Letter from Iraq

We’re here ‘cause Bush is a cavalier cowboy who doesn’t know when to cut his loses on a bad investment, the war here. Those who live inside the wire think we’re making a difference. Those who leave the wire on a normal basis for patrols or firefights know better. Nothing has changed. This place will never change.

In the long run, it don’t matter. Just do your mission to the best of your ability. Terrorism is an idea and people [like the person above] are defeated. Don’t be that guy. Stand up against terrorism now so our children onward don’t.

(Graffiti in a latrine at a Forward Operating Base in northern Iraq.)

The policeman had begun to yell – a curious, soundless performance to watch from inside the car, his words muffled by the bullet-proof glass. He gestured again, demanding that we get out of the vehicle; bad, albeit heavily-armed mime. He was dressed in camouflage, his face hidden behind a balaclava, wearing a cowboy hat that looked like it had been misplaced by the Village People, or perhaps stolen from Barbara Streisand’s closet. The humour in his appearance was somewhat undercut by the fact that he was both armed and increasingly angry – though, thankfully, he hadn’t yet reached the point of releasing the safety on his weapon.

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