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Mullings Goes to War
Monday, October 27, 2003
Aboard Delta Flug 067
Zürich to JFK
MULLINGS will be taking a break for the next two to four months because I will be in Iraq for the next two to four months.
If everything goes according to plan, just about this time next week I would be winging my way east as a civilian employee of the United States Department of Defense with the task of helping to see that the full story of what the US is accomplishing and what the Iraqis are accomplishing in Iraq is being told to viewers, listeners, and readers in America and around the world.
This week will be devoted to various physical exams, filling out even more paperwork, buying whatever items folks already there think I'll need to bring along, and packing.
I am not being heroic. If you believe, as I do, that we are at war and if you believe, as I do, that if your country asks you to use your skills in the waging of that war, then there is only one answer: "When do I leave?"
I will be one small spoke in a fairly large and complex series of wheels which have already begun to turn in the right direction without any help from me.
For the reasons I explained in a note to Mullings advertisers last week, (click here to see the "Memo to Advertisers") Mullings cannot proceed in its normal fashion while I am overseas.
It has to with that pesky Ethics in Government Act to which, it seems, full-time employees of the federal government are subject.
I will, however, try mightily to produce a regular - perhaps weekly - update of what I have been doing and seeing. This, according to the Pentagon Office of General Counsel, is legal so long as I am not paid for the effort.
The Iraq Travelogues, therefore, will be sent to you without advertising and will not count against your subscription time. As an example, if I am in Baghdad for three months and your subscription was due for renewal in February; it will now not be due until three months later; in May.
For those who have joined in during the current Fall Subscription Drive you will not be due for renewal until January 2005 instead of October 2004.
To avoid any conflict, no subscriptions will be accepted after this coming Friday.
I do not know what the living conditions will be and I do not know what technological challenges I will encounter. But I am certain I will be unable to answer the 150-250 e-mails per day I typically receive from Mullings readers.
This e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org will be turned off at the end of this week (to what, I expect, will be the huge disappointment of spam generators worldwide) because e-mails would otherwise simply pile up on the server and the chances of my plowing through them upon my return are approximately zero.
So, that's the drill. Thirty-something years after I first arrived at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for eight weeks of basic training, I will spend one day at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia; take yet another oath promising to defend the United States of America; hop on a plane to Europe; transfer to a flight bound for one of our allies in the Persian Gulf area; thence be flown aboard military transport to Baghdad.
I am honored by this opportunity. I pray I will be worthy of the confidence our government has shown in me.
As long haul truckers used to say during the Citizen's Band radio craze of the '70's, "Keep it between the white lines; I'll catch you on the bounce."
Today's Secret Decoder Ring page is the memo I sent to advertisers.
Copyright © 2003 Richard A. Galen
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