office in the palace. I told them to wait for a moment, while I rummaged through my FedEx box full of toys sent my by my teammates back home. I grabbed a comb, a brush, a pair of new flip-flops, a whistle, a stuffed monkey whose arms hang around your neck, and a new toothbrush and tooth paste and dashed out the door, telling my interpreter to come along.

As I made my way back over to the front gate, I saw the little girl and her mother waiting patiently anticipating my return, not knowing why I had asked them to wait. Bending down I handed her the items one by one, as I explained what each item was, to insure she knew what I was giving her, especially as I gave her the toothbrush, asking her to be sure to brush everyday.

Her eyes lit up with such joy as I put the monkey arms over her head. She was so excited to receive everything, being somewhat shy though, not having dealt with an American before. She was so precious as her big brown eyes looked up at me, causing me to almost breakdown into tears as I walked away quickly so as to not bring too much attention to the little girl from the on looking crowd.

What a moment! In my own little way, I am influencing and affecting the attitudes of Iraqis one person at a time, taking baby steps, one experience at a time. My sphere of influence is small in comparison to the task at hand, but who knows what the ripple affect will be of my small effort to calm the tears of one sweet little girl. Thanks to my team mates back home who made this moment possible by sending me the toys to hand out to Iraqi children. I have only one request of them and others please send me more toys.

You might recall the source who's family prepared a huge feast for us a week or so ago. I met with him again last Sunday saddened to find out that a few guys had attempted to kill him on his way to our office. He has a contract out on him due to his efforts to take down bad guys in his area. It really bothered me to know of the risk he was incurring and the danger of his travels. I offered to give him more firepower if we could just get a weapons permit for him, to put the odds more in his favor.

As we finished up our meeting, dusk now being upon us, I was very concerned about his welfare, having met his wonderful family, with their beautiful children. I warned him to be careful even coaxing him to stay the night in Baghdad so as to not make the treacherous journey that night. I truly have grown to love some of these people, feeling so close and wishing nothing but the best for all of them.

I was so relieved a few days later to find out that he had made it home safely that night and has subsequently had those same would be killers arrested.

A few days ago we got a call from the MP's at the front gate informing us that a young man of around 30 years old was saying he was a former Fedayeen officer surrendering to the coalition forces. As expected, we jumped into action as we heard the words Fedayeen and surrender in the same sentence, by sending out a team with handcuffs and a hood to detain the individual.

They brought him back to our palace to question him further. He was scared to death, breaking down into tears on several occasions during the process. We discovered that his mother had sent him in to speak with us, hoping to get a job and his back pay as a Fedayeen soldier. He had brought with him a resume typed into English no less.

I felt so bad for the guy who came with high hopes coaxed along by his mother thinking we were giving out jobs to ex-Fedayeen soldiers. You just don't want to come to the front gate of a compound saying Fedayeen and surrender.

I made sure he wasn't detained and gave him $20.00 for his troubles.

We debriefed 14 sources today; fortunately we have added some additional guys to our team, adding two more guys, making a team of four debriefers. We are also expecting to receive another 5 guys sometime next week, as a result of our constant requests to our general for additional resources. We hope to add another 4 linguists to that, so we should have around 17 people working on this mission, which is just so exciting. We are really going to kick some butt in getting after this assignment.

With the additional resources we are going to be able to manage this and function in more of the capacity we would like, being the master of our schedule, proactively going after the low hanging fruit here.

One of our sources who works as a linguists here at the palace came in the other day all upset about a rumor spreading through our work area. Someone had started a rumor that he was the pimp for a couple of sisters working in one of the ministries here.

The rumor was totally unfounded and untrue but it was sad and funny at the same time as I witnessed his emotional reaction. He was so angry and so determined to find out who was spreading such a vicious rumor, causing him such shame and embarrassment. If you knew him you would agree and it was one of those things where you had to be there to enjoy it.

