On the return trip from the chow hall this morning, we got to walk through clouds of dust with the consistency of talcum power. That's apparently not going to be unusual in Iraq, thanks to a thin layer of dust that in most places sits on top of what is generally hard ground.

The dust gets stirred up when winds blow even a little more strongly than normal, say, 10 knots. Visibility goes down to about an eigth of a mile, and only enough light gets through to let you know that it is indeed daytime.

Walking through Iraqi dust reminds me of walking through fog in the U.S., except that the dust causes your eyes to water and sting as they try to filter sand particles away from your cornea. I've never really appreciated the value of topsoil until coming to a place where it is so rare.

By Bert Stover |  February 24, 2006; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Al Asad, Iraq
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Get out of Irag. Do yourself a favor and stop nbeing a slave of the Bush military industrial complex. Cheney and carl rove are traders to our country -outting a member of the cia among other crimes . Anyone who serves these mainiacs is just as bad.at the assasins gate.Have a nice day peace on earth

Posted by: Al | February 26, 2006 03:10 PM

As one of your northern neighbors I don't feel I havethe right to criticize your actions in Iraq. However, I must make the observation that the whole mideast area is certainly in a far less stable condition now than prior to the invasion' The whole world seems to be in an uproar.

Posted by: Normacd. | February 27, 2006 11:55 AM

Having spent 2 years in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer and a year between Sharjah and Syria on an oil crew I understand what desert dust is about. Hardship comes with the job in the desert. Reading the above responses, I very much appreciate the work and the spirit which our forces take on their duty. Whether the men agree with the policy or not, its a job that must be done when in the line of service. It for us at home through our votes and our politicians to change the policies. But for the men in the field they need to follow orders and use their judgement as best they can. I was in that area during the 70's and early 80's - some things have changed others have not. I think that one thing that reallly need to be told to the people at home is the level of desperation that exists in Kaos - in the 1700's I remember 13 colonies that took on England (the superpower of the time) and used what were considered "terrorist" tactics. I don't try to justify any of these horrible acts I just want to bring up the point of "desperation" that our news media seems to miss. I'm sure you see it on a daily basis. Chad has advanced 0% since I was there in 1976 - now with the Sudanese refugee situation it's getting worse - would that be the case if Chad was sitting on one of the worlds major oil deposits.

Posted by: Mike | March 15, 2006 11:35 AM

British imperial troops used to hate the dust of asia.

Posted by: pat | March 17, 2006 03:00 PM

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