Chief Wiggles -- Straight from Iraq
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The online journal of Chief Wiggles.

Tuesday, August 26, 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, August 24, 2003

The morning came way too quickly today, the sun's rays streaming through my trailer window brightening my room to the point that I could no longer ignore its call to wake up. Today is Sunday and we decided to take the morning off, or what will be a couple of hours to rest from the previous day's barrage of sources, people, and follow-up activities keeping us way into the night. Saturday was one of the craziest days I have had here at the palace, which started out with only one appointment but ended up with 9 strategic debriefings. We just never know what to expect from one minute to the next.

I actually like the unpredictability of it, forever keeping me on my toes in anticipation of what might happen next. Any pauses in the daily routine are but calms before the storm, which bring a constant downpour of unexpected visitors. We are afraid to take any time off especially after Friday their Sabbath, as if while praying many individuals resolve to do more to help the coalition forces, thus compelling them to see us on Saturday.

Yesterday was by far the busiest day I have experienced. At one point I called out, jokingly, for those outside the office to take a number and we would get to them later. Fortunately one of the sources brought in a special treat of local cuisine, otherwise we might not have had a chance to get a bite of lunch.

Speaking of lunch, as he had promised one of the sources was kind enough to bring in some baked chicken, hummus, some of their flat bread (I hesitate to call it pita bread knowing that isn't what they call it over here, but it is similar enough that calling it pita bread helps you relate to what it looks like), olives, pickled cucumbers, etc. It was great! I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of it, appreciating his kind gesture and the change from our normal lunch of hamburgers, corn dogs or tuna fish sandwiches.

I relish any chance to indulge in the local delicacies, never passing up a chance to partake. As I have mentioned before change is the spice of life. No matter where I am I have always enjoyed tasting the food of the local inhabitants, especially Middle Eastern food, with all the vegetable dishes like hummus, tabouli, and babaganush, along with the broiled lamb, chicken or beef.

Our source brought us plenty of food, enabling us to share with anyone else who had the good fortune of dropping in on our office picnic, spread out on one of our tables, normally used for maps and other more important matters. It was a pleasant surprise for the un-expecting visitors. We ate up all the food while talking shop with our gang.

Chief Authentico and I, having similar personalities, play tag-team humor with our interpreters and sources, adding a little levity to our experience here. Being able to joke around and make fun of things helps us get through this extended time away from our families. Humor is a great anesthetic, numbing us from the stark reality of where we are and what we are doing. It is nice that we can feed off of each other for humorous sustenance, satisfying our need to make light of a difficult situation.

We just don't want to take this too seriously, realizing that life for so many here is too painful to discuss, most of them just barely able to go on day after day. The truth of their bleak existence would be depressing to many. I am astonished that they can go on for so long without any income; many of them have yet to return to any kind of paying work.

(My trailer was just shaken by some type of an explosion obviously not far beyond the safety of the green zone I live in. I am halfway expecting to be notified that another serious bombing has occurred.)

If someone was to ask me what is sustaining these people in such a harsh environment, I would have to say it is hope, hope of a new beginning with hope for a different future.

Recently while talking to one of our young Iraqi interpreters, he conveyed to me an incident he recently had with his family, who were asking about the Americans he was working with. He said the one thing that has stood out about Americans is that they seem to have a lot of hope for things to come. We believe in having hope and we are attempting to give hope to those we come in contact with. Americans have hope, he said.

In the course of my interviews with numerous sources I am surprised by how so many of them, in their 30's and 40's, feel their life to be on the down hill slide or basically over. It is astonishing to me how a young man in his early 30's could think for a moment that his life is what it is, with out much hope for anything different.

People do lose hope, putting aside the possibility for any divine intervention into how the rest of their life will play out, with purpose and meaning.

I have been asked numerous times over the course of the last 7 months, how I have always been able to maintain a high level of hope, finding purpose and meaning in all that I have been doing. That question has caused me to think of how is it that some of us are able to maintain hope when all seems lost, while others lose hope for anything different. How is it that some are able to find purpose and meaning in whatever they are doing, while others hopelessly spend time thinking of better days gone by.