As the days pass by, I am further compelled to find inner purpose and meaning in all aspects of my life here. I have become even more sensitive to the value of my time spent doing a variety duties and responsibilities, as I engage Iraq and it's people in a variety of capacities. I realize that purpose can be found in doing even the most menial tasks, if my purpose and motivation is to make it such. I realize that I touch people's lives every where I go, with everyone I meet, every little child I pass, every soldier I see, every man, women and child can be affected, influenced and reached.

I also realize that I am the source and the cause for making life purposeful and meaningful. I determine, through my own inner abilities, whether something is meaningful or not.

I am not waiting for someone to hand me a valuable existence, with meaningful missions and duties, according to my desires. I am not dependent upon others to provide me a fruitful experience as I travel down life's dusty road, for I am confident in my own abilities to make the journey one of value and worth.

I continue to hear of soldiers whining and complaining about not being used to perform duties commensurate with their rank and training, not having a purposeful mission or job to perform giving them meaning to why they must stay here. Is it someone else's responsibility to give me a positive experience, a fruitful journey, a life full of purpose and meaning? Am I doomed to languish away until someone hands me such a job or mission, only hoping that I will be utilized to perform a task filling the measure of my being?

Or is there another way to look at life, to look at our purpose for being over here? I am here to say, "Yes there is!" We alone determine the value of our experience through each and every step of life's journey. We, through our inner purpose and motivation, determine the extent to which our life will be full of meaning, influencing the lives of those we pass along the way.

We all must re-evaluate how and where we find purpose and meaning in our life. There is always value to be found in whatever we are doing. There are always plans to be made, goals to set, projects to complete, ways to improve ourselves, things to learn, value to add, people to touch, ideas to make things better, and ways to change the value of our journey. It is up to the individual to create it.

I hope the soldiers here and those serving anywhere in the world realize that service of any kind is of value and can be full of meaning and purpose if they will be look to find the opportunities that are before them.

Take Care


posted by Chief Wiggles 3:12 PM
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Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

As we travel down life's bumpy road, thank goodness for times when the pounding ceases, the road seems to smooth out for even a split second, and we know that it is all worth it. It is those moments of great joy that gives us the hope to go on, as we anticipate the next smooth section of the journey.

Amidst all the pain and suffering of life we are fortunate enough to be able to experience a few seconds of inner joy and happiness along the way, a moment of peace and tranquility on our journey, such as the laugh of a baby, the sound of children playing, the inner feeling of a sincere compliment, or words of appreciation.

I had one of those moments today when I heard news that filled my soul with the buzz of such happiness. You might recall the down and dejected Iraqi Freedom Fighter, who I had helped get a job. Well on the day he was supposed to show up to begin his training, he obviously got confused and went to the wrong gate to meet his contact.

When I had heard he didn't show I was so disappointed, knowing how depressed he was going to be as a result. I felt his pain as I empathetically listened to the story. He was seen at the other gate by one of our Lieutenants on his appointment day, but that was the last word I heard about it.

I was hoping he would show up at the front gate one day to inquire about my whereabouts, but after all this time had passed I had given up hope, until today.

I happened to run into the officer in charge of the program and promptly asked him if he had ever seen the freedom fighter. To my surprise and complete joy, I was told that he had returned, that he has been in the program, and is about ready to go out on his first run with his team.

I can't tell you how buzzed I was to hear such great news. It makes everything worth it when things work out for the better, the way they are supposed to. In many cases we never hear the final results, only hoping things were completed as planned.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour around Baghdad with a couple of Colonels wanting to scope out certain areas of the city. I never miss a chance to take a break from the grueling schedule of interviewing sources, to tool around the city in a couple of SUV's checking things out.

This time we were in inconspicuous white Land Cruisers, as opposed to our military HMMV's, our normal means of transportation. Of course we have our weapons and even our larger crew served weapons, just in case we run into a bad situation. As you can imagine there is a certain unpredictability about driving around Baghdad.

With the summer heat now subsiding, a cool breeze blowing outside and our AC on in the car, it was the perfect day for a tour of the city. Even in the heat of the afternoon, it was totally comfortable in our SUV.

