Fighting Media Bias

oreillyI don’t get to watch a lot of television here. In fact, much of what I watch is the news. It’s what we watch in the office on the American Forces Network news channel… a hodgepodge of the major news programs.

You’ll see anything from the first hour of the Today Show to Larry King on the same channel. In fact, at 1 p.m. here, the channel switches from Bill O’Reilly on Fox to Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

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Don’t Squeeze the Charmin

Mr. WhippleAfter being here for nearly two months, I thought it was about time I started talking about toilet paper. Why toilet paper? Because in Iraq, toilet paper isn’t just for wiping your butt.

Well, yeah… I guess you could wipe your butt with the toilet paper, but there’s danger in that. All of the toilet paper here is one-ply. It’s also the roughest stuff ever to grace my rear end. (I’ll give you a second to make your own joke here.) Let me put it this way: baby wipes are very popular here.

But let’s talk about the most unusual use of toilet paper in Baghdad.

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The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast ClubRecently, I was asked whether I had established a routine since arriving here.

In Baghdad, people become creatures of habit fairly quickly. For instance, I know that if I drop off my laundry at 7 a.m., a group of workers with hard hats will pass me on the sidewalk as I walk back to my vehicle.

It took me a couple of weeks to notice this (as I don’t do my laundry every day). What I rapidly learned was that I wasn’t the only one who had gotten himself into a routine.

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Bags of Laundry

LaundryIt’s good to be a contractor. It’s better if you are KBR. As far as contractors go, they pretty much have a strangle hold over most contracts in Baghdad.

You may know them better as Halliburton, but they changed their name for their overseas operation so that they could avoid the stigma of being called Halliburton. It’s kind of like how Blackwater got a bad rap after their “mercenaries for hire” started killing Iraqis. They changed their name to something unpronounceable.

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A Three-Hour Tour

Admiral Little's vesselAs I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, we work in a joint environment here in Baghdad. It’s not just the Army’s fight, although they seem to be the ones creating all the rules and running the show.

What’s surprising is the number of Navy folks picking up positions in the middle of the desert. Baghdad is not a port city, so seeing this many sailors is a little strange.

In fact, our “deputy commanding general” for Task Force 134 is not a general at all. He’s a Rear Admiral (the one-star variety).

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