Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Back To Iraq

The second trip to Iraq was a sort of watershed. The first time in the country Kirk was trying to get a feel for things. He still wasn't totally committed to the company; he had the option to return to his old job if he wanted. He wasn't exactly looking for reasons to say no - he wanted this to work - but he didn't want to blindly dive in either.

He came back to Turkey with a fistful of contacts and a lot of enthusiasm. He had talked to local Iraqis and to military commanders. He had figured out some of the delivery problems, renegotiated a few deals that were in crisis, and run his guard shack design ideas past a few people who had been unanimously enthusiastic.

He also had driven the roads and walked the street. Before he went in I know he had been nervous - excited and challenged of course, but understandably edgy about heading into a war zone. When he came back he had real experience to lay against those fears, and perhaps he felt he understood them at least a little bit.

What I know about that second trip in is anecdotal as usual - Kirk once again telling the story, sketching out the most exciting or interesting pieces of his adventure. Like the afternoon he spent as a German eye doctor.

There was a road block apparently, tying up dozens of local Iraqis, and Kirk. I don't know if he was alone - I got the impression that he had an Iraqi employee with him - but I do know the cars were being searched, and Kirk had no desire to produce his American passport and id in front of a mixed group of Iraqi men. He was already in a bit of difficulty because he had a hand-gun with him, and the guards were talking about confiscating it. Apparently this was a positive thing for him though, because it roused the sympathy of the men around him.

Still, when asked for his name and nationality he didn't want to trot out his US background. So he said he was German. It can't have been the hardest sell in the world, to convince a group of bored American guards and a mixed lot of Iraqi nationals that you are actually Herr von Ackermann from Germany. Ah, but why was Herr von Ackermann there? Well... it's really Herr Doktor von Ackermann sir... and I'm a ... doctor... an eye doctor. Yup, I'm here in a humanitarian effort to see that the fine Iraqi people do not go another day without opthamalogical help.

It was a brilliant ruse, and worked beautifully. He was allowed to keep the gun, he was not asked for papers, and the guards stopped searching the car.

However he had to spend the next hour solemnly examining the eyes of every last Iraqi man at that roadblock.


child2 said...

I didn't hear that one! that's great, just like dad. lucky he spoke German.

Child 1 said...

Next German class will have a bit of a different ring to it...

For Kirk said...

Think of it as inspiration - and study your ocular nouns please. Also, any adjectives having to do with 'sharp,' 'blurry,' 'clouded,' or 'completely dark.' You never know.