December 31, 2005
Despite the stentorian intonation, Kerrys new suggestions for what to do in Iraq simply outlined what the United States is in fact already doing: training Iraqis, providing protection for the ongoing constitutional process, talking to regional neighbors, trying to get the Europeans involved in the Middle East, and hunting down terrorists on the Afghan borders.
My husband always blows up at the TV when some naysayer pundit says that what we really need to be doing in Iraq is training Iraqis to take over the job themselves so we can go home. My husband arrived in Iraq in March 2004, and this policy was already in effect. Iraqi solders went everywhere with American soldiers, and after the Transfer of Authority that summer, the official policy was to let Iraqi soldiers do as much of the work as possible. My husband says that American soldiers often grumbled that taking the Iraqis along was too much work, that it was easier for them to just go on a raid alone than to drag the Iraqis with and help them learn how to do it. But the constant refrain in my husband's battalion was "Unless you want to come back for OIF 10, you'd better teach these Iraqis how to do your job."
The policy since Day 1 was to train Iraqis to protect their own country. My husband was already doing it nearly two years ago; why do all these pundits think they're offering a solution the military has never thought of?
(Also read VDH's The Plague of Success: "It is chic now to deprecate the Iraqi security forces, but they are doing a lot more to kill jihadists than the French or Germans who often either wire terrorists money, sell them weapons, or let them go." Heh.)
December 02, 2005
Still, I gained a better appreciation of permanence after I read the book 7 Tattoos. And I did get tickled knowing that the Fellowship of the Ring all got the same elvish tattoo. I suppose if a tattoo means something or represents an event, it's better than the Tasmanian Devil. But I will say that the most touching tattoo story I've heard comes from Iraq.
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