Monday, January 28, 2008

Local Gumption

A wonderful report is up at Michael J. Totten's place, on Fallujah. The story there is amazing, but as is typical of his best reporting, it is not just about Fallujah. It's about all Iraq, and about Americans and Iraqis, and how they change each other, and ultimately it's about the business of being human under pressure.

This bit I particularly enjoyed, given my long-time researches into the mentalities of the American Civil War:

One Texas MP used to be a Marine. “I decided I would rather defend my state than my country,” he said jokingly. “But here I am, back in Iraq.”

After I adjusted my embed to focus specifically on Police Transition Teams, I was nearly surrounded by young men from Texas. Many seemed to instinctively understand Fallujah's infamous provincial “nationalism.”

“Fallujah pride is like Texas pride,” I heard from several MPs who, unlike Iraqis from Baghdad, didn't think that was a bad thing.

Say, if you haven't spent all of that windfall "stimulus" check from the government yet, you might want to throw a few bucks Michael's way. It probably will do you more karmic good than that flat-screen TV anyhow.