Buried Treasure in Iraq
Several days ago, our General received information that there might be something buried under a building. So once again we mounted up and headed out.
Once we arrived at our destination, our General and his entourage met up with another General and his entourage and we retreated to an office that only the primary leaders occupied. In typical Iraqi fashion, business was not the first thing discussed. We drank chai, talked in our small groups and watched the afternoon prayers on the television. The Generals got up and went into their private rooms, each to pray.
An hour later, we gathered in another room to a moderate spread of food. Just like many dinners before, there were plates of fish, chicken, vegetables, dates, fruit, bread and soup. Another hour later we went back into the Generals office.
We sat back down, drank shots of espresso (we share one cup that is passed around and filled by the Generals helper. The espresso is boiling hot. I never fail to burn my lips and tongue) and then more chai.
What followed was one of the weirdest things I have been part of since I have been to Iraq. The General that hosted us reached into his desk and grabbed a small aerosol bottle of cologne. He walked around the room standing in front of each of the dozen or so guests and sprayed us with the cologne. It was a heavy, flowery scent, typical of the perfumes and colognes worn in Iraq. Everyone got a good 2-3 second burst. So weird.
Two hours after arriving and smelling good, we began our mission: To search for G-O-L-D! A couple of our guys broke out the engineering grade metal detectors and started looking. Sure enough, the identified a large metal rectangular object buried part way under the building where we were standing.
Once something was identified as being buried underground, the two Generals walked away and began a private discussion.
We joked about what they might be saying, “Ok, look, if there really is gold here, I am the higher ranking general, so I get 60, you get 40 and you pay the guys digging out of your share of the gold not to tell anyone about it. If it turns out to be the Weapons of Mass Destruction the Americans kept talking about, it’s your problem.”
And then we left. Just like that, we got in our Humvees and headed back home.
At least the food was good.