Iraq Care Package
 

Iraq Care Package

I have a friend who currently serves in northern Iraq. He used to write regularly, but sometime around March this year the emails stopped coming. It wasn't until a couple of days ago that I heard from him again, and his letter could be summed up as:

  • I'm fine, thanks for your caring...

  • ...but there's no chocolate here. Please send some.

So I allocated a chocolate & stuff budget and went to the US Embassy Homepage[a] to figure out what regulations applied when sending a couple of kilos of sweets to Iraq via the US. There were no explicit instructions there, but then again I'll grant that this may not be the most common type of shipments. I did however figure out that you had to file a prior notice with the FDA via their web portal.

Which was broken. My account could not be created.

Waiting to the next day seemed to have solved the problems, but not even the Lord himself could possibly manage to fill in the information required for a prior notice, or want to bet $100 that the package would not be destroyed upon arrival to the US due to improperly filled out field.

So I Googled for some web-based service where I could request to have the items shipped to Iraq. All I found was gourmet chocolates, and frankly, gourmet chocolate wrapped in gold packages with a bow in front of soldiers is pearls before swine. I say that with some experience, as I've been filling empty 20mm ammo boxes with all kinds of foodstuffs for personal use a number of times: Quantity before quality applies fairly strictly here. Finding a bulk supplier of candy willing to take orders via the net proved near impossible, though. I could only find references to WebVan and Peapod, and then only declarations of bankruptcy. Clearly, shipping kilos of chocolate to soldiers in Iraq is something of a niche market.

2004-11-04