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Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


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Diversions Are Important in Iraq

March 9, 2006
4:30 p.m.

Diversions Are Important in Iraq.

The food.

Let’s see. How should I describe it. In a word, unbelievable. As an aside, I can’t say this is tru for all of Iraq but for at least of the three bases that I have seen, rest assured our soldiers are eating well. In fact, and this is the weird part, some tell me they are eating too well.

In order to test this theory out, I have tried to use myself as a test subject. I have been eating at a rate that IO find astounding. The amount and quality of food is incredible. You want a pork chop. They got a pork chop. Rice. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruit. Anything you want.

Here is the one big surprise. At the end of every meal, Baskin Robbins is available. Not just available in my mind, I would argue that it is almost mandatory. In fact, I believe that since my arrival, when I am on a base, I have eaten more Baskin Robbins here in Iraq then I have probably consumed in the last 20 years. I’m not joking.

Talking to one soldier yesterday, he told me that he did have one concern about the food. He was afraid that he may not fit into his uniform if he is not careful an thinks that if he stays much longer, his parents may not recognize him once he gets home.

Obviously, he is joking . . . a little bit.

Morale is very important in a war zone. It gives the troops a break from the intensity of the battle, a diversion from the monotony that comes from living day to day here, and a vacation from the Spartan living conditions.

Extra Curricular Activities.

Rule One for military personnel: No alcohol. No sex. Really! I’ve asked multiple soldiers about this rule. They all look at me with a weird look. I suspect the alcohol is not easy to get. The sex, well. I have no personal knowledge (this is for my lovely bride) but have a feeling that there are young men and women here and that the Pentagon can make all of the rules that they want but things happen. In fact, one young sergeant told me that that is pretty easy to get. Go figure . . .

Other rules. Last night a movie was playing for the troops: Blackhawk Down. Of course, considering the fact that I will be on a Blackhawk myself in the coming hours, I must admit that I found a little dark humor in that.


Of course, I already mentioned the karaoke in a previous blog. Enough said.

Work Out Opportunities:

Besides weightlifting, there is one truly unique option for working out. Swimming! However, as far as I can tell from the Green Zone, the only available pool is Saddam’s pool. Now, I should add that I myself have taken a dip in that pool. Oh come on! You’re trying to tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing?

Often times, the biggest diversion of all for these men and women is work. You heard me. They are often working 12-15 hours a day, and 6-7 days a week. They are so busy, they have little time to get into their beds and realize just how much they are missing at home. But when it is late at night and nobody is around, I bet they still know . . .