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Saturday 12th April

There is such a fug here in the streets of Baghdad! A pong! As far as whiffs go, this is one of the worst and fruitiest I've ever had to endure. Our gamy soldiers haven't washed in three or four weeks and have been having a reportedly strenuous time of it (I missed all that, preferring the relative comfort of the foetal posish and the relative safety of the floor of my Bradley vehicle), the temps have been in the low 150s (dropping into the low 130s at night), the mephitic indigenous population has a trembling fear of the washcloth rivaling that of their former French allies, and what passes for state-of-the-art plumbing is little more than an inexpert hole cut into a bicycle seat. Everyone takes turns riding the bike up and down the main thoroughfare. It is not like that Burt Bacharach- drenched scene in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid in the least.

Word has reached our ears that the world's citizens are whining about a perceived looting problem here in liberated Iraq. What piffle! Apparently a few minutes of footage beamed back home make viewers think that's all that's going on, when in truth a whole lot more sexual congress is taking place than they'd ever imagine and some members of the 3rd Mechanized Division are having astonishing success at distilling a lethal spirit from mango pulp and capers. Emails to Bacardi & Company in San Juan, PR, confirm that these fervent young scientists have unlocked a puzzle that Puerto Rico's finest minds have made a dog's breakfast of for the past fifty years. Taking down the fourth wall of booze, as it were. Plus, there are reportedly some Angry Andys still firing at our troops. Looting, forsooth! Turning to other subjects, I must remember to clear a space in my China cabinet when I get home. I bought Tablets 4, 7, and 9 of the Code of Hammurabi and several container-loads of armour, earthenware, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, brass astrolabes, documents written on papyrus, the elaborate seals from Mamluk and Mughal emperors, and so forth, at the bazaar today for all the cash I had in my pocket, two hundred clams. One gets such bargains here! And what an exchange rate! If it weren't for all these Angry Andys, I'd encourage everyone to visit.

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