Greetings from Kuwait! This post is gonna be quick and dirty and not very coherent because I'm writing to you from a Kinko's at the Kuwait City airport. After two days on the plane, I arrived here around midnight and, since I can't even begin to try to arrange to get picked up until 6 am tomorrow morning, I'll be spending the rest of the night in a Barca-lounger in the airport offices of Kellogg, Brown & Root. How surrealistic is that!
Here's my first dispatch:
The Great American Dream still exists -- in Iraq!
You know how we all thought that the American economy was going down-hill? It's not true! We're just not looking in the right places. Look closer -- the 1950s American economic miracle isn't dead. It's still going on. People are still getting well-paying jobs. Mortgages are still being paid off. Jobs are available everywhere. You can find one just for the asking. Three cars in your garage? No problem. No money worries, no debts. Decent jobs are out there begging. Yes, the 1950s American economic miracle is still happening.
Only it's happening in Iraq.
How spooky, how weird, how de-ja-voo. While American cities are rotting and American children go to sleep hungry at night, there still is a land -- far far away -- where everything is as it was before our present economic American Easter egg cracked.
Where is this simple, illusionary, holiday place? Iraq.
Yesterday, escorted by two large handsome bodyguard cameramen supplied by the San Francisco Chronicle, I took a BART train to the San Francisco airport and boarded a plane to Amsterdam.
"Jane, your flight from Amsterdam to Kuwait has been canceled," said the guy at the KLM check-in counter. "Would you mind spending a night in Holland?"
Would I mind? Hecka no! But when I got to Amsterdam, they told me something else. "Tomorrow's flight has been canceled but you can still get on yesterday's flight." Huh? "And it leaves in two hours." So I trundled off to Gate D-7 -- and while I was waiting for yesterday's flight, I chit-chatted with four really nice Department of Defense and Blackwater "contractors". They talked about perks.
"I'm making a fabulous salary."
"I've saved up enough to put my daughters through college. And also my wife!"
"We have a mini-van, a sedan and an SUV."
"I just got back from a week at Disney World and next year we're taking the family to Europe."
Sounds just like the good old days, doesn't it. Guys working hard, guys getting ahead.
On the flight from Holland to Kuwait, the entire PLANE was filled with contractors, pursuing the American Dream -- in Iraq.
Who am I to try to put an end to this perfect world -- just because it is based on the quicksand of a million dead bodies?
"Not I," said this little white duck.
On the way to Kuwait, I watched an in-flight movie entitled "Bobby" -- about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. And what RFK said in that film hit the nail exactly on the head. "Too often, we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings."
PS: While I was flying across the Atlantic, getting leg cramps, eating rubber chicken and watching "Casino Royal," I also read an article in The Guardian about the ghastly slaughter that is happening right now in Darfur. Don't even get me started on that one -- wondering who else is making a profit off of all those grisly deaths.
Here's an article on me featured in the San Francisco Chronicle!
Got any extra Kevlar for my trip to Iraq? If you wanna contribute to my Kevlar fund, I now have a PayPal account. Go to https://www.paypal.com/, click on "send money" and type in email@example.com where it says "to". Thanks