Thursday, August 31, 2006

I’m Back and Ready To Leave Again

As I stepped off the plane in Kuwait City after 2 weeks of leave I was hit with a wave of hot sandy air and I remembered why I hate the Middle East. Of course I am glad that I am here helping the Iraqi people but I long for the day to get back to America.

I spent several days traveling on Qatar Airways to get to and fro from the UK and hope to never ride on a plane with Arabs again. Racist statement? Nope. You just gotta trust me on this one. To be fair the plane was full of Arabs, Indians, and Asians. All of them were loud, obnoxious, and generally rude. I was constantly amazed at how the bickered between each other, pestered the stewardesses, and treated those around them. I am not sure why they behaved this way but it was all rather childish and unbecoming of grown adults.

I was already on edge traveling as I was taken off my British Airways flight that was supposed to arrive in London Heathrow Airport the same day as the other British Airways planes were supposed to be blown up by terrorists. I was subsequently placed on a Qatar Airways plane, which right before I got on the plane I heard one of their other planes was hijacked coming out of Jordan. From one jihad plane to the next I supposed. “If you Arabs don’t start behaving yourselves we are gonna revoke your privilege to ride on planes and you'll have to walk to Mecca.”

Every Arab on the plane was a possible terrorist to me and I suppose all of the other passengers. Sorry it has to be that way and until little old white women start hijacking planes I am going to continue to focus my attention on 18-40 year old Arab men. Although I am sure the little Asian guy that kept rubbing himself all over me while we were standing waiting to get off the plane posed more of a risk then any of the Arabs did. “Um I don’t think I can get pregnant but I sure don’t want to find out. Please remove your body from my backside before you meet the backside of my hand.”

One thing fun about riding on Qatar Airways was the GPS controlled Mecca tracker. At anytime you could access the TV in the chair in front of you or look up to the big screens in the middle of the plane and find out what exact angle you needed to pray in order to be pointing toward Mecca. "This is your Captain speaking, please remember that no one is allowed to pray in front of the emergency exits and if you have a problem with sitting by the exit let that American boy have your seat because I know he wants nothing more than to be the first one off this plane, thank you and have a good flight. We'll arrive at our destination in seven hours inshallah." I think maybe all the terrorists have their own version and it is called the Iraq Tracker. It points them towards Iraq and shows them the closest mass of innocent civilians trying to live their lives in peace.

After 4 hours of security checks at the Middle Eastern wing at London Heathrow with lots of heavily armed Bobbies (“Um hey can I have one of those automatic weapons please?”) I boarded the plane from London back to Kuwait where I would then get a flight to my base in Iraq. Once on the plane I was surrounded by Arabs, which was okay because the seat right next to me was empty…or so I thought. After an hour or so of flying bliss the Arabic man one seat away from me thought it would be a good idea to move right next to me so that a lady could have his seat and her baby could lay down next to us. Great idea Ahmed. So now I have to cramp up while his feet are on my lap because he just has to sit cross legged and the kid in front of my has to put his seat all the way back in my lap. After an hour of this I decided to take measures into my own hands. “Stewardess, bring me a bottle of Scotch please.” I must have downed all the alcohol on the Muslim flight. That made things more tolerable and I even started to laugh about the situation 4 glasses later.

All in all I had a great time on leave and it has rejuvenated me to be able to endure the end of my second year in Iraq. I look forward to writing for the rest of my time here and hope I can find some decent things to talk about. I am definitely not excited to be back here and am looking forward to the day when Iraq is something I did and am not doing. Not to sound too down but the little taste I had of civilian life in London has got me wanting to go back home where the girls are pretty, the grass is green, and the planes don’t have to hand out complimentary socks so that Arabic man’s bare feet in your lap can stay warm during the flight.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well Sgt. Boggs, I can't say I'm "happy" you are back in Iraq, but I was definately happy to see a post from you. Not that your Dad didn't do a terrific job in your absence, but we missed you. Can't wait to hear more about your leave time adventures. I know it had to be better that the getting there and back!

sparkium said...

