On Iraqi attitudes toward the power shortage: "...it's always easier to sit in the dark in an un-air conditioned room and curse America."Of the 9/11 attacks, Vincent wrote, "I stood that morning on the roof of my building in lower Manhattan and watched United Airlines Flight 175 strike the south tower of the World Trade Center. At that moment, I realized my country was at war -- because of the 1993 attack on the Trade Center, I figured our enemy was Islamic terrorism -- and I wanted to do my part in the conflict. I'm too old to enlist in the armed services, so I decided to put my writing talents to use."
"Civil libertarians may squirm, but many Iraqis view respect for the police and army as fundamental to nurturing a democratic spirit. (Once upon a time, most Americans did too, before the era of "pigs" and "baby-killers.")
"I don't mean to paint a bleak picture of Basra or its residents. Well, maybe I do. It's painful to watch so many people persist in self-defeating behavior, especially considering that with its potential revenues from oil, agriculture, and tourism, Basra could become the next Bahrain, Dubai, or, for all we know, Orlando.
" 'Liberation brought us freedom of the press,' an Iraqi journalist once told me. 'And as long as you don't probe into matters like civic corruption, organized crime, or the religious parties, you're free not to be killed.' "
"And that's the way it is. For every step responsible Basrans move forward — a gradually improving security situation, glimmers of economic development, some political leaders who are beginning to understand they must provide benefits for their constituents — irresponsible, ignorant, and frequently violent elements drag the city backwards. A race, or competition, exists between the forces of enlightened synergy and progress and traumatized entropy and decay."
And a bit of premonition: "I can no longer wander the streets, take a cab, or dine in restaurants for fear of being spotted as a foreigner: Kidnapping, by criminal gangs or terrorists, remains a lucrative business. Instead, for safety’s sake, I’m tied to my hotel, dependent on expensive drivers, unable to go anywhere without Iraqi escort. 'You really shouldn’t be here at all,' a British-embassy official warned me."
Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.