We traveled through neighborhoods of homes and children playing, crowded business districts, open swamp meet like markets, by Mosques and other religious buildings, and various other types of surroundings that you can imagine. We drove in and out of traffic jams and crowds of people, around demonstrations and other gatherings. We drove by areas where you can find just about anything you want, especially items stolen from the previous regime.

We stopped at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier built to remember the soldiers lost during the Iran/Iraq war, where over a million people were killed. We walked around its top stairs and down inside its belly to see all the casket like containers, which at one time had the remains of soldiers, now emptied by looters that came through right after the war.

We also went over to what was Kusai's Palace where he kept his lions. On the grounds of the palace there is a cage, back where the large Jacuzzi is, where there is a lion, two lionesses, and their 6 cubs. Knowing that the adult lions had been fed humans in the past, we decided not to get too close to them, opting to play with the cubs instead, who licked our fingers through the chain link fence.

The lions all looked well fed, so I wasn't too concerned, and healthy, as if even now they are being cared for. They are beautiful creatures, powerful with a certain majestic nature. This is one place I will be sure to return just to watch the lion cubs play with each other.

We even stopped to take a few pictures at the national parade field with the huge hands holding crossed swords molded after Saddam's own hands, with sword blades made from melted weapons left after the Iranian war. I will try to down load the pictures to my web site in the next day or so.

It was a great afternoon seeing the diversity of life, the disparity of how people live and work, and Baghdad in all its glory and all its poverty.


posted by Chief Wiggles 2:54 PM
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Friday, September 12, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to
http://chiefwiggles.blog-city.com. However, some people are not able to access that site. While we work out that problem, we will continue to provide his latest journal entries here. Please view his blog on his new site if possible.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

It is a brand new day, a bright new morning, as the bright rays of the morning sunshine stream through my trailer window I feel there is hope for a new beginning for Iraq. I wake with a renewed optimism for what might be the future for these people. I go to my knees to offer up the gratitude of my heart for all that is transpiring around me as I personally witness the remaking of a nation, knowing we are not alone here. Humbly I ask for help in being able to do my small part in pushing this work forward, hoping I will be blessed with a glimpse of what the big – long term picture is for Iraq and the Middle East.

As usual, I was woken early by the sound of the date palm branches outside my trailer, scraping across the top of the trailer, dropping golden date nuggets on the roof, sounding as if we were being pelted by shrapnel from a near by explosion.

As I wait for my turn to use the shower in our 4-man trailer I am moved to write the memorable incidences of the night before. I can honestly say it was a night I will never forget, definitely on my top-ten-list of most special moments. Let me tell you why.

One of our sources we are working with brought his family of six up from their home in a small city called Hella south of Baghdad, for the sole purpose of having dinner with us, the two strategic debriefers. He and his family wanted to show their gratitude for all that we were doing to help him and to show their appreciation to the American soldiers who released them from the chains of their ruthless dictator.

Actually they originally came up last Sunday, but due to the demonstration outside our main gate they were forced to return without hooking up with us. Fortunately his mother-in-law lives in Baghdad providing them with a place to stay until we could get together, our rigorous schedule forcing us to push back the dinner until Wednesday.

At 6 pm, our appointed time, we made our way across the 14th of July bridge to meet them on the other side, outside of our green zone, waiting in front of the check point there. They were all, now 10 people, crammed into the cab of a small Nissan two-seater pickup, except for the oldest son who was sitting in the back with the food.

We motioned for them to follow us as we gained approval from the guards for them to enter. We took them over to the Rasheed hotel, my disco-dancing location, where we had arranged with the hotel management to have our dinner out by the pool. The Rasheed was Saddam's hotel, being the closest one to his government buildings, having been built by a Swiss company, I believe, to cater to Saddam's visitors.

The pool is large, surrounded by an immense open area, with plenty of white metal pool furniture for us to have our dinner on. The pool is a long straight rectangle, 3 feet deep at one end and 15 feet deep at the end where the diving platform is. There is a long bar serving a variety of cocktails, sodas and snacks. It was the perfect place for our gathering.