I'm glad you had a nice leave. You deserved it. And look at all the debates you started. You now have followers (stalkers?)! Just don't let your head get too big and let your guard down. Yeah... someone called you a "god among mortals." I was tempted to write, "I knew him during those all so difficult boy years. Great guy. I don't know about god." But I didn't. Everyone deserves a little flattery. All right gotta get ready for work. I have the minds of young children to mold like Diva and Freedom. Yes, I have students named Diva and Freedom. Cute kids. Can't wait to meet their parents!

Bag Blog said...

You certainly did not lose your sense of humor - maybe your short vacation has sharpened it. Although traveling with plane loads of Arab men does not sound pleasant, it is funny (sitting here in the comfort of my home). I have noticed that other cultures do not have the same sense of space as Americans. While being herded through the Vatican like cattle, my family kept being pushed to the back of the herd, because we left space between us and the person in front of us. Someone would always squeeze into that space pushing us back. Fortunately, Italians are really very pleasant, family oriented people. The problem of space took on new meaning in Italian traffic. In Mexico we also had "space" problemas. Come to think of it, they do not drive so well either.

Glad you are blogging again.

Anonymous said...

timmy tim tim, i must say i was kind of shocked by your generalizations on this past post. specifically when you said each arab was a potential terrorist. if we want to start making generalizations like that, then all white men could be potential rapists or serial killers, or building bombers.

pointing fingers doesnt help anything. it just brings more hate and seperation between different people groups. ive been on plenty of flights where there are rude, loud and inconsiderate americans.

just be careful what you write and how you come off. its ok to be frustrated, but maybe someone who reads this sees the world only through your eyes and only see negative things about other people. they may form negative images of every single arab, indian, or asian, from one negative sentence. and so the next time they see a foreigner, they will think of how all arabs are terrorists.

i am glad you have safely made it back to iraq.

TFbrother said...

I would have to say to the previous commentor: If you have been trained to constantly be on the look out for terroists, because it's your job, then you might have a different attitude on the situation. I suppose if Tim comes home and has the same attitude for every arab, then you'll have a point. I would at least advise you to take in consideration, the experience he has over the rest of us. Once you have lived in their world, where you are the minority, then you can speak. In a way, I think Tim has earned the right to generalize. You have to admit, stereotypes are generally correct.

Margarita said...

Oh the horror! Frisky Asians and FEET? Major gross out. I would have required mace and a yak sack on that flight. So, aren't ya'll comin' home soon...?

Anonymous said...

tfbrother-

I see your point in him being trained with this mindset, however, i dont necessarily think its a good thing

with your comment saying that until i have "lived in their world, where you are the minority, then you can speak" does this refer to being a soldier, or just being a minority. while i may not be a soldier, i do live everyday as a minority. i havent lived in the US for awhile, and i still dont agree that its ok, or that i can make generalizations or stereotypes about the people i live among.

Sarabeth said...

anonymous said: just be careful what you write and how you come off. its ok to be frustrated, but maybe someone who reads this sees the world only through your eyes and only see negative things about other people. they may form negative images of every single arab, indian, or asian, from one negative sentence. and so the next time they see a foreigner, they will think of how all arabs are terrorists.

If you want people to not think of Arabs as terrorists, then the Arabs need to take charge and tackle the attitudes toward the Western World that lead to young, Arab men becoming terrorists.

There was a time when I would look suspiciously at any Irish person in London.

It is a natural reaction that we should attempt to squash, but Tim is in the middle of it, Anonymous.

We are all saavy enough to understand his point of view.

Susan said...

Oh, my gosh! I've only flown on Japan Air Lines and American flights, so I never imagined it would be so different! A sense of humor is a good thing to have! I'm glad your R & R was good, and hope the rest of your time there passes quickly. Will you still blog when you are back in the land of the pretty girls lying in green grass? The day *will* come!

