I want to introduce you to one of my Iraqi Counterparts. “The Ladies Man”. He is a Warrant Officer, which act somewhat like Senior NCOs. As far as planning is concerned that is, they don’t have direct interaction with the lower enlisted though. I’m not sure what to make of their role.
Me and The Ladies Man hit it off right away. He’s a likable, handsome, good natured, well humored Iraqi “country boy” with a bushy mustache. One of the ‘terps called him a country boy once. He’s always got a smile… “Agh! Wilson! Shlonek?...Zein?” “Habibi!”, he calls me.* He is attentive to his job. He’s on top of things, for the most part, he works the gate. If there is something out of the ordinary he gets a worried look on his face and looks to me , for example we don’t allow Gun Trucks into the compound. Once I had agreed to let one on for a special reason, he didn’t understand what me and the South African guys had agreed to, but, I said OK and he nodded slowly and said “OK…OK, zein.” And a thumbs up.**
I was on leave when the guys went to the range with him. I heard his pistol shooting is a sight to see. He kept putting his thumb behind the slide in an indescribable fashion with his arm cocked funny. The slide from his Glock took the skin off of his thumb with each shot. They tried to show him how to hold it, but it was no use. He had to get patched up after firing.
I call him The Ladies Man for several reasons. He likes women. His eyes dart around the pages of a Maxim, he beams when ever a female comes through the gate. He’s giddy to have his picture taken with one. It goes on and on. He has a masculine profile, is naively good natured, well manicured and smells nice. Once I gave him a ride to the Iraqi “Super Market” where he insisted I have something sweet***. The Super market refuses payment from Americans…It’s a gift. He tries several aerosol colognes. He looks serious; you can see the debate in his mind…”the musky one or the muskier one?” He breaks into a grin, he found the one. In the truck he fiddles with a few odds and ends he got then sprays the cologne onto his self. I turn to say something to him…Our funny Pigeon language of English/Arabic…I get a mouth full of the cologne. He’s spraying me down with a beaming grin. “Ha! Wilson, good, very good!”. He’s laughing and I’m trying to get the stuff out of my mouth.
He’s the one that wanted me to marry into his tribe that time. I said I couldn’t do that, that I would need an interpreter for everything we would do. I could see Rhino, the scruffy face terp with a drab, unpleasant manner lying between the two of us in bed with the covers pulled up to his chin. “She says good night, habibi”. A few minutes later, “She asks when you going to turn off light. You know light? You shine it on book to read. It bother her eyes.”
He carries on about his carnal desires. Makes obscene mouth gestures at the girls in the magazine, but is quite a gentleman around them.
You would think that he would have at least two wives. He makes enough to support them, others do on his income. But, once it came up in conversation…he held up one finger. So, I joke to myself besides his going on about his verilness he is hen pecked at home, not allowed to look at other women etc. etc. Maybe there are no more relatives left. Iraqis distrust each other so much; they will only marry someone close sometimes. Like a relative such as a cousin. If from a plural marriage, maybe a half cousin. I had to explain to an Iraqi Major one night that in American cousins aren’t allowed to marry. I also explained what 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins were.
I’ve rode with him once. After going to a Security meeting once he asked to drive. So, I let him. He sat behind the wheel like a Grand Mother, looking at the road the same way he looked at the cologne. We’re passing someone on the traffic circle…blow the horn, grin, wave…go back to the serious look. Yep, he’s something else.
The Iraqi Lt.
Yesterday we were on the range with some new Jundi’s we’ve been training up. I was running it, being the one that gave the commands. The Iraqi Lt. kept barking commands as I was trying to relay commands through a terp. I had messed up at first and was in the process of getting things straight and here this Lt. is barking something different at them. Finally I blurted out “who’s running the damn range?!” The Captain then told the terp to tell the Lt. to stand back and stay quiet. He didn’t say it any worse than I did. He would have been fine help, but, I was running the range and he was confusing the Jundis. I get everything in order and the Lt. is walking around behind the range. I get aggravated with this guy because he is never here. He shows up a couple of days out of the month, yells at the Jundis and takes off a couple of days later. So, the Captain go’s and smoothes things out with the Lt. After the range we all grin and say Shukran, Kuola Zein. The Lt. shakes the Capt.’s hand, but, wouldn’t look me in the eye. I made him lose face. I’ve bee rather patient, but, the slightest thing sends them sulking. The range is the wrong place to assert your superiority. The relationship may never be repaired. He doesn’t hang around long enough for it to. I have two masters here, the American People and the Iraqi People. So, I have to be honest, he is NOT a good Officer. Very few of them are.
I hit my groove after the second shot series and everything worked well.
*Habibi means “my love” which is reserved for anyone your close to. Some will say for either sex and some will say for the opposite sex. But, men aren’t allowed to be close to women because women are beneath men. Even in marriage. T. E. Lawrence sad this caused homosexual relations between them.
**I was taught before this means “Up yours!” but, they have realized it is a good thing to Americans.
*** They have a big sweet tooth. I’ve been told by mercenaries that have been here two or three years that Pepsi is one o the greatest currency’s you can have out on the roads. Their food is not very spicy, but, when it’s sweet its sweet.
That’s enough for now. Hey! Wanna read a good one? Go here.