Mahmoud Bakrah, or Moody as we knew him, leaned forward and threw a handful of what he humourously called local chopped herbs over the carcass. I wasn't sure what to make of the raised eyebrow and cheesy smile. Moody was an Arab, so most likely his version of flavour enhancers wouldn't tally with mine but it did add to the aroma and, possibly more importantly, the anticipation of our first hot meal in two days.
Moody – a short, thick set, ugly looking fifty three year old with narrow, piercing black eyes, a hooked nose you could ski down and a thick black beard the size of a small rain forest was, to be more precise, an Iraqi. An Iraqi who – in somewhat of a hurry – gave up his commission as a Major in the Republican Guard not long after the Cruise missiles began rearranging the architecture in and around Baghdad early in the spring of 2003. He was bright enough to know what end of a camel the shit came from. Rumour has it, he was about to relieve Saddam Hussein of his breathing abilities in December the same year when the Yanks stopped him and claimed the capture them selves. Another of those "how good are we" moments.
I guess giving the credit and reward to a rag head wouldn't sit well with the good folks back home; sitting in their comfy arm chairs, bottle of Bud in one hand, fat cigar in the other, cheering on their gung ho Marines as they shot and stormed their way across the truck sized plasma screen T.V., boosting the body count and collateral damage. All this along with the shock and awe tactics of bombing the shit out of Baghdad. The only shock to us on the ground at the time, was that any of the super technology credited to the U.S.A.F. and U.S.N. managed to put a smart bomb or missile on the right target, or indeed find the right fucking target in the first place.
I dread to think of the failure rate in American colleges and universities when it comes to geography exams. They think the Middle East is a point halfway between Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, and that Belgium is a suburb of Brussels. If al-Qaeda's map reading had been as bad on 9/11 they'd have taken out two tall chimneys and a bouncy castle, although the bouncy castle might have given them trouble coming to a dead stop.