Anonymous said...

Yes, reality does stink sometimes Sgt. Boggs. You treated a nasty situation with humor. Somehow I think your trip to Scotland influenced this blog. For example, your chosen method of escape. See how world travel broadens your views on life! Makes you a more interesting person. I would love to be a fly on the wall when you get home to hear the private conversations with your family and friends. No holding back there! Be safe Timothy Boggs during your remaining time in the land of heat and sand and dirty feet....and terrorists. I can understand just how miserable it is in Iraq by observering your strong desire to get back home. I am looking forward to your next blogs to see your views as time passes. I have a feeling that even the ugly girls at home are going to look pretty darn good and winter brown grass will feel good under your feet. Thanks for what you are doing. It is obviously more difficult and more painful than some want to admit. Your sacrifices are appreciated.
Annie

jordan said...

I would guess that the terrorist generalization about Arabs has to do with the fact that the overwhelming majority of terror acts have been conducted by Middle-Eastern men. It's statistics, not prejudice.

windypoo said...

Greetings, Sgt. Boggs! I feel selfishly vindicated by your wariness of your fellow passengers. But be careful with the Scotch: I recently flew to Denver to visit my Devildog son. My own flying fears have been well documented since way before 9/11/01 but I defiantly overrule them with my refusal to be intimidated by the threat of terrorism. These fears, however, did prompt me to absorb great quantities of alcohol prior to my flight. So I'm in line for boarding and am chatting with my son on the telephone. In (what I thought was) a soft whisper I announced to him, "I'm happy to announce that there are NOOOO Arabs on my flight." My husband gently shushed me as he informed me that my voice in fact was booming and attracting attention. Ooops! But I do believe I was simply voicing what the other passengers were thinking.

Kat said...

Welcome back -- to the blog, that is... sorry you are stuck back in the Litterbox, er, um, i mean, the Sandbox... but glad to see you blogging again. Thanks for sharing your airport "adventures" with us.

*hugs*

Hang in there - you are in our prayers. we appreciate you and all you do.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Glad to see you blogging, but like the rest, I'm sorry you're back in the sandbox. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog & you're entitled to say whatever you danged well please - after all, you're the one defending us. I think we should all dump political correctness for Infinity. It's a bunch of BS!! We're supposed to be free people.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are glad that you made it safely back to Iraq. Good of us, isn't it Tim? Keep your viewpoints to yourself when they aren't the same as ours but we good people who love our enemies and think everybody has a wonderful culture really just want you to shut up, fight your ass off without forming any real opinions. Other than that we just love to read your blog. It makes us feel good to be superior to you. We feel so much smarter than you. After all we are safe and sound here at home, studying, and figuring out how to have a good life for ourselves. And anybody who wants to can take this comment personally...please do.. because that is how I meant it!

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous at 4:28,
Thank you so much for giving Sgt. Boggs, who is fighting a war to protect your delicate feelings, permission to be frustrated. I know that is what he was hoping for. Personally, having been spit on and treated like dirt by Arab students getting an education in my country, on taxpayers money and living in student housing, I completely understand and agree with your blog, Tim. Many Americans can't afford a college education without working very hard for it. And they do stink because they don't bathe even when good showers are provided by taxpayers. This is a personal observation, just a fact, not an insult. Maybe it is their culture but I think their culture stinks and this is America after all.

Anonymous said...

Missbirdlegs,
It looks like you inspired some commenters to take your advice and forget the PC for good. It is amazing to me when people actually say what they think and don't just spit out what they have been told over and over and over and over. I like you Missbirdlegs.
Annie

Anonymous said...

Here is another inspired comment. Do any Americans own convenience stores, or hotels or gas stations any more? What is with that?

Melinda said...

Welcome back to the blog, Tim. You were missed, but you left us in good hands & we knew you were enjoying your much deserved leave!

