Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hotel Camp Fallujah: The Anthem of Those in Iraq

Note: A somewhat skimish scene occurs after the line "No shower shoes outside your trailer." Looking away is advised for senesitive audience members.

Hotel Camp Fallujah is a parody of the famous Hotel California by The Eagles. Hotel Camp Fallujah is half-joke, half-lament on the flux which enters the lives of those deployed. The song describes the dangers, loneliness, spoiled self-importance, and weirdness who operate on a forward operation base. The lyrics below are on version of the song. The meanings are explained after the lyrics.

On this crap desert highway, hot wind in my face
Everything smells just like low-tide, garbage all over the place
Up ahead in the distance, a dead donkey eaten by dogs
I swear there’s a wire coming out of its butt leading over behind some logs

IDF at the CMOC, the Muj at the FDC
Giving chocolate to the children, then getting hit by an IED
And the freedom bird for re-deployments so far away
Wake me up it’s the same old thing, it’s Ground Hog’s Day


Welcome to the Hotel Camp Fallujah
We’re in Iraq again, but it’s garrison
We’re livin it up at the Hotel Camp Fallujah
Said we’ll bring the fight, don’t turn on bright light

There she stood in the doorway, but you know she can’t come in
Someone shit in the shower, with Camp Grizzly Gestapo you can’t win
Salsa night just got cancelled, no boys and girls can’t touch
They took away the Coor’s Cutter too, I think that’s a bit much

Can’t buy clothes at the PX, everything’s extra-large
Can’t get by the Ugandans, they’re the ones charge here in-
No shower shoes outside your trailer, or get crotch-rot on your feet
No lobster tails at the DFAC-2, what the hell am I supposed to eat


Welcome to the Hotel Camp Fallujah
Go get your groove on, in the porta-john
There’s plenty to do at the Hotel Camp Fallujah
We’re in a combat zone, go get your ice cream cone

My mind must be terribly twisted, is she a nine or a ten
But we all know when she’ll be back to a three when we get back to the states
Wait in line to check email, you shant log in to My-space
Send that guy to the corpsman, he’s got some fungus on his face.

The first paragraph is fairly self-explanatory. Iraq is a third world country and sanitation is severely lacking. Seeing dead animals on the road side in the same spot for days is not uncommon. Terrorists have used this to their advantage by planting IEDs into the carcases on road kill.

IDF is indirect fire, most of the time being mortar fire. Most bases are away from Iraqi population centers so gun fire and grenades are out of the question. But the large ex-military population with plenty of arms floating around has allowed al Qaeda in Iraq, Mahdi Army, and others to have mortar or rocket teams that will periodically fire randomly at bases. IDF is a daily event for some bases.

Muj is slang for "Mujahideen" and its singular form "Mujahid" meaning "holy warrior." The more religious-bent insurgents call themselves mujahideen because they believe they are fighting a jihad against the "Americans, Zionist, Christians, and the apostate Iraqi government." The American military has unfortunately continues to call many of these groups mujahideen when communicating to Iraqis. In the end the military is saying "We are here to fight God's Holy Warriors." Iraqis meanwhile call the Muj terms like scum or criminals.

The freedom bird for redeployment is the flight one takes back to return to the United States.

The line "Don't turn on bright lights" comes from signs on bases like Balad and others which are frequently targets of indirect fire. Insurgent teams will look for light to train the sights on.

Men and women work together on bases and many times sleep in rooms next to each other. However, the Army and Marines have rules about the opposite gender entering in one's room. Local military police, with little better to do, enforce this rule with a passion.

Ugandans form a large group of foreigners on many bases. They are used as private contractors who man the various base checkpoints so military personnel may be used elsewhere. According to the Christian Science Monitor there are about 10,000 Ugandans serving in Iraq. This makes Uganda the second biggest deployer to Iraq with almost two and a half more people serving than the United Kingdom.

Yes, Wednesday or Friday nights at some bases really are steak and lobster night. Ice cream is also available on many of the permanent bases.

There is a saying called "desert beauty" that men claim affects their judgment of women when deployed to Iraq or elsewhere. On a military base the ratio of men to women can be between 50:1 or even higher. In time men will claim any woman will start to look good. This leads to the desert beauty effect where men will inflate how attractive a woman is.

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