...this place sucks. " (Unfortunate how the video captures the 'LT' (Lieutenant) legging it as fast as he can away from the rest of his unit. )
I was treated to a far more dignified and heroic view of American soldiers in Iraq last night when I watched Tom Roberts' excellent documentary A Company of Soldiers which followed the men of Dog Company of the 1st Batallion, 8th Cavalry Regiment around the time of the Falluja offensive in 2004. There are some extraordinarily touching moments, such as the memorial service for a Humvee gunner mortally wounded in an ambush who still clambered back to his turret to take out the insurgents threatening the vehicle. The emotional and pyschological stress these guys face up to every day is almost unimaginable.
There was one clear example of questionable conduct when the company doctor (of all people) gratuitously shot an Iraqi man's dog. Yet the way the Humvee patrols move along the highways using gunfire into the air to keep other vehicles at a safe distance is unlikely to endear them to the locals.
When originally shown across the pond the film fostered a starkly polarised online debate about whether it was it a celebration of the military's comradeship and heroism or whether it demonstrated conclusively that the troops should come home. Both in my view.
The New York Times headline on Monday was 'US speeds up bomb delivery to Israel.'
No doubt they sped past Secretary Rice on her way to the region.