This year’s Association of American University Presses conference was held in Salt Lake City. Between the panel discussions on social networking and the new Chicago Manual of Style – ‘Q: Can I use the first person? A: Evidently’ – I wandered over to the old Fort Douglas military base, which closed in 1991 and is now a museum.
There’s a photo exhibition of Utah service personnel in the Middle East entitled Utahns in Iraq: a young woman, who looked about 16, waiting to see a doctor at a forward operating base, dressed in civvies but with an M16 across her lap; a soldier talking to a Basra resident whose very young daughter had been hit by a rifle butt during a raid. ‘I guess it’s a lot like home,’ one of them wrote, ‘a bunch of churches in the middle of the desert.’ Also on display, rather more surprisingly, are the boots of Saddam Hussein, retrieved by Utahn soldiers as the former dictator was pulled from his spiderhole in 2004.