Death of a Culture: 'What Do We Do With Our Camels?'

Some who participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm may remember Eskan Village outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I see it as one of the best examples of what Congress should have done with Obamacare, what we can no longer do and how we have failed as the people of a nation. Also, I’m originally from Kentucky and a Pisces…. so forgive me a ramble to the point.

When we first got to Saudi Arabia in August 1990 I was in Al Jubal with 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), first living in a warehouse and then moving into a camouflaged area in the middle of a blacktop parking lot with the 7th MEB map stock. It was shaded, we had cots and a nice breeze off the water and everyone left us alone – except for one occasion when General Boomer gave a televised interview in our living space. With the cammy netting it looked like he was somewhere out into the desert. Only a few of us knew where it really was.

In early December while we were still in Desert Shield waiting for the buildup of the Army supply train, I went to Riyadh to be the Marine Intelligence rep to the ARCENT (U.S. Army Forces, Central Command) G-2. That was cool since it gave me the opportunity to grab every report that wasn’t nailed down to fax to MARCENT (U.S. Marine Corps, Central Command). Hey, it’s what we do. They had half the Army supporting them…so why not take advantage. Of note, we were living and later also working in very nice town homes and buildings in Eskan Village.


I don’t know the dates or the complete background, but Eskan Village was originally built for a nomadic Bedouin tribe. The Saudi government built this beautiful (by Saudi standards) fully self sufficient town in the desert outside of Riyadh. It had hundreds of town homes, major buildings for schools and other services, a multi-building market area and a pool. Like I said, they built it entirely for a tribe of Bedouins who had wandered the desert living a life they had lived for centuries. The Bedouins were extremely self sufficient and most would agree of hearty stock.

When Eskan Village was completed, (and here it gets into the story as told to me at Eskan Village) the Saudi government met with the Bedouin leaders to give them the keys to the town homes. Everything was going great until one of the Bedouin leaders asked “Where are the stables?”

“What stables?”

“The stables for our camels?”

“There are no stables for your camels. Your people are expected to give up their camels and settle down here.”

To which the Bedouin leaders said, “Here are your keys back”, and the Bedouins returned to the desert. And that’s why there was a huge, empty town for CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) and ARCENT forces to move into in 1990.


More to the point, what the Bedouin leaders did that day is what, effectively, Congress should have done March 21, 2010 when Obamacare came up for vote. They should have given the Senate back their keys.

We, today’s Americans, would never have crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, Smokey Mountain or entered the Cumberland Gap wilderness. We would never have crossed the central plains. We would never have made it to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, let alone ever considered crossing those mountains to find an inhospitable desert to cross to get to the Pacific Ocean. We, today’s Americans, if we had even made it out of “the old country”, would have sat on top of ourselves along the eastern shoreline; scared to enter the woods or face the unknown continent that lay before us.

For we are now domesticated livestock. No longer willing to risk our warm beds to seek out our fortunes, we live at the beck and call of our government. We do what our government tells us to do, when they tell us to and for whatever reason our government tells us to. We no longer vote in members of a representative government, we are now content to vote in our caregivers.

On March 21, 2010, our caregivers chose comfort over liberty, contentment over freedom, ruling class power over We the People.

In the end, unlike the proud Bedouins, we chose the keys over our camels.