100 feet over Baghdad
I flew into Baghdad yesterday. We came in to town to bring some soldiers around to see some of the green zone. It was early in the morning so I was a little tired as we left. I started to doze off some when I was shaken awake by the sound of flared being fired off of the chopper. I looked out and saw that we were over Baghdad. Many of the buildings were either destroyed or seriously damages. With very few exceptions all the buildings were tan in color. I don't know if they were designed that way or if it was from a lot of dust. Either one would not have surprised me. Overall I was surprised how rundown the city looked.
Anyway we landed in Baghdad and went around and visited some of the Iraqi monuments in the area. Our first stop was the hands of victory and the famous review stand where we see Saddam review his troops and shoot off his AK. The parade stand had been looted and vandalized. Many windows had been broken and graffiti had been sprayed all over. Looks like it once was a nice place. I was impressed by the unique architecture.
We then went to see the hands of victory. Our tour guide told us it was made from items taken from the Iran-Iraq war. He said that swords were forged from the weapons of fallen Iraqi soldiers,and the base of the monument is covered with the helmets of fallen Iranian soldiers. The speed bumps on the road were also made from Iranian helmets. The monument bothered me. I can't imagine how anyone could make a national tribute out of captured war trophies.
From there we went to the tomb of the unknown soldier. It was made in the shape of a falling Iraqi soldiers shield. Under the shield there was a model representing the 7 layers of heaven. Under the monument there was a museum which was empty except for cases where something should be.
Finally we went to eat lunch in one of Saddam's palaces. We ate and looked around the palace. It was the first palace I have ever been in, really nice. We finished up with a swim in Saddam's pool.
We flew out that night and I got another glimpse of Baghdad from 100 feet. I noticed that there is a huge difference between Saddam's part of Baghdad and the part I flew over. I guess many cities are like that, but this disparity seemed so extreme. I realize that there should be something important to say here but I'm all out of things to say.