The seasonal heat wave having passed, now into September, the evenings are perfect with a slight gentle breeze providing us with a very comfortable environment for a dinner together. Date-palm trees, now swaying in the evening air, and many large shrubs hiding us from any outsiders, surround the pool area.

Our source's family was beautiful; him and his wife, their four children (two boys and two girls, ages 16, 14, 12, and 9), his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law and his wife's brother's wife with her 3 year old daughter. What a great looking bunch, beautiful kids, intelligent, well groomed, all nicely dressed, just outstanding people. All of them spoke enough English to introduce themselves and even understand some of what we were saying, which always helps, we brought all three of our interpreters just in case.

His wife had prepared the most wonderful feast for us to partake of; really out doing herself preparing so many traditional Iraqi dishes. My mouth began to water as the cover was taken off of each dish, displaying the culinary talents of the wife and mother-in-law, who obviously had spent hours preparing everything to the last detail. Some of the finest food I have ever tasted was laid out before us to the delight of everyone there, as we enjoyed each and every bite.

We enjoyed plate after plate as our source made his way around the table to insure that everyone was getting enough. He would continue to fill our plates with course after course in hopes that none of us would go away hungry. I ate way beyond my own limits, not being able to stop indulging in the tasty meal.

We continued to ask questions about his family, hoping to get to know them a little better. His oldest daughter spoke of going to college with hopes of even going to America to study. His son was just a typical young male teenager, thinking of sports and fun. His second daughter kept quiet but smiled at me and the others, appearing to be so curious about Americans and so happy to be eating dinner with us. The youngest boy sat on my lap anxious for us to take some pictures together.

We chatted through the meal enjoying each other's company, laughing and smiling at each other. The sound of the children laughing permeated the surroundings bringing joy to all those listening. I had almost forgotten what children sounded like, now yearning for my own granddaughter's smile and warm giggle of love.

At the end of a wonderful evening, as we walked them back to their car we commented on how nice this had been for our own emotional psyche, seeing a whole family interacting on a normal basis. This experience caused me to recommit my efforts on behalf of all the good solid family people in Iraq who were just hoping for a brighter future now in the absence of Saddam Hussein.

I knew at that moment for a certainty why I was here and what I was working for. My faith rejuvenated and my conviction firmed up, I am now more committed to our cause. There are many families just like this one, so much like any other family anywhere in the world, for we are all brothers and sisters in the same divine family, created in the image of our maker.

A few days earlier with the same source I found myself in a discussion regarding a number of attacks on US forces. We were speaking about how well the criminals and terrorists were organized, with resources of weapons and money.

I asked him how many people would he be able to bring together to fight for this just cause. I spoke with him of coming up with a plan for action to give the good people of Iraq a mission they could unite under, bringing together the numbers to fight against the evils infesting their land.

Being part of this struggle caused me to reflect on the movie “Lord of the Ring” , seeing this as the typical war of good and evil, not sure at this point who is winning, but assured that it was going to take a coordinated consolidated effort to be victorious.

At that moment the solution flashed through my head, as I knew we could not do this on our own. We can not be victorious with out the divine assistance of our Savior Jesus Christ, who‘s powers need to be invoked to fight against the evils of this land. I have always felt this was going to be an essential part of the solution but it was further manifested to me at that moment, that the only power capable of bringing the right future to this and other good families was going to be Jesus Christ.

Pray for his help.

To update you on the generals, we are seeing some movement, things are starting to happen but we still have a few hurdles to get over. At least there is some noise and people appear to be doing something. We have everyone talking about it, hopefully that will bring about our desired result. I just don't get it. This is such a no brainer. Why can't someone just give the word to get these guys released and back to their homes? Come on!

Well the sun is now retreating beyond my view, leaving only its glow as it gradually dims bringing the darkness of another night.

I just want to wish my son Matthew a very Happy 16th Birthday last Sunday and also to Dana my daughter Happy 26th Birthday, the best to both of them.

A moment of silence for all those who lost their lives on this day, 9-11. We are all indebted to them for their loss and the loss to all their loved ones. God Bless America as we fight for the freedom of all mankind.

Good Day


posted by Chief Wiggles 7:31 AM
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