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More letters from Campu Bucca, Iraq

by Jeff Smith

 

Editor’s note: Senior Airman Jeff Smith is an HPU student deployed to Iraq, stationed at Camp Bucca. He was introduced in February in volumn No. 29, issue no 2.

 

 

Things inside the internment facility have been running fairly smoothly. While some of the detainees like Americans and are here for being at the “wrong place, wrong time,” the majority of the detainees are all here under one common thing: They’ve done something, or tried to harm U.S. Military and Coalition forces.

It is pretty wild to come to work everyday, and interact face to face with these people. I personally, never thought I’d be in this situation. They outnumber us by the thousands, and patrolling the compounds watching these people mock us and gesture at us, on a daily basis gets old really fast. The look of hatred and ignorance that these people possess is a shame, but you have to remain professional all the times and show them that our intentions are good. These individuals receive full meals, have access to books, clothing, shoes, hygiene, climate controlled compounds, and electricity. We do all of this as well as give them the best health care we have. For being the so-called enemy, these guys have it good here.

We have been here exactly two months now, and there are rapid changes going on at Camp Bucca. Since the Air Force came in, there have been many new rules added to try to make things safer for everyone. New security measures have been added, and although some things have been beneficial, others have become quite a nuisance! But in the military, that’s typical whenever new leadership comes in. Everybody wants to change something, tweak a few things, kind of “leave their mark” in this place. Changes always create mixed emotions, but like anything else, you get used to it and it becomes second nature.

As I close this for now, I hope that each person who reads this can understand and look at the whole picture. Many people might say that we shouldn’t be here, or that we’re only here for the oil, or to maintain “world dominance.” Iraq is a country that has a lot of catching up to do, and although it may take decades to do this, we can only hope that our presence here will have an impact, not only on the detainees that I look after, but on the population as a whole.


2005, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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