Where does hope come from? Why is it that a person even in their youthful years of their 20's or 30's could have arrived at a point where they feel all hope is lost? How is it that even in our group of soldiers, coming from so much abundance, could ever get to the point that all hope seems lost, many losing some degree of hope that we will be going home soon. How do we obtain and sustain hope and how do we give it to others.

I have come to the conclusion that hope is a divine gift that grows within us as our belief in a loving caring Father in Heaven grows. A Father who is our partner in life, with full intent to lead us and guide us in this our life's journey. Hope grows from within us as we find purpose and meaning in all that we do, due to a belief that we are part of an eternal plan of progression.

Within each of us is a driving force. If we will but tap into it, it will allow us to believe in our mission and our purpose for being. This force will allow us to have job optimism, believing there is purpose in all things, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

I am not talking about blind hope or naive optimism. I am talking about a hope based on a belief system of planned events, a guided existence, which allows us to let hope grow within us to the point that it spills over into all that we do. This is not a passive hope; it is active, touching all aspects of our life, because we believe in a Father who cares enough to be there with us.

This type of hope becomes a driving force compelling us to drive on in all situations, no matter what the circumstances, not stopping at life's roadblocks or barriers. We press forward, we drive through, and we engage life with a vengeance and passion for living. And more importantly we look diligently for purpose and meaning in our life's activities.

This hope becomes contagious and is infectious. People that are around it feel it and are affected by its radiating energy, compelling them to begin a quest for their own personal hope. People feel our hope expressed in word and deed and they see it in our eyes, bringing a brighter future for all that will but catch its power. It swells within us and grows beyond our being, spilling over into all that we touch. For it is God's gift to all of us that will but look for it.

(Another explosion just rocked my trailer.)

In this type of a world there is no room for unbelieving cynics who choose to spend time perpetuating their own disbelief in a purposeful existence, choosing rather to criticize, find fault, being negative or questioning the very reasons for why things turn out the way they do. I choose not to give life to those negative attitudes of a hopeless existence.

I am sold on a hope-filled, meaningful journey with a divine partner, who loves me.

We as Americans bring hope to this land and its people. We don't have all the answers and we will make mistakes in our efforts to reconstruct a nation of people, lost in an imposed, inflicted hopelessness. Let the critics say what they will, for me I choose to give the light of hope to all I come in contact with. I see the difference it makes on a daily basis. I am a witness to the power of a contagious hope, which touches lives and creates the future.

We as Americans believe in hope and we bring it free of charge to all that will see it in our eyes and feel it in the sincerity of our words. As one British interrogator said earlier, you Americans really do care don't you? Your damn right we do!

You might recall the generals I worked with for 3 months down at the POW camp. Well, some very exciting things are happening that I thought I should bring you up to speed on. So many great things are beginning to take shape regarding the generals.

Since arriving here at the palace in Baghdad I have been fortunate to be dropped into a position working for one of the very generals who is responsible for approving the release of our high-ranking prisoners. What a stroke of luck you might say, but we know who is in charge of this.

So upon arriving here I began doing the paperwork to request for their release, sending up through the channels the paperwork for each general. I heard a couple of days ago that my boss, the general, was having a meeting last Friday to determine who was going to be released and who wasn't. What came out of the meeting was a list of 12 of the 17 generals who they were recommending to be released as soon as possible.

I know there is one more level of authority that has to sign off on this, but I was so excited to hear that they were recommending their release, finally. Okay, so that happened just two days ago, which has given me great hope for what might happen really soon.

The other thing that is just so fantastic is that while talking with a Lieutenant Colonel over lunch the other day, I found out he is responsible for rebuilding the Iraqi military and that he works with the officer who is responsible for rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force.