Don't apologize for your perceptions. It's what keeps people alive, for God's sake. My own mother questioned what I'd do if I felt someone were 'suspicious' before I got on a plane. I told her, if I boarded, I would want to sit right beside that person...NO ONE will be lighting their shoes on fire or turning on a cell phone on my watch. THAT is a certainty.

As far as anonymous' comment...if levelheaded people listened to their inner voices, chances are MANY of them could avoid harm coming to themselves; but since we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, we push down our instincts and suffer the consequences.

Can't wait to read your next post!

Gina E. said...

It's great to see you have so many supporters, Tim - I love some of these comments! My husband was a bus driver, and he and the other drivers had the same feeling of mistrust when Middle Eastern people boarded the buses. Especially anyone wearing that headgear that covered their faces - god only knows what they may have been hiding under all that material. Hubby had visions of guns, bombs, etc. and couldn't relax until they were off his bus. Sarabeth hit the nail on the head with her comment about Arabs needing to change their attitudes toward the West.

AFSister said...

Glad to see you enjoyed London- even though coming back was a real bitch of a time. I know you would rather be home, but I want to make sure you know how much we appreciate you being there and helping Iraq get up on its own two feet.

Margarita said...

Jordan -- Were you do you get your statistics? And are you talking about terrorist attacks IN the Middle East (which would likely validate your misleading statement) or in the U.S.? Obviously... dude... you can look at our history and figure out that the majority of OUR terrorist attacks were perpetrated by AMERICANS.

On political correctness; does this mean we can all start calling African-Americans "Niggers" and refer to Latinos, Asians and Caucasians as "Spics", "Chinks" and "Crackers"? Or how about we just start referring to males and females as "dicks" and "cunts"?

...Or maybe there's a line somewhere called "common decency"?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there is a line somewhere called common sense. Keep looking. Hopefully you'll find it.

T. F. Boggs said...

Hey guys,
I just call it as I see it and make no excuses for what I say. Thats it. In the past 6 years almost all of the terror attacks have come at the hands of 18-40 year old Arabic men so if I am employing this little faculty called Reason then it tells me to be wary of 18-40 year old Arabic men. If I suspected little old women and 5 year old children like the random searches at airports do then I wouldn't be using Reason. I am just trying to survive, not win any friends. Even though God is the ultimate judge I am going to try and do my part here on earth whether I am supposed to or not. I never claimed to be perfect.

I do plan on blogging when I get back home but I'm not sure as to what capacity. I may be forming a site with another blogger or I may be doing it alone, I am just not sure at this point. I guess you'll just have to keep reading ;)

Anonymous said...

That's great TF Boggs. Please keep on calling it like you see it. We call it like we see it too and as we see it you are right on. Thanks for all you are doing.

Huntress said...

Ahhh Soldier Boy....

Jihad Airways, potential asian boytoy... alchohol on a MUSLIM flite...Terrorists with GPS controlled Iraq tracker that points them towards Iraq and shows them the closest mass of innocent civilians trying to live their lives in peace...hahahahaha....


“If you Arabs don’t start behaving yourselves we are gonna revoke your privilege to ride on planes and you'll have to walk to Mecca.”

hahahahahahahaha....oh gawd...this entire post is like an episode of SouthPark.

Welcome Back To The Suck, Soldier Boy!

On another note: My parents are from a major arab country, as are many of their friends, they speak arabic at home, which is where I learned the language...but since 9/11 I can't get on a plane today without looking very uneasily at any Arab on that same flight.

PC went out the door when 13 arab hijackers slammed American planes filled with innocent civilians into the WTC.

Anonymous said...

I didn't divide them up ..13..6. 19... They were all muslim terrorists.

Margarita said...

"Common sense is overrated!" ... is likely what I'll be hearing next.

