The 418th CA Company is opening Camp 3 a few miles east of us, to be run on a KOI (Kampgrounds Of Iraq) basis: bring your own tent. This camp would fill quickly with our backlog plus newcomers, to 10-15,000 people, but it would not stay full long. The bottleneck is a town called Dohuk; once Dohuk is demilitarized, which it would be in a few days, many of the Kurds would go home. There were plans for a Camp 4 a bit further east, but it never materialized.
CPT Haney came by at 0830, said he'd be back about noon. I packed and waited - all day! Apart from a hike to Camp 2 to take some pictures and see what's going on, I hung around camp all day. The outer skin is going up on the fest tent in Camp 2. Haney finally showed up about 1800, and we drove to the British 40th Marine Commando near Kani Masi. The scenery was lovely, even if it was almost dark when we got there. SPC Lahela Corrigan is the third member of the team.
On the way to the British camp, Haney stopped to examine a truck for evidence of tainted seeds. He found piles of orange lentils, which are tinted to indicate they've been treated with a mercury-based fungicide. He suspects that tainted lentils, probably taken unwittingly from seed stores, may have been responsible for some infant mortality in the mountains. We found piles of orange lentils later at many locations. That may be a good sign: that people were aware of the danger and discarded the seeds.
There's a story going around about a shootout between British soldiers and Iraqi guards at Saddam Hussein's Winter Palace near Sirsenk, in the next valley to our south. The Iraqis deny it; Haney says it's true and that two Iraqis were killed.
A gorgeous sunny day. We spent the morning conferring with the British Marines at A and C company on food distribution. I described how we had laid out allocation tables, and we brainstormed ways to devise field methods of weighing out food. That really only took a couple of hours, but it seemed to help the British get a handle on the problem.
At A company I met a U.S. medic named COL Griffin who graduated from Berkeley in 1965. We had some fun reminiscing about Mario Savio and others. Bettina Aptheker, who scandalized everybody by announcing she was a Communist back then, is now one of his daughter's professors at UC-Santa Cruz!
In the afternoon, we drove up the "switchback road" toward Sirsenk to chat with the U.S. Marine way station and check out a temporary Kurd encampment nearby. Using my little Arabic I was able to get a count of the people there from the head man. We also encountered Kurdish graves in the road cut; simple boxes of rough stone slabs. Then we went through Kani Masi and on to Baloka, the end of the line. As Haney put it, "if this isn't the end of the world you can see it from here". The "end of the world" is a surprisingly busy place. We met Americans, British, French, Canadians, Germans, and of course Kurds. The scenery is breathtaking; any national park in the world would fight to get scenery like this. On the way to Baloka we ran into a Special Forces team that included SSG Paul Timmerman, whom I haven't seen since his team left for the mountains three weeks and more ago.
Haney has a selected spot where a small waterfall creates a good, if cold, shower point. We stopped there to clean up, and he slipped on a rock and hurt his foot. It causes him severe pain.
Created January 10, 2000; Last Update 14 December 2009
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