A number of the men in the unit I am embedded with made their way to Kirkuk today, which provided them with an opportunity to visit the PX (a military store which carries everything from food to electronics), and to load up on some of the comforts of home. Sgt. Hutton returned with what is for this area the latest copy of Newsweek, featuring a cover comparing the latest conflict to the Vietnam War. The heavy-handed drumbeat in the issue was astounding. Even the movie review of The Alamo included language about how strange it was to watch a movie about American military defeat while our soldiers are beleaguered in Iraq. The guys, who were reading particularly ridiculous passages aloud, had great fun with this: "Hey Sergeant, you feeling beleaguered?" They also had no tolerance for the ignorance of the reporters. When a graphic showed a region, and had a statistical breakdown of population by Sunnis and Kurds, they quickly noted that many of the Kurds are Sunni. The proper distinction would have been between Kurds and Arabs. The whole episode provided yet another stark contrast--the "quagmire" drumbeat of the media, contrasted with the more buoyant reality on the ground.
Great article by Victor Davis Hanson on Monday.