Hearing that, I immediately started to tell him about the generals I worked with at the POW camp and what a great asset they could be in helping us to achieve our rebuilding goals. I described their experience, background, willingness to help, and the amount of trust I have for each one of them. I was doing a sales job on him, almost wishing I had each of their resumes to give him.

Well I guess he felt the spirit of my words and agreed to talk with me further about the generals. So yesterday he decided to drop by with the officer in charge of rebuilding the air force, while we were eating our office picnic. He pulled up a chair and proceeded to eat and chat about what might be the potential and the value of using the generals as consultants to assist in the rebuilding process.

The officer rebuilding the air force, who was from Australia, was very eager to talk about my good friend, the Iraqi Air Force general, who I have grown so close to. I was very enthusiastic as I sincerely expressed to him how I felt about this general and as I elaborated on all of his experience and desires to be involved in this very process.

You might recall that as I was leaving the POW camp I took the time to ask the generals what they would like to do the most when they are released. The Iraqi Air Force general told me that his greatest desire is to help rebuild the Iraqi Air Force.

Okay, so here I am with the main man rebuilding the air force and I can hardly contain myself in my exuberance to relay my feelings. I could see he was getting the message through the spirit confirming the truthfulness of my words.

After lunch he left for a while only to return with the approval to move quickly to get the general released and up to Baghdad to help in rebuilding the Iraqi air force. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. That was just so totally unbelievable. I felt the spirit witness to me that it was the right thing and I was almost moved to tears as he enthusiastically informed me that he was going to make this happen.

Is there any doubt that God loves us and is part of this?

What great news and what a wonderful course of events!

Yesterday while I paused for a moment to reflect on the events of the day, looking out my office window at all the greenery around the palace, the palm trees and shrubs, I realized the reality of what lies just beyond the tree line outside of the green zone. There was a false sense of peace and tranquility with the grounds of the palace, for just on the outskirts is a jungle of people, cars and danger.

Everyday as I interview source after source I am reminded of what life here is really like, outside the marble, handcrafted wood walls of the palace, beyond the plush green trees and high steel fences and stone walls.

All day long we entertain sources bringing forth the worst possible news of the trouble running in the streets of this country. We hear story after story of weapons dealers in their neighborhoods, counterfeiting operations around the corner, stockpiles of weapons in people's bedrooms, anti-coalition meetings going on, people trying to build up armies against us, attacks on our soldiers, criminal acts going on just down the street, illegal smuggling from neighboring countries, extortion rings, people wanting permits to arm themselves, stolen property being sold, aircraft being hidden, looters, rapists, and on and on.

That is what I listen to all day long. One guy came in under the guise of having a friend who heard on the radio we were giving rewards for weapons being turned in. He was actually an arms dealer trying to find out if he could sell the weapons to us, discouraged to find out we were not in the arms business and not willing to work with arms dealers. He went on and on all about how we were making so many mistakes in dealing with the problems at hand. He was saying the U.S. was not doing this right and not doing that right, saying we weren't taking care of all their problems.

Well, I had heard enough, upset by his lack of personal responsibility for some of the problems we are facing here. He is an arms dealer selling arms to people trying to kill us, finding fault with the way we are handling the problems. So I let him have it, asking him why he wasn't doing something to eradicate Iraq of some of the ills permeating their society. Why didn't he and others do their part, why don't they go do something, as patriotic Iraqi citizens to rid the country of some of these problems?

I told him we aren't here to be out front leading the way while the citizens sit in their homes waiting for new jobs or money to drop in their laps, but assisting from behind the lead of the Iraqi people. This is their country and their responsibility to deal with the problems at hand, with our assistance.

He actually took it well, acknowledging his role in contributing to the problem and how he should do something positive to perpetuate goodness and hope.

I was content with his answer, as he asked me if I could help him get his job back where he used to work, wondering if I would write a letter to his ex-boss.

