Just as we began to think the war in Iraq was finishing up and the President weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, a new, much more sinister threat has risen. The last dust storm brought with it a wave of Demon Wolves and they are much more deadly than I expected. They already wiped out the Class I building, (which stores extremely important life-sustaining supplies such as Doritos and Gatorade), and I think their next target will be the latrine. Our weapons are useless against them. My interpreter and I cornered one once but he couldn't interpret anything except for some demonic snarls. He just got frustrated and threw rocks at it until it dissappeared.
Other than that things are going well here. It's starting to get cooler (80's to mid 90's), and even pretty nippy at night. I finally got out of the base and saw some of the countryside. It was kind of sad to see how violence is a way of life here. There are barbed wire, barriers, and checkpoints all over the place. Nevertheless everyone is out and about conducting their daily business. Though, I suppose you can't expect any better for a country torn apart by a war and sectarian violence.
I also had a few great opportunities to practice my Arabic and I completely bombed all of them. I tried to learn some food names at an Iraqi restaurant and everyone just ended up laughing at me, then I tried to get a screwdriver from an Iraqi without my interpreter and after a crazy dance and a bunch a gestures I got him to bring me a wrench. The worst was when I asked an American soldier a question and he replied with "3" in Arabic, which I've definitely learned before, and I didn't have a clue what he was saying. One of the interpreters called me out on not practicing my Rosetta Stone enough. He was right, I've only done an hour over the last two weeks. Busted.