LETTER TO HOME….UPDATE….This is interesting. That email from a “Marine officer” that Time magazine printed this weekend? It turns out that the officer who wrote it is Col. Pete Devlin, the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq. You may recall him as the guy who caused some waves several weeks ago by filing a secret report concluding that “the prospects for securing that country’s western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there.”

Here are the bits of Devlin’s letter that Time left out:

Best Piece of U.S. Gear ? new, bullet-proof flak jackets. O.K., they weigh 40 lbs and aren’t exactly comfortable in 120 degree heat, but they’ve saved countless lives out here.

Best Piece of Bad Guy Gear ? Armor Piercing ammunition that goes right through the new flak jackets and the Marines inside them.

Bill O’Reilly ? what a buffoon.

Biggest Ass-Chewing ? 10 July immediately following a visit by the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Zobai. The Deputy Prime Minister brought along an American security contractor (read mercenary), who told my Commanding General that he was there to act as a mediator between us and the Bad Guys. I immediately told him what I thought of him and his asinine ideas in terms that made clear my disgust and which, unfortunately, are unrepeatable here. I thought my boss was going to have a heart attack. Fortunately, the translator couldn’t figure out the best Arabic words to convey my meaning for the Deputy Prime Minister. Later, the boss had no difficulty in convening his meaning to me in English regarding my Irish temper, even though he agreed with me. At least the guy from the State Department thought it was hilarious. We never saw the mercenary again.

You can read the whole letter here.