Multi-National Forces-Iraq turns over Camp Victory, the US military headquarters, to Iraq in December this year. The Washington Post has a fair, balanced article looking at what Camp Victory has become – both physically and symbolically:
Over the years, what is officially Victory Base Complex grew to be a well-guarded cocoon, with a hospital, electrical grid and bottled-water plant, ringed by 27 miles of blast walls and concertina wire. Troops living in far worse conditions in outlying areas could come for R&R and sit by one of its pools. Others came and went on their tours without ever once venturing outside the walls of the base into Baghdad itself.
The article points out a lot of the history that surrounds the base: places where Medal of Honor actions took place, Saddam’s jail cell, and the Al Faw palace where leaders directed the war.
Then there is the lighter side – the “Conan the Barbarian” chair, the bat cones, and the man-eating carp for instance.
Yes, I spent a lot of my Iraq time at Camp Victory (as a contractor working out of Al Faw). As such I have many memories of the base, both good and bad. But my sentimental feelings only go so far. I would not want to be with the detail closing the place out. No matter how stable the country has become.