May 31st, 2009

News

on our Defense Secretary

"...In the self-proclaimed twilight of his public career, Gates has emerged as that most exotic of Washington species - the bureaucrat unbound, candid and fearless. He tells members of Congress what he really thinks about their pet programs. He upends Pentagon priorities, demotes the military-industrial hardware pipeline and promotes the immediate needs of the troops on the front line."

News

another awesome read

"All occupations eventually end. When this one does, history's narratives will be shaped by the cacophony it wrought - the carnage unleashed by the U.S.-led invasion that threatened Iraq's notion of itself as a country and that will haunt generations to come.

"But the whispers may linger just as long - the far quieter way in which two cultures that often found it difficult to share the same space intersected to reshape Iraq's language, culture and sensibility. From tattoos of Metallica to bellybutton piercings, from posters for a rap concert in Baghdad to stories parents tell their naughty children in Fallujah of the Americans coming to get them, the occupation has already left its mark.

"There is the bellicose language of the checkpoint: 'Go' and 'Stop' (often rendered as 'stob' in a language with no 'p'), along with a string of American expletives that Iraqi children imitate with zeal. In parks along the Tigris River, they play 'tafteesh,' Arabic for inspection. Iraqi troops, sometimes indistinguishable from their U.S. counterparts, don the sunglasses considered effeminate in the time of Saddam Hussein."