October 6, 2005

must-read...

Michael Yon's latest is a must-read. Both our people and the Iraqi forces are doing great things in Mosul. (One might have guessed it, just from the dog what didn't bark in the night--our vile news media haven't been talking much about Mosul lately, so you just know the news must be good). In fact, the Iraqi units, police and army, far from running from trouble, are aggressively attacking any arhabi they can locate. And Iraqi morale is high, partly because the Iraqi officers are out in front in the fights, and most of the leaders have been wounded at least once...

...I expected to get blown up during every meeting with Colonel Eid. One day I accompanied Deuce Four soldiers to 4-West and Colonel Eid was wearing new bandages from an attack that had just killed his driver. Eid was back at duty, talking of how Americans shot him during the first Gulf War. Luckily, he had survived. I was sitting in the meeting when American soldiers spoke to Eid about the particular mortar crew they wanted 4-West to eliminate. Eid said he would try to get the mortar crew, and sure enough, his men killed them.

So, we headed to the sheep market.

Colonel Eid certainly didn’t need the sheep—he often fed us tasty meals of chicken or duck—but it was an important gesture of respect from commander to commander. In some ways, the delivery of the gift was more important than the gift itself.

The Iraqis have great pride. If an Iraqi colonel thought someone was patronizing him with trivial gifts, not only would he be insulted, he might also think the American was feeble-minded. But when the Iraqi commander respects the gift-giver, and the sincerity of the gift is not in question, the gesture by which it’s given takes on greater meaning. Kurilla and his officers never just delivered the sheep and said, “Thanks, here’s a sheep.” The delivery was always a spectacle.

One time, the soldiers arrived at COP Eagle to deliver a sheep to the commander, LTC Ali Gharza, only to find him sleeping. So Kurilla told the Iraqi guards to be quiet, and he snuck the stinking sheep into the commander’s room, shutting the door behind it. When the Iraqi commander jumped from bed in a state of confusion, Kurilla and his men burst in and everyone got a hearty laugh. Another time, Kurilla took a sheep and plopped it right on Colonel Eid’s desk....

Read it...

Posted by John Weidner at October 6, 2005 4:26 PM
Weblog by John Weidner