Chat With a Passionate Marine, Detour on Road to Habbaniyah

We helo'ed out of Fallujah last night but not before having the chance to spend time with the CO, Colonel Bristol. A Marine's Marine, he was the man who created the martial arts program that we had witnessed yesterday. He has a quiet-but-powerful force field around him, a passionate belief in the Marines, their mission and our ability to win and to train Iraqis to stand up for themselves - given the time.

We were on our way to Habbiniyah base but on a stop along the way we were mistakenly waved off the helo and got stranded at another base. No problem. Caught z's at the tent city, good showers and chow in the morning, and we'll be convoying the rest of the way in a little while.

The news of the kidnappings in Baghdad is of course a concern. But as Dr. Aldbaggah indicated in our conversation two days ago, this probably represents an attempt by local leaders, perhaps with a very unuseful hand from Iran, to stir up sectarian strife, rather than a people-up expression of inter-religious hatred. This country could use a Gandhi, a Mandela, a Washington.

Hasta luego for now . . .

UPDATE: Taking a tour of Camp Hannabiyah when we eventually arrived, we came upon this abandoned building, which had served as officers quarters when the British were in these parts.  I sensed some design elements reminiscent of the style of the great American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  I emailed this photo to my great friend and architect Peter Flynn in Buffalo, NY [home to a number of Wright homes], who also saw the similarities.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.