Apart from the murmur of soldiers calling home using cell phones and phone cards it is otherwise a very quiet day throughout these Blue Mountains. Too quiet, I think, and the absence of sound makes me nervous. In fact, other than the regional police force, there is little to indicate the United States is mounting any kind defense, which would be absurd if true.
On the other hand, we’ve all heard rumors that Bush is actually going to allow Coalition Forces the run of the woods up here, at least for a few days.
I don't believe it myself, but word has it that so long as Team Sherpa doesn’t march up to Washington D.C., and so long as the Coalition reimburses Disney for the damage done to Cinderella Castle, then we will be left to advance as the mission requires. Intriguing, isn't it?
The prevailing theory being –and someone let me know if you guys know more than I do, which is entirely possible at this point– that since there’s more oil in Iraq than in Watauga County, there's no compelling economic reason for the President to redirect American forces from Baghdad to North Carolina, especially when PMC forces have indicated their intent to evacuate immediately after securing their man, the occasional extraordinary extradition action notwithstanding.
But forget Bush –I want to know what can the Norwegians be thinking? I’ve yet to see another journalist out here, much less an actual embedded Norwegian reporter, but Santoso said there is a Nord with a unit in the next valley. I can only imagine how the descendants of Vikings must be pissing off the United States, not to mention their fellow EU members. Obviously the Norwegian government thinks that their support of Malaysia and Indonesia is but a small price to pay for what they hope to gain in return, namely two things:
1) Future access to the cheapest gas on the planet, from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, and–
2) An enhanced multinational military force capable of defending the big swath of Arctic oil fields the Nords plan on laying claim to in coming years.
And by 'laying claim', I mean 'taking', as in a land grab, albeit an underwater one.
Plus, it's no secret that many sub-equatorial states think themselves entitled to a piece of the Arctic, too. What better action in this regard then, but to gain the support of a Northern territory. My bosses in Doha believe that every country that has sent soldiers on behalf of the Coalition has done so for at least one other reason than on account of the the two towers that tumbled down in Kuala Lumpur on 7/27.
My own feeling is aligned with those more politically astute than I who think this so-called defensive measure from future Christian Crusader attacks is the least of it. Of course, everyone would like to see Lowell and his club of racist wackos lined up against a wall and pinned to it with a bullet. Even the simple action of removing Lowell to a black site would give many people throughout the world the great satisfaction that the impossible was achieved in the face of resistance from the greatest imperial and military power of the day, namely the United States.
By the way, I don’t mean to imply that just because there is no present or overt indication that Bush isn’t mounting a military defense, that one isn’t being planned and executed as we speak. In point of fact, U.S. troops are already here, or at least a few miles away. As far as I'm concerned, a regiment might as well be parked outside our tents, simply waiting orders, and I’m sure that they are. As it happens, our party is within driving distance of a number of U.S. military installations: Camp Lejeune, Fort Bragg, Cherry Point, Pope and Seymour Johnson Air Force Bases. So, it won't surprise me at all if tomorrow I stumble upon a bunch of fresh faced young American boys looking to kill 'an uppity rag head' for God and country.
I must admit the very real prospect of being caught shot concerns me greatly. Only yesterday they said we would be here for not more than three days. As of this morning they have revised the figure to two weeks! I am not a war correspondent; I can hardly call myself a journalist. I wouldn't even be here if half the Al Jazeera staff didn't perish in Kuala Lumpur. Not to mention the fact that six months ago I was waiting tables. I thought I was relocating from a diner situation to a corporate office space. No one told me I'd be sleeping in a tent in the middle of winter, trying to eek out war stories from an invading army.
Have I the best of luck or the worst?
About the only thing that I can find any comfort in, is in a message from Doha relaying stats that there is actually a much greater chance of an embedded reporter being shot by a local poacher hunting deer out of season than there is of being killed by American fire. Oh, well, I guess can rest easy now.
And then there is the weather. If the Lejeune marines don’t show up soon and kill us, winter certainly will!