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 , 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.