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« Day Five: Entering Iraq, Keep Your Talcum Dry | Main | Seven Months of Progress »

March 05, 2007

Enemy Forces Sighted and Dispatched

-Patrick S Lasswell

This Post Describes Events from the Summer of 2006

Things have been going well for the expedition, almost too well. We decided after accomplishing our goals for
Suliamaniya early, we should use today as a day of rest and recovery. Tomorrow we are going to drive the length of Iraqi Kurdistan on back roads to avoid the exciting shortcut that includes Mosul and Kirkuk. I got hooked watching something on the Discovery channel and was well on my way to lazing my way through the morning. Our first appointment was at 11:00 and I had plenty of time to discover which team would use junkyard parts to plow through a snow wall, or so I thought.

Goal_Oriented_in_Suli.jpg

They Respect Goal Oriented People in Suliamaniya

I heard a commotion in the direction of the hall, but assumed it was just the cleaning staff on its rounds. During a commercial break I went to avail myself of the facilities, and there it was, the dirty rat. No, really, it was a dirty rat in the bathroom. When I turned on the light it jumped a good 12 inches up the far wall. Using my steel-spring reflexes and cold nerve, I closed the door. Years of advanced problem solving skills gained in both the corporate and military arenas led me to my initial solution. If I ignored it, maybe it would go away.

nasrallah_annan_250w.jpg

Diplomatic Solution Often Ineffective at Rat Management

After fifteen minutes of watching welding and waiting for the diplomatic solution to take effect, it became obvious that the rat was obdurate. Perhaps it was a Hezbollah rat. Abandoning diplomacy, I took matters into my own hands. I took a piece of scratch paper and drew a rat on it, then took it to the cleaning staff outside. Experienced world travelers develop communications skills for just these occasions. The cleaning lady in my business partner's room grasped the concept immediately, more of a testament to her imagination than my drawing skills, really.


wonderful_y_taciturn_n.jpg

The Kurds are Wonderful People, but Not Taciturn

The Kurds are wonderful people, and I greatly enjoy interacting with them, but I would not describe them as taciturn. The cleaning lady gasped and immediately got the assistant manager. Together the three of us went to confront the enemy, two of us communicating volubly with each other in Kurdish. The manager went in first, I followed, and the cleaning woman followed, both of the locals armed with broomsticks. At first it appeared that in the face of overwhelming force, the rat had followed Hezbollah doctrine and scarpered, but then we saw a tail and the manager revealed a fair grasp of the obscene portions of English. The cleaning woman and the manager set to with the broomsticks. Realizing that I was in the way and wearing shower shoes, I adopted an Individual Protective Posture and jumped up onto the sink like a cat. Years of military training allowed me to retain some fragment of my dignity by not screaming like a little girl.

180px-Janitor\'s_bucket_with_mop.jpg

Found in Iraq: Weapons of Mouse Destruction

After a moment's clubbing, the manager invited me off the sink and out into the hall. The cleaning woman had taken matters into her own hands by then and a succession of thumps and Kurdish words that I may never be allowed to learn came from behind the closed door. By this time a group of young women from across the hall had broken up their meeting and come to see what the excitement was about. So I'm in my t-shirt, sweat pants, shower shoes, and unshowered and I'm sharing my unmade room with the assistant manager, the remainder of the cleaning staff, and a collection of extremely well dressed and coiffed young women who are planning a wedding. Let me give you my most profound assurance that it would be an injustice to describe the Kurds as taciturn.

Wedding_Planning_in_Kurdistan.jpg

Wedding Planning in Kurdistan Everywhere: There Must be a Lot of Experienced Planners By Now

After a few minutes of conversational Kurdish lessons that I entirely failed to study for, the cleaning woman emerges victorious with an almost entirely dead rat on the bathroom floor. The assistant manager offers me another room, but since I no longer have to share it, I decline. The rat is unceremoniously removed in a plastic shopping bag and we go back to our activities. The cleaning woman proceeds to clean the battlefield and I go out into the hall. About this time Michael Totten arrives to observe the proceedings. He asks if I got any pictures, and I hadn't. On the plus side I will never have to explain to my lovely wife what all those attractive young women are doing in my room and find myself envying the rat his fate.



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