Look, I really hate it that we're all gender/race/ethnic typed in this country (and elsewhere) but it's a sad fact of life and if it keeps you alive then I understand that... I'd be a hypocrite to say that I don't freak out a little on nights when I'm walking to my car and some strange dude approaches me from the darkness. We all do it.

It's when the fringe starts throwing all caution to the wind and acting like cracked out loonies ("POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS BULLSHIT!") that it lowers the political discourse. The Anti-PC crowd begins to ultimately sound rather bigoted and narrow minded to the outside observer.

Anonymous said...

propaganda...if you don't go along with pc you have to be a bigot, belong to a crowd, are narrow minded and a cracked out loony. Sounds like you are anti-pc typing to me.

Barryaoke said...

It's great to have you back on the blog. I really appreciate you and your Dad's way of lookin' at things. God picked exactly the right parents for you at exactly the right time so you would have exactly the right DNA, genes and stuff that makes you YOU! Keep up the good work, Love you guys.

strykeraunt said...

“Um hey can I have one of those automatic weapons please?”

Reminds me of the email one of my nephews sent while waiting in Kuwait for the plane to take him home after a year in Iraq. He was basically saying the same thing. He was feeling naked because they took his weapon away. All around him he sees Arabs. Even though he knows they are Turks, they all looking the same in his eyes at that point. I don't know, maybe its the fact that there were actually a bunch of Arabs where he had just come from who wanted him dead. However, where he was he had the benefit of the automatic weapon that went everywhere with him.

Call it what you want, this is the reality of spending any length of time in an area where people are getting blown up on a daily basis. This "mindset" is not about PC, its about surviving.

gypsy said...

Welcome back t.f.! You were missed although your dad did a great job and I thoroughly enjoyed his thought provoking posts.

Keep safe and keep your head down. GREAT post as always.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

PC IS BS! Simple courtesy, which should have been taught to us all, and plain old common sense would suffice without all these PC rules which keep us from speaking truth. The 'debate' which we don't really seem to be having might actually be informative if the truth were allowed and rudeness had not taken it's place. Name-calling without facts is childish and unproductive, but some of our country's 'leaders' are as bad or worse than any others. We should call a spade and spade, as Sgt. Boggs has in this post (and Margarita, I don't mean that to have the connotation that you tend to give it). Most terrorists in this day and age are Muslims and if we can't say that without being taken to task by the PC crowd, God help us all!

Keep up the good work, Sgt.

Margarita said...

"Most terrorists this day and age are Muslims."

...Bullshit. That is NOT being Anti-PC; that right there is an outright misconception and delusion fed to you by your politicos and a subserviant propaganda machine (i.e. the "Mainstream Media"). I highly doubt you read that in any study or established paper somewhere.

OK, let's talk about propaganda: Who can recognize it and where have you last seen it?

If you don't have an answer for that last question you might wanna examine your faculties for thinking. If you don't care to answer that last question you should not be arguing with me but picking up a few different books or newspapers and coming to your own conclusion with supporting evidence. Newsflash: The majority of your "elected" representatives do not have your best interests at heart! Why then do so many take what they say as truth?

Ya know, sometimes I feel very REPUBLICAN MINDED here and I wonder where all the true Republicans have gone? Whatever happend to the skepticism, guys?

Margarita said...

Oh, and on the subject of "Political Correctness", why do you think it's such a hot button issue?

Who generally employs "Political Correctness"?

And who is generally pointing out the users of "Political Correctness"?

...It's a classic example of A STRAWMAN ARGUMENT used to discredit valid arguments that have nothing to do with being PC!

Anonymous said...

Anonomous 4:28 PM - "just be careful what you write and how you come off. its ok to be frustrated, but maybe someone who reads this sees the world only through your eyes and only see negative things about other people. they may form negative images of every single arab, indian, or asian, from one negative sentence. and so the next time they see a foreigner, they will think of how all arabs are terrorists."

