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

Thursday, September 18, 2003
Please note. Chief Wiggles main website has moved to 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 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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