“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, September 07, 2003


Ah, pity the poor right wing draft dodgers. Deprived of their share of military glory, and forced to take on domestic tasks, such as bringing down a 100 grand on that first job, and fighting real hard, and successfully, at the office, to be promoted over the deadwood, they have longed, longed for their own war -- not one, mind you, where they would have to be consigned to those yucky barracks at the airport and made to eat that yucky army food (puh-leeeze), but an in and out kind of thing -- sort of like an extreme vacation. The newest status symbol isn't climbing Mount Everest any more (with the natives bearing your lap top so you can hook it up and email your friends) -- no, it is going to Iraq and reporting on the "amazing progress" we are making there.

Following in the footsteps of Donny Rumsfeld in Iraq is Max Boot, WSJ author and general authority on all things military. He's at his best telling us how we are in the midst of being stabbed in the back by the media again, while Iraq is going our way! And how did he discover this? By making a tour exclusively with an army unit. A US army unit. Here's some derring do on the part of Monsieur Boot. First, in excited tones, he announces what counterinsurgency is all about:

"The success that both divisions are having is based on a smart counterinsurgency strategy that combines carrots and sticks. Both are careful not to use indiscriminate firepower that would alienate civilians. Their raids are carefully focused so that they hit Baathist safe houses while minimizing inconvenience for and humiliation of the innocent."

Yeah, those innocent. I'm sure they are all psyched about that minimizing of inconvenience and humiliation. Those are bummers, man.

But -- oh joy! -- the second, action part of Boot's exciting Iraqi vacation comes about when he gets to go out with real men! Yes, the boys in the Marine Corps invited him along for a ride. All that working out in the gym in New York has paid off! Here, our great white hunter encounters the little brown enemy himself!

I went with the Marines' Task Force Scorpion on one such raid, in a Sunni neighborhood south of Baghdad. As we drove, three remote- controlled bombs went off on the roadside. Luckily no one was injured; the blasts missed our vehicles. The Marines immediately got out and searched for the perpetrators. One suspect tested positive for explosive residue on his hands. He was plexi-cuffed and stuck in the back of an armored vehicle next to me. A corporal asked me to cover him with a 9-millimeter pistol. I was happy to comply. The next day, the task force caught four suspected Fedayeen who had explosive devices. Through such successes, Scorpion has managed to dramatically reduce terrorism in its area."

This, of course, is a city that the belligerent crowd insists is as safe as D.C. -- you know D.C, the city where they blow up embassies and police stations and shit. Now, Boot's experience seems to be of a dramatic increase of terrorism, since it is happening, on his account, in broad daylight. But why believe your own 5 senses when you can believe the Pentagon! -- think, too, of his trembling excitement, covering the bad guy with a 9-millimeter pistol! Yes indeed, if today's new, free market army could market this as a vacation package for your alpha Wall Street male, we are in business!

Ourselves -- well, LI advises our readers to drain that drop of alpha blood in your veins. It only leads to a lifelong and dubious puerility.

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