Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Friday, August 19, 2005

Beautiful Baghdad Writing

I have ceased being pleasantly surprised at the quality of writing I continually come across in the blogosphere. Given the constraints of the 24 hour day, the material out there is literally endless. Here's proof, (via Wretchard) from a blogger, Hurl, whom I have never had the pleasure of reading before.

The last three nights here in central Iraq have been beautiful. The sky has been much less dusty than it usually is. The stars are brilliant. Orion pops up around 4am - Taurus a couple of hours before that. Mars is very clear after midnight. Normally the visibility is pretty poor - usually less than 3 miles. Sometimes less than 1 mile. Flying in these conditions can be quite challenging - especially at night.

By FAA standards, anything under 3 miles is technically considered IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) as opposed to VFR (Visual Flight Rules) and require Instrument flight plans to be filed. But this is Iraq, not Kansas. Flight plans would be useless anyway since there is no Air Traffic Control system. Depending on the mission, we routinely find ourselves flying in low visibility - i.e. IFR conditions.

2 nights ago I flew into Baghdad at about 3:30am. It was a very clear night and I could see for dozens of miles in all directions. It looked like it could be anywhere in America - lights were on EVERYWHERE. Whatever electricity problems there were in the past, they certainly seem to be fixed now.

There are also numerous gas flares from various refineries in operation. One huge refinery right in Baghdad would put any Gulf coast refinery to shame. I know Iraqi oil production is almost where it was prior to the war - currently 2.5 million barrels a day. It appears that their refinery capability is rapidly improving as well. In spite of countless terror attacks on the Iraqi infrastructure, the builders seem to be prevailing.

Situated on the Tigris River, Baghdad is a beautiful city at night. The slums don't look as slummy. Palm trees grow like weeds. There are no skyscrapers, but there are numerous high-rise buildings in the downtown area, many with very interesting architecture. There are several very nice multi-story hotels where the incestuous media hang out by the pools, sipping cocktails and plagiarizing one another. They wait like vultures for news of the next suicide attack so they can smear the blood and shove the latest body count in our face. I wouldn't be surprised if they have betting pools on when, where, and how many will die....

This past night at 3:30 am all was quiet. There wasn't a single car on any road. Nobody shooting or blowing anybody up. The city was completely lit up and so.... peaceful. I know it will be short-lived, but I can't help but hope that it will someday be as peaceful as this one night most of the time.

He's a helicopter pilot describing a night mission in Iraq. What is striking to me about this and the many other quality military bloggers (especially this one), is the side by side comparison of their writing to that of professional journalists. The insight and descriptions offered in passages like the above are downright profound when contrasted with the sterile AP accounts of the latest statistics on random RPG attacks and body count.

You can bet that many of the journalists, sipping drinks in the Palestine hotel, waiting for an AP release to copy, paste, and file tend to think of our soldiers as uneducated apes, heaping destruction on anything and everything in their path. Nothing could be further from the truth. These men and women are out there creating history on the fly, desperately trying to improve the lot of whole people, and allowing us all to sleep peacefully at night. Then they tell us all about it with an eloquence, knowing, and passion that 'real' journalists may only dream of.


                                                                                                                                                                             Meter Weblog Commenting and Trackback by This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?