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“I don’t see your @** in my hometown”

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, things appear to be going swimmingly, if this video is any indication:

Since nothing to the contrary has surfaced since the video first appeared on YouTube in late January, I’ll assume it really is of recent vintage. Writing for “Foreign Policy,” Thomas Ricks mentions the video and declares earnestly that there’s a right way to do Iraq, and the wrong way [1], and that this is the wrong way gosh darn it: “everything I’ve seen about Iraqis tells me that publicly disparaging them is not the way to go.”

Well, sure; I don’t think that’s some sort of tribal peculiarity of Iraqis either. But it’s also possible there *is* no right way to “do” Iraq, and that’s what this officer is up against, assuming he cares. “Raise your hand if you’re in the Mahdi militia” is pretty much the definition of admitting you have no idea what’s going on with the people in front of you, you know you never will, you’ve given up pretending you will, and all that’s left is to make an Armed Forces Clueless Home Video about it.

I’m tempted to excerpt it at some length, but it really has to be heard to be believed.  This may be a particularly bad day, or bad assignment.  But it seems to me we’d best be out of there as quickly as possible.  And if it were me, I’d just keep going and get the rest of the “residual” force out of there on the same timetable.  I’m not sure Obama will have much choice.

EDIT, 3/12: title changed to try to avoid the wrong kind of Google hits.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "“I don’t see your @** in my hometown”"

#1 Comment By Thomas Nephew On March 11, 2009 @ 2:09 am

What the heck — here’s some of what he says:

“…you know why I’m pissed off? I come down here with my soldiers to try to train you, and you’re trying to f***ing kill Americans, you’re trying to kill your fellow f***ing Iraqis, cause you got no f***ing backbone. You want everything from me, you want weapons, and ammunition, you want fuel, and trucks…but you’re too f***ing p**sy to go 3 f***ing kilometers down the road and go get the people who’re tearing this f***ing town apart.

You guys better figure out where your loyalties lie. Are you loyal to Iraq? Shia? Sunni? What is it? You want to fight for your country? Or are you better off having me die for your country because you’re too much of a f***ing woman to do it yourself.

You love seeing Americans die for your f***ing country, you won’t die for it yourself.

I don’t see your @** in my hometown.”

He’s not really arguing with the Iraqis; it seems to me he’s arguing with himself about what if anything he’s accomplishing.

(EDIT, 3/12: @**, as in title change.)

#2 Comment By Nell On March 13, 2009 @ 10:50 am

We dial-up readers are deeply appreciative.

The whole idea that we’re there “for” the Iraqis makes me throw up, one reason I didn’t care for Obama’s speech at Camp Lejeune. But brutal honesty would make it a little hard for everybody to feel good about themselves.

The “pep talk” is the result of this giant clusterfvck of cognitive dissonance.

#3 Comment By Thomas Nephew On March 13, 2009 @ 11:23 am

Yup. Re cognitive dissonance, the youtube comments and blog responses (via technorati) are interesting too. It’s like this is a video Rorschach test or that “young woman / old woman” picture — different people have radically different takes on it. The video title is one — “Lazy Iraqi Police Get Motivational Speech”, and a typical amen goes “Kick some lazy Iraqi ass!!! Instead of whining about how mean this guy is, someone needs to stand up and commend him for kicking ass and not being scared of his own shadow like the so called men he is speaking to.”

Then there are responses like “the guy keeps going at them like “if you don’t die for your country, i won’t do it for you”, he just failed to remember between 400,000 to 600,000 Irakis already lost their lives since 2003, among which at least 100,000 because of “collateral damage” and “that wouldn’t motivate me at all, if i see some bitch ass non-iraqi coming to my country to insult me and tell me shit, i would be very piss[ed] off”.

I guess that’s not surprising. This just feels like a particularly vivid demonstration of divisions about Iraq; it’s a kind of sociology/political science experiment or “controlled natural history observation.”