Well that is the latest and greatest from my bed here in the middle of the Iraqi jungle. Good Day (say it as Paul Harvey used to, okay).


posted by Chief Wiggles 2:18 PM
. . .
Sunday, August 24, 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, August 24, 2003

The morning came way too quickly today, the sun's rays streaming through my trailer window brightening my room to the point that I could no longer ignore its call to wake up. Today is Sunday and we decided to take the morning off, or what will be a couple of hours to rest from the previous day's barrage of sources, people, and follow-up activities keeping us way into the night. Saturday was one of the craziest days I have had here at the palace, which started out with only one appointment but ended up with 9 strategic debriefings. We just never know what to expect from one minute to the next.

I actually like the unpredictability of it, forever keeping me on my toes in anticipation of what might happen next. Any pauses in the daily routine are but calms before the storm, which bring a constant downpour of unexpected visitors. We are afraid to take any time off especially after Friday their Sabbath, as if while praying many individuals resolve to do more to help the coalition forces, thus compelling them to see us on Saturday.

Yesterday was by far the busiest day I have experienced. At one point I called out, jokingly, for those outside the office to take a number and we would get to them later. Fortunately one of the sources brought in a special treat of local cuisine, otherwise we might not have had a chance to get a bite of lunch.

Speaking of lunch, as he had promised one of the sources was kind enough to bring in some baked chicken, hummus, some of their flat bread (I hesitate to call it pita bread knowing that isn't what they call it over here, but it is similar enough that calling it pita bread helps you relate to what it looks like), olives, pickled cucumbers, etc. It was great! I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of it, appreciating his kind gesture and the change from our normal lunch of hamburgers, corn dogs or tuna fish sandwiches.

I relish any chance to indulge in the local delicacies, never passing up a chance to partake. As I have mentioned before change is the spice of life. No matter where I am I have always enjoyed tasting the food of the local inhabitants, especially Middle Eastern food, with all the vegetable dishes like hummus, tabouli, and babaganush, along with the broiled lamb, chicken or beef.

Our source brought us plenty of food, enabling us to share with anyone else who had the good fortune of dropping in on our office picnic, spread out on one of our tables, normally used for maps and other more important matters. It was a pleasant surprise for the un-expecting visitors. We ate up all the food while talking shop with our gang.

Chief Authentico and I, having similar personalities, play tag-team humor with our interpreters and sources, adding a little levity to our experience here. Being able to joke around and make fun of things helps us get through this extended time away from our families. Humor is a great anesthetic, numbing us from the stark reality of where we are and what we are doing. It is nice that we can feed off of each other for humorous sustenance, satisfying our need to make light of a difficult situation.

We just don't want to take this too seriously, realizing that life for so many here is too painful to discuss, most of them just barely able to go on day after day. The truth of their bleak existence would be depressing to many. I am astonished that they can go on for so long without any income; many of them have yet to return to any kind of paying work.

(My trailer was just shaken by some type of an explosion obviously not far beyond the safety of the green zone I live in. I am halfway expecting to be notified that another serious bombing has occurred.)

If someone was to ask me what is sustaining these people in such a harsh environment, I would have to say it is hope, hope of a new beginning with hope for a different future.

Recently while talking to one of our young Iraqi interpreters, he conveyed to me an incident he recently had with his family, who were asking about the Americans he was working with. He said the one thing that has stood out about Americans is that they seem to have a lot of hope for things to come. We believe in having hope and we are attempting to give hope to those we come in contact with. Americans have hope, he said.

In the course of my interviews with numerous sources I am surprised by how so many of them, in their 30's and 40's, feel their life to be on the down hill slide or basically over. It is astonishing to me how a young man in his early 30's could think for a moment that his life is what it is, with out much hope for anything different.

People do lose hope, putting aside the possibility for any divine intervention into how the rest of their life will play out, with purpose and meaning.

I have been asked numerous times over the course of the last 7 months, how I have always been able to maintain a high level of hope, finding purpose and meaning in all that I have been doing. That question has caused me to think of how is it that some of us are able to maintain hope when all seems lost, while others lose hope for anything different. How is it that some are able to find purpose and meaning in whatever they are doing, while others hopelessly spend time thinking of better days gone by.

