The inside skinny on British food, cola and wanting to come home

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guest Column by Thomas More

Well, my tour is almost up out here, and I thought I’d take some time to answer some questions I have been asked while stationed in Iraq.

Some of the answers are my sad attempt to be funny, and some are serious, but all are my own.

I have not edited the questions in any way.

Hope you enjoy!

Q: Thomas, how do you feel about the war, and do you think we’ve accomplished what we set out to do?

A: OK, smart guy, that’s two questions.

Right off the bat, you hit me with not one, but two, zingers.

Seriously though, I think it’s a necessary evil.

War is the final step in the diplomatic process.

I have no personal views on the war, simply because I’m in the military. I don’t have the luxury of a personal opinion.

My country calls me to do a job, and I do it. Plain and simple.

As for whether or not we’ve accomplished our mission: Well, we got rid of Saddam.

We’re trying to ensure a democratic Iraq, but in the end, it’s their choice.

Iraq can choose to open its borders to al-Qaeda, or to Iranian influence, or to Lebanese influence or to whomever.

In the end, it’s their choice.

We (the United States) can give them the tools. They have to decide whether or not to use those tools, and we can’t govern the country for them.

Q: Is the British food really all that bad?

A: Don’t be silly.

Not at all!

Most of their main courses revolve around puddings or pies, and who doesn’t like puddings and pies? I know I do!

There’s black pudding, which tastes like liquefied sausage. There’s steak and kidney pie, which tastes a bit like feet. There’s another dish that has a very unfortunate name, which proper decorum prevents me from mentioning here, although it is said to be a favored desert. I just can’t get past the name to try it. And then there’s Haggis, which is intestines stuffed with — well, you get the picture.

Q: You usually have to wear your body armor out there to protect you from rocket shrapnel and gunfire during the day, but what do you wear when you go to sleep?

A: Just my gun belt — and, yes, it chafes.

Q: You just made up that last question.

A: That wasn’t a question. That was a statement of opinion. C’mon people, work with me here!

Q: What are you going to do when you get back home?

A: That’s a great question! Here’s my list:

Sleep for 36 hours straight;

Hug Cindy Lou approximately 28 times;

Give kisses to all the ladies down at Parker Drugs for all the cool stuff they sent;

Have a Swiss Cheeseburger;

Wait on tables at Parker Drugs;

Have a cigarette with Audrey;

Give Res a high-five;

Tell Res I’m not going to give him a kiss, in spite of all the extremely cool stuff he sent, because he’s a dude;

Make arrangements for more work to be done on my house;

Make arrangements to go to some place tropical for a vacation, where they serve drinks with little umbrellas in them;

Stop by Fred’s with Scott and Michelle and meet Kirby;

Show Kyle a picture of the very cool bumper sticker I put on the General’s SUV;

Get a Jacuzzi installed in my back yard — I could go on and on;

Q: Do the Brits all sound like Austin Powers?

A: In my mind, yes, they do.

Q: What’s the absolute coolest thing you’ve done out there?

A: It’s a simple thing really. I once gave a kid a sip of Coca-Cola. For some reason, we can’t always have running water or even electricity, but we can get Coke in glass bottles. Go figure.

Anyway, I gave this kid, who looked to be about 6, a sip, and he looked at me in awe, while a very large smile broke out across his face. I gave him the rest, and watched him run off to show his friends. His father, who was with him, told me that his son had never had a soft drink before.

That was a pretty cool thing.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: Everything.

THOMAS MORE is the pseudonym of an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Navy, who makes his home in Franklin and serves in Iraq. He has been granted anonymity in order to avoid compromising his security or that of his mission or the nation. Questions for More may be sent to