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

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
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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.