My problem with the this post is the position that Boggs might be being irresponsible in what he writes and how he comes off to one of the many of us incapable of reading his post and not analyzing it for him/herself as one man's opinion. This particular man just happens to be one engaged in the security of our nation and granted his birds eye view is as he noted - one biased towards 18-40 year old Arab men vs. little old white women as being terrorist material......but why the heck are we even reading his blog if we we're not interested in his particular viewpoint?

And to top it off you say "pointing fingers doesnt help anything" - - - may I say - "physician, heal thy self!"

Boggs - welcome back - I look forward to the journals of a soldier on leave. In your absence I appreciated TFB'sdad's perspective not only on a son growing up in America but on the morality of a war.

Andrea in California

tanksis said...

Hey Sgt.-

Welcome back to the daily grind. Kudos to your father for an outstanding substitute run.

This post was grand, a comical and refreshingly truthful account of your journey back to Hell.

Thanks for keeping it real.

Keep your head down, Soldier.

tfmom said...

To those of you who seem to think my son is prejudice or unfair to arab men, you must realize some of his best friends are arab men! Read his interview with the Iraqi General (July)and his posts from May "As the Front Gate Turns" and "Breaking down Walls". You might also read "Music From Heaven" (April)when he wrote about his first deployment interactions with some Kuwaiti friends. My son doesn't judge people based on their race or where they're from, he is simply being smart. The day he quits being wary of the type of people most likely to harm him is the day I really start to worry.

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

"Oh, and on the subject of "Political Correctness", why do you think it's such a hot button issue?

...

...It's a classic example of A STRAWMAN ARGUMENT used to discredit valid arguments that have nothing to do with being PC!"


(Sorry if this is what you were saying), but I see both sides do this.

"HE/SHE SAID [insert "un-PC" word/statement here]! THEY'RE JUST BEING AN IGNORANT BIGOT AND HAVE NOTHING OF VALUE TO SAY!!" I find is just as common and just as invalid as those who think that being PC is just dancing around the issues rather than discussing them honestly.

There ARE those out there who are racist/bigoted or otherwise reprehensible human beings who's views, say, aren't as informed as the rest of us, but we DO have to keep a few things in mind:

1. Find me the most ignorant, worthless repugnant person alive and I can still find value in some of their views; if only for understanding the psychology of that view or the pathology of how they got those views in the first place.

2. Not all people who make what sounds like generalizations are actually generalizing. I have a friend from Mississippi; a black family recently moved into a house down the street and he refers to them as "niggers."

Knowing this much, most of you would call him a racist, but the fact of the matter is that his next door neighbors are also black and he's been friends with them for most of his life. The difference here is that his neighbors are good, honest, hardworking people and the family who moved in down the street are the antitheses of this.

Now, the people who screamed "YO IN THE WRONG PART OF TOWN, CRAKKA!" when I was gassing up or whatever in certain portions of Baton Rouge or Lafayette, LA – those folks, I would say are racist.

3. In truth, the human mind is built for racism and generalizing; it's a heuristic grouping machine. It establishes certain criteria and categories and lumps the vast spectra of what it observes into them because it's the only way we can process the huge volume of data our senses are capable of observing in this world.


So, while I can see the point of certain generalizations being distasteful and alienating to a lot of people, taking the time to think of every specific individual on this planet and classify them as "terrorist" or "not terrorist" and use that (how many billion strong now?) list as the basis for our statements is overwhelmingly inefficient. There has to be a compromise and we all have to be willing to concede that maybe our personal compromise is not quite the best one available.

tfaunt said...

HaHAHA funny post and realbummed you are back in the sand box! We are actually having tolerable weather here. Your uncle Ric shot cicadas off bottle rockets yesterday for fun (with his son). We were all entertained.
I did have a foot in my lap incident on Southwest one time- a young white girl who tried to convert me. As I was a young white girl already converted, she was a little disappointed. PC aside, I was annoyed. I bet your seatmate annoyed his neighbor Mohammed also.
Aunt Susan