Where does hope come from? Why is it that a person even in their youthful years of their 20's or 30's could have arrived at a point where they feel all hope is lost? How is it that even in our group of soldiers, coming from so much abundance, could ever get to the point that all hope seems lost, many losing some degree of hope that we will be going home soon. How do we obtain and sustain hope and how do we give it to others.

I have come to the conclusion that hope is a divine gift that grows within us as our belief in a loving caring Father in Heaven grows. A Father who is our partner in life, with full intent to lead us and guide us in this our life's journey. Hope grows from within us as we find purpose and meaning in all that we do, due to a belief that we are part of an eternal plan of progression.

Within each of us is a driving force. If we will but tap into it, it will allow us to believe in our mission and our purpose for being. This force will allow us to have job optimism, believing there is purpose in all things, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

I am not talking about blind hope or naive optimism. I am talking about a hope based on a belief system of planned events, a guided existence, which allows us to let hope grow within us to the point that it spills over into all that we do. This is not a passive hope; it is active, touching all aspects of our life, because we believe in a Father who cares enough to be there with us.

This type of hope becomes a driving force compelling us to drive on in all situations, no matter what the circumstances, not stopping at life's roadblocks or barriers. We press forward, we drive through, and we engage life with a vengeance and passion for living. And more importantly we look diligently for purpose and meaning in our life's activities.

This hope becomes contagious and is infectious. People that are around it feel it and are affected by its radiating energy, compelling them to begin a quest for their own personal hope. People feel our hope expressed in word and deed and they see it in our eyes, bringing a brighter future for all that will but catch its power. It swells within us and grows beyond our being, spilling over into all that we touch. For it is God's gift to all of us that will but look for it.

(Another explosion just rocked my trailer.)

In this type of a world there is no room for unbelieving cynics who choose to spend time perpetuating their own disbelief in a purposeful existence, choosing rather to criticize, find fault, being negative or questioning the very reasons for why things turn out the way they do. I choose not to give life to those negative attitudes of a hopeless existence.

I am sold on a hope-filled, meaningful journey with a divine partner, who loves me.

We as Americans bring hope to this land and its people. We don't have all the answers and we will make mistakes in our efforts to reconstruct a nation of people, lost in an imposed, inflicted hopelessness. Let the critics say what they will, for me I choose to give the light of hope to all I come in contact with. I see the difference it makes on a daily basis. I am a witness to the power of a contagious hope, which touches lives and creates the future.

We as Americans believe in hope and we bring it free of charge to all that will see it in our eyes and feel it in the sincerity of our words. As one British interrogator said earlier, you Americans really do care don't you? Your damn right we do!

You might recall the generals I worked with for 3 months down at the POW camp. Well, some very exciting things are happening that I thought I should bring you up to speed on. So many great things are beginning to take shape regarding the generals.

Since arriving here at the palace in Baghdad I have been fortunate to be dropped into a position working for one of the very generals who is responsible for approving the release of our high-ranking prisoners. What a stroke of luck you might say, but we know who is in charge of this.

So upon arriving here I began doing the paperwork to request for their release, sending up through the channels the paperwork for each general. I heard a couple of days ago that my boss, the general, was having a meeting last Friday to determine who was going to be released and who wasn't. What came out of the meeting was a list of 12 of the 17 generals who they were recommending to be released as soon as possible.

I know there is one more level of authority that has to sign off on this, but I was so excited to hear that they were recommending their release, finally. Okay, so that happened just two days ago, which has given me great hope for what might happen really soon.

The other thing that is just so fantastic is that while talking with a Lieutenant Colonel over lunch the other day, I found out he is responsible for rebuilding the Iraqi military and that he works with the officer who is responsible for rebuilding the Iraqi Air Force.

Hearing that, I immediately started to tell him about the generals I worked with at the POW camp and what a great asset they could be in helping us to achieve our rebuilding goals. I described their experience, background, willingness to help, and the amount of trust I have for each one of them. I was doing a sales job on him, almost wishing I had each of their resumes to give him.

