Letter to Home

LETTER TO HOME….A Marine officer writes home to his family and friends about life in Iraq. Two excerpts:

Most Profound Man in Iraq ? an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied “Yes, you.”

….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.

This business of parachuting into Iraq for a day or three and then “reporting” on conditions there is surely one of the more egregious examples of hackdom around. It’s not enough time to learn anything, and ? miraculously ? virtually no one who does this ever seems to see anything that doesn’t jibe with what they already thought. Amazing, isn’t it?

UPDATE: More here.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation