"Sunsets. Spectacular. It's from all the dust in the air," comments the author of a "Secret Letter From Iraq" that cuts through all the -- pardon our French -- crap to tell us what we need to hear about how things are going "over there," published this week in Time. ("Sun Set in Iraq 2nd platoon, Charlie, 508th" by by Pfc. Brandon Aird, 173rd PAO)
"If you want to do something for me, kiss a cop, flush a toilet, and drink a beer," concludes a "Secret Letter From Iraq" published this week by Time, whose editors describe the letter home as a "straightforward account of life in Iraq by a Marine officer . . . initially sent just to a small group of family and friends" [via Inoperable Terran]:
His honest but wry narration and unusually frank dissection of the mission contrasts sharply with the story presented by both sides of the Iraq war debate, the Pentagon spin masters and fierce critics.
As it should. Thank you, Time, for giving this warrior's viewpoint the exposure it deserves. A few excerpts reveal the wit and wisdom of a gifted observer of the human condition:
It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno. Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record-setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best . . .
Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate -- Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here -- all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps . . .
Biggest Hassle -- High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.
Biggest Outrage -- Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest Offender: Bill O'Reilly.
Even as the letter-writing Marine is consumed with the alternating terror and tedium of 18-20-hour days on the frontline of WW III [or is it WW IV?], he manages to metaphorically stop and smell the roses:
Only Thing Better in Iraq Than in the U.S. -- Sunsets. Spectacular. It's from all the dust in the air.
Every dust cloud must have a silver lining?