Sunday, August 05, 2007

Turdal Award

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq embedded journalist Mike Drummond, McClatchy newspapers :

The sign taped to the men’s latrine is just five lines: “US Military Contractors Civilians Only!!!!!”

Here at this searing, dusty U.S. military base about four miles west of Baqouba, Iraqis — including interpreters who walk the same foot patrols and sleep in the same tents as U.S. troops — must use segregated bathrooms.

It has been nearly 60 years since President Harry S. Truman ended racial segregation in the U.S. military. But at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, it is alive and well, perhaps the only U.S. military facility with such rules, Iraqi interpreters here say.

“The rule separating local national latrines from soldiers was enacted about two to three rotations ago,” Maj. Raul Marquez, a spokesman for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, wrote in an e-mail.

There is also disagreement on the reason.

Marquez cited security. “We are at war, and operational security and force protection are critical in this environment,” Marquez wrote. “We screen all our local nationals working and living in the FOB; however, you can never know what’s in their mind.”

Other soldiers traced the regulations to what they called cultural differences. “We’ve had issues with locals,” said Staff Sgt. Oscar Garcia. “It’s not because we’re segregating.”

Garcia said that some Iraqis squatted on the rims of unfamiliar American-style toilets or used showers as toilets. Another soldier at the administrative hub cited conflicts over hygiene habits. “We can’t accept people washing their feet where I brush my teeth,” he said.

But the Iraqis — who are paid $80,000 to $120,000 a year for their interpreting services — are offended.

-------McClatchy newspapers and Drummond are members of the "speaking truth to power" club, hailed by the GayPatriot as the only American papers "covering the real news" in Iraq. Drummond likely noticed this honeybucket segregation on his July 29th jaunt to FOB Warhorse (renamed FOB Freedom 1) to catch the soccer game on TV. Hence Drummond, traveling to Warhorse, is not a fobbit.

(I lean toward thinking the "segregation" is leftover security procedure from earlier rotations at FOB Warhorse, when mortars were fired into camp every night, who could be trusted, etc. Warhorse also has separate gates for military and civilian traffic.)

Butt!!!!! is this the best "real news from Iraq" that an embedded reporter / newspaper can come up with?


Tell you what, for $120,000 a year, millions of Americans (including troops) wouldn't care where, who, or what was designated the official toilet.

However, and we can thank "liberals" for shining a light on this crapper injustice, the clever moral of this story is : one is only truly free when one gets to use the white folks' shitter.


Anonymous said...

As a vietnam vet, quite familiar with latrine 'procedures' in the field, and having travelled and worked in the middle east years after, I understand and support all the reasons for having separate facilities.

(Kate, ¿eres Panameña? - (pura curiosidad).

Kate-A said...

No soy Panameña, pero una vez que vivido en Aguadulce. :)

Anonymous said...

Gracias por la respuesta - la pregunta fué por la referencia a 'cara de piña' Manny Noriega.
Un salvaje ignorante...
(in spite of everything, it's still a 'small world...')

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