Categories
Embedded in Iraq: 20 Years Later

subj: the birds

Posted by jim on May 20, 2004 at 04:08:48:

ok, my schedule is loose enough to take emails again most days. (today, my plans fell through and i’m stranded at a training base, so i probably will have nothing to file for the first time since i got out here. unless i find a feature. haircuts or something. wish me luck.)

Posted by jim on May 20, 2004 at 14:24:49:

There is this bird you hear everywhere you go· I haven’t spotted one yet. Goes: Hoo, hooooo, hoo… hoo, hooooo, hoo… all fucking day and night. Loud enough to hear indoors.

The whole soundtrack of Iraq is that bird, evening prayers from loudspeakers outside of every mosque plus random gunfire and mysterious distant explosions. Every day. Every night.

jim

Posted by jim on May 21, 2004 at 02:39:05:

I’m back at the Iraqi police station in Kharma… Right now they’re watching a perfect knockoff of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” on TV ….only in Arabic. No Regis either.

Patrols later.

hasta,
jim

Posted by jim on May 21, 2004 at 23:37:47:

personal time varies. today i have a dawn patrol and a dusk patrol, w/plenty of time off. unless the action comes to us.

seeya,
jim

Posted by jim on May 23, 2004 at 07:34:34:

i’m at a large isolated base near fallujah. quiet day.
ciao,
jim

Posted by jim on May 23, 2004 at 07:46:12:

i washed laundry by hand in a bucket last night… for the first time in my life. worked just fine. saved water. we are so spoiled.

Posted by jim on May 24, 2004 at 00:44:00:

it’s monday morning. very quiet.

Posted by jim on May 24, 2004 at 11:40:48:

i’m going to have the worst farmer tan of all time. not to mention the helmet lines. marines wear long sleeves and get only tanned hands. even more ridiculous.

jim

Posted by jim on May 24, 2004 at 12:01:12:

i drink six 1.5 L bottles of water most days. so if 100,000 troops drink six a day for a month, that’s 18 million plastic bottles montly. i haven’t seen any sign of recycling, unless they’re picked out of the trash later, but i doubt it.

*except for the few used for automatic doors. the 1.5L bottle are filled with rocks and sand, and tied with clothesline to the top of the doors to most quarters and offices. a couple of nails make for a simple pulley system that closes the doors, so you constantly hear the drag of the bottle against every wall. i guess it serves as kind of a security system too. primitive but effective.

g’nite
jim

Posted by jim on May 24, 2004 at 12:03:04:

the clocks on this server are in texas, on CDT. so it is one hour than posted time for you on the east coast. nine hours later for me.

About: In 2004, I took a leave from my job at the old Philadelphia Daily News and spent next 12 months photographing the war in Iraq for the Associated Press. I shared my experiences with friends and family on a private mailing list and now I am posting my entries on the same dates 20 years later.

About these posts: In 2004, I took a leave from my job at the old Philadelphia Daily News and spent next 12 months photographing the war in Iraq for the Associated Press. I shared my experiences with friends and family on a private mailing list and now I am posting my entries on the same dates 20 years later.

By Jim MacMillan

Jim MacMillan is the founder and director of the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting and the assistant director of the Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting at Temple University. He has been a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and the Knight-Wallace Fellows, as well as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Swarthmore College. Previously, MacMillan spent 17 years at the Philadelphia Daily News and photographed the war in Iraq for The Associated Press, after which he and his team were awarded The Pulitzer Prize.