Well I guess he felt the spirit of my words and agreed to talk with me further about the generals. So yesterday he decided to drop by with the officer in charge of rebuilding the air force, while we were eating our office picnic. He pulled up a chair and proceeded to eat and chat about what might be the potential and the value of using the generals as consultants to assist in the rebuilding process.

The officer rebuilding the air force, who was from Australia, was very eager to talk about my good friend, the Iraqi Air Force general, who I have grown so close to. I was very enthusiastic as I sincerely expressed to him how I felt about this general and as I elaborated on all of his experience and desires to be involved in this very process.

You might recall that as I was leaving the POW camp I took the time to ask the generals what they would like to do the most when they are released. The Iraqi Air Force general told me that his greatest desire is to help rebuild the Iraqi Air Force.

Okay, so here I am with the main man rebuilding the air force and I can hardly contain myself in my exuberance to relay my feelings. I could see he was getting the message through the spirit confirming the truthfulness of my words.

After lunch he left for a while only to return with the approval to move quickly to get the general released and up to Baghdad to help in rebuilding the Iraqi air force. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. That was just so totally unbelievable. I felt the spirit witness to me that it was the right thing and I was almost moved to tears as he enthusiastically informed me that he was going to make this happen.

Is there any doubt that God loves us and is part of this?

What great news and what a wonderful course of events!

Yesterday while I paused for a moment to reflect on the events of the day, looking out my office window at all the greenery around the palace, the palm trees and shrubs, I realized the reality of what lies just beyond the tree line outside of the green zone. There was a false sense of peace and tranquility with the grounds of the palace, for just on the outskirts is a jungle of people, cars and danger.

Everyday as I interview source after source I am reminded of what life here is really like, outside the marble, handcrafted wood walls of the palace, beyond the plush green trees and high steel fences and stone walls.

All day long we entertain sources bringing forth the worst possible news of the trouble running in the streets of this country. We hear story after story of weapons dealers in their neighborhoods, counterfeiting operations around the corner, stockpiles of weapons in people's bedrooms, anti-coalition meetings going on, people trying to build up armies against us, attacks on our soldiers, criminal acts going on just down the street, illegal smuggling from neighboring countries, extortion rings, people wanting permits to arm themselves, stolen property being sold, aircraft being hidden, looters, rapists, and on and on.

That is what I listen to all day long. One guy came in under the guise of having a friend who heard on the radio we were giving rewards for weapons being turned in. He was actually an arms dealer trying to find out if he could sell the weapons to us, discouraged to find out we were not in the arms business and not willing to work with arms dealers. He went on and on all about how we were making so many mistakes in dealing with the problems at hand. He was saying the U.S. was not doing this right and not doing that right, saying we weren't taking care of all their problems.

Well, I had heard enough, upset by his lack of personal responsibility for some of the problems we are facing here. He is an arms dealer selling arms to people trying to kill us, finding fault with the way we are handling the problems. So I let him have it, asking him why he wasn't doing something to eradicate Iraq of some of the ills permeating their society. Why didn't he and others do their part, why don't they go do something, as patriotic Iraqi citizens to rid the country of some of these problems?

I told him we aren't here to be out front leading the way while the citizens sit in their homes waiting for new jobs or money to drop in their laps, but assisting from behind the lead of the Iraqi people. This is their country and their responsibility to deal with the problems at hand, with our assistance.

He actually took it well, acknowledging his role in contributing to the problem and how he should do something positive to perpetuate goodness and hope.

I was content with his answer, as he asked me if I could help him get his job back where he used to work, wondering if I would write a letter to his ex-boss.

Well that is the latest and greatest from my bed here in the middle of the Iraqi jungle. Good Day (say it as Paul Harvey used to, okay).


posted by Chief Wiggles 8:16 PM
. . .


. . .

email
plunge(at)mac.com

Please note, all email will go to the administrator of this blog.
He will forward email to Chief Wiggles on a case by case basis.