These guys would go in back of the dining facility on FOB Marez and get whole crates full of fruit that wasn’t too spoiled for human consumption — just too spoiled to serve to paying customers; then they’d throw it, as hard as they could, at Iraqi cops and soldiers as we slowed down to go through their checkpoints. By that point in the deployment, they were mad at the whole idea of Iraq, and it let them blow off some steam in a harmless way. Meanwhile the Iraqis would run for the peaches because, hey, free peaches. The anger did not translate.
We didn’t go to Kurdistan all that much. When we did go, it was like driving to another country — you half expected to see a K-Mart around the next corner. It was the only place in Iraq that I ever saw an actual gas station, instead of children selling pop bottles full of gasoline on the side of the road. No craters, no blown up buildings. Just a village like the one we’re about to enter.