Monday, July 16, 2007

Saddam's Place

"So, where are you from?"

"Funny...Is Moose your real name?"
"Who do you guys really work for?"
"You ever say anything besides yes?"

I've learned over the past few years how conversations usually go when you talk to an OGA. That stands for "other governmental agency". In other words, you have no idea who they work for, what they are doing, or how long they are staying. Our modern day version of government 'spooks'.
A few of us took them up on an invite to an isolated part of Ramadi along the banks of the Euphrates for some weapons range time. These guys live in a fairly nice house. It used to be an Iraqi General's house during the Saddam regime. Marble floors, top shelf tiling in the bathroom. Was that a Viking rangetop in the kitchen? Not only do the OGA's live in top digs, they have their own cook. This was getting better by the minute! Prime rib cooked to perfection and steamed asparagus to start. Now I know how the other half of Iraq lives...
We went up on the roof for a better survey of the river and a little sun. When I consider how brown and tan the desert is, I am always amazed at the contrast near permanent bodies of water. The banks are teaming with vegetation, long reed beds lining the river, and grove upon grove of date palms as far as the eye takes you. Across the river, the OGA boss pointed out Saddam's old Ramadi palace. He had retreats tucked away anywhere he travelled, and Ramadi was no exception.

"You guys interested in a boat ride?"
What else could I say but......"yes". We didn't need a second invitation to jump on the chance for a trip down the Euphrates. I mean, who takes boat trips down the Euphrates River?
After calling in to security that there would be traffic on the river and assigning someone as "overwatch", we cruised the Euphrates in the late afternoon. Pictured are some close-ups we were able to get of Saddam's house. It's part of an outpost called Blue Diamond, and is mostly staffed by Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police.


Bag Blog said...

Sounds like a great day - guns, boats, steaks...if you had some water-skis it would be just like Oklahoma.

Cynthia said...

;-) You're the best!!! Thanks for posting!

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/17/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Rejenia said...

"... boating down the Euphrates." Does look beautiful.

Right now all that water looks like I-35 in Oklahoma

Stay safe and continue the pictures, they're great

gratitude and prayers (from Texas)

Paul said...

Nice pictures and interesting post. Please keep the "local color" posts coming. They supply a perspective that is often lost in the general coverage.

karin in tx said...

Glad you had some down time in which to drink in the surrounding's those moments which revive one!
LOL rejenia...water looks like some of the Houston underpasses and feeder roads of late as well!

Todd said...

What no water skiing? You need me to send you a wake board

Sean from DocintheBox said...

That would be something to try out for on my next trip out there, a nice break in the routine.

Ashley said...

Good to hear y'all were able to take some time out and enjoy the beauty of the local area.

Take care and stay safe!