They don’t have paper towels at COP Shocker — you have to dry your hands with toilet paper.
There are camouflage Bibles available, I’m assuming for free.
There are signs everywhere warning soldiers to mind secret documents to avoid being the next wikileaker. (CORRECTION: I was informed that these notes just use Wikileaks as a reference. It’s about not giving away mission-specific information or base information that might endanger them or anyone else here. I needed an Army translator to understand the note!)
There are multiple copies of one of Bill O’Reilly’s book on one of the shelves here, like a case was shipped in for the soldiers.
The food is good, particularly breakfast. And it’s all you can eat. Soldiers live for mealtimes, because here there are no weekends.
Call of Duty — this is the strangest thing — I have seen and heard more soldiers shooting and killing digital enemies than I could have imagined. There’s a certain irony in soldiers relaxing on their deployment by trying to shoot things.
There are dogs in between the outer wall of the base and the barbed wire barrier 50 feet out. Lots of dogs. Somehow last night two made it up onto the wall. I couldn’t get my camera out in time, unfortunately.
There are minefields all around from the Iran-Iraq War. As the oil companies come in to drill they hire people to clear the mines.
The bathroom trailer doesn’t have potable water. There are big warnings not to brush your teeth on all the mirrors.
Every Iraqi I met today was incredibly gracious. Of course I was with a heavily armed group of soldiers, so that may have weighed into it.
There are spray hoses in the toilet stalls, if you so choose to use it. This is the first base I’ve seen that.
There was an old bunker on a hill near the border crossing, again from the Iran-Iraq War. A lieutenant colonial told me the locals now use it as a toilet.
The governments of Iraq and Iran allow cross-border trade, but not for trucks to go across. The goods are all taken out of the truck in one country and put in a truck in the other country by hand.
The mountains in Iran have snow on them, clearly visible from the border. They jut out of the desert as Iraq ends.