[ Munir Ibrahim Ismail and his family live on the outskirts of Fallouja, in a trailer home converted from a U.S. military latrine ]
The author of this LA Times piece can’t get over the fact that one of best selling items is the trailer ‘s used by the american’s
in the military for bathrooms….
They go for about $5,000US and are bought by Iraqis and striped down…
Cleaned and turned into living space….
The US Army claims that the movement of equipment OUT OF Iraq to neighboring Afghanistan and back to the US is almost as big as
all the moevement of equipment during World War II….
And they have left hundreds of thousand s of tons of stuff for the Iraqis to buy and sell …
Helping their economy and making brokers rich……
Giving people homes….
That were bathrooms……
“It does disgust us that this used to be a toilet for the invaders,” said Ismail, 34, who lost his home, as well as two brothers, in the 2004 battle between Marines and insurgents for control of Fallouja. “But we didn’t have any other option. It’s the best we could afford.”
As U.S. troops accelerate their withdrawal from Iraq, the military is offloading thousands of tons of unwanted junk accumulated during seven years in the country by selling it to dealers.
And Iraqis are snapping up the stuff at yard sales, weaving the detritus of America’s occupation into the fabric of their daily lives.
A crude wooden hut with “ARMY” stenciled over the door and 16 bunk beds inside — going for $2,000 at one Fallouja yard — might be picked up by a farmer to store grain, said salesman Ali Mahmoud. Others are buying rolls of Hesco wire, used to fortify bases, to erect fences for livestock. Generators and air conditioners are the most sought-after items, and the most profitable for dealers, as Iraqis struggle to cope with hot summer days without electricity.
And then there are the things that GIs buy or bring to ease the daily discomforts of a life far from home. Washing machines, microwaves, satellite dishes, office chairs, a coffee maker and a tattered copy of the Bible lay strewn around another yard on the fringes of the town. A mini-fridge indelibly inscribed with an obscene warning to stay out is for sale for $50.
Only those items that are deemed surplus to American or Iraqi security force requirements are being sold, said Brig. Gen. Gustave Perna, who is in charge of logistics for the U.S. military. They account for a fraction of the vast quantities of equipment being transported out of Iraq, in what U.S. officials are calling their biggest movement of people and machines since World War II.
Much of the withdrawal has already happened, barely noticed by a populace weary of war and more anxious about what comes next than what has gone before. Since troop levels peaked at 166,000 in 2007, about 80,000 have left. An additional 35,000 or so will go in the next two months, in fulfillment of President Obama’s pledge to reduce the size of the force to 50,000 by Sept. 1.
Moving the people is easy, commanders say. It’s the equipment — 1.7 million items from 405 bases — that has posed the biggest logistical challenge. About 1.1 million pieces have been removed, snaking south out of the country at night on convoys bound for Kuwait.
The pace will accelerate in the coming weeks, as the military dispatches 600,000 more items, including tanks, computers, and radar and surveillance equipment, U.S. officials say.