03 December 2011

Camp Victory is No More

As I watched the news on Friday about the hand over of Camp Victory to the Iraqis, I mentally walked through the facility again with the camera crews and anchor, reliving my visit there in 2007. Despite the appearance of the elegant building, marble rotunda and columns, gold plated faucets, expansive balconies, and moat (with its' shell-pocked guard tower), the facility is all a facade.

I learned during my visit there in 2007 that the marble covers wall voids filled with trash, the water is non-potable, the swimming pool is empty, much of the wiring is faulty, and that the moat contains giant carp covered with diamond-shaped green scales. The rumor was that Saddam used the carp to dispose of "unwanted refuse." I shot a photo of 2 soldiers and a Marine with their fishing poles that I have included with this post. I was told that fishing in the moat was a common activity during their down time. I just hope they practiced catch-and-release.

The troops I interviewed in 2007 and 2008 told me that they just wanted to finish their mission in Iraq, so that their sons and daughters did not have to return there to fight in another 10 or 20 years. These brave men and women have worked tirelessly to accomplish that goal, and have lost 4483 of their comrades in the process, with another 33,183 wounded. Let's not forget these volunteer warriors and their families. Veterans and their families need our help and support, including employment opportunities. These men and women volunteered to serve our country. We should thank them in every possible way.

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