In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.
It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage - which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks - as an opportunity.
"It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized," he said.
And agree they do. Every day, soldiers take the plunge for the Lord and come up clean for the first time in weeks.
"They do appear physically and spiritually cleansed," Llano said.
First, though, the soldiers have to go to one of Llano's hour-and-a-half sermons in his dirt-floor tent. Then the baptism takes an hour of quoting from the Bible.
Or maybe they were always weird, anyway. Or maybe this is some sort of hoax...I mean..how could this be allowed?