No one ever accused the Defense Department of having a highly developed sense of irony. But we should expect our military leaders to know their war history. Somehow, though, I don't remember this coming up during General David Petraeus' confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill:
"They've been doing it in Florida, and the old people seem to like it," joked the platoon's leader, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Schmitt, 37, as he watched his team create the public entrance to the new gated community. If there were ever a place that defied the tidy and tranquil image suggested by that term, it is Ghazaliyah.
If there were ever a place that defied the tidy and tranquil image? Well, certainly Poland and Germany defied the tidy and tranquil image, but military planners then didn't have the charming term we do nowadays:
BAGHDAD — The U.S. military is walling off at least 10 of Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods and using biometric technology to track some of their residents, creating what officers call "gated communities" in an attempt to carve out oases of safety in this war-ravaged city.
Perhaps the analogy to Poland and Germany is strained.
In some sealed-off areas, troops armed with biometric scanning devices will compile a neighborhood census by recording residents' fingerprints and eye patterns and will perhaps issue them special badges, military officials said.
Or maybe not so strained. SPECIAL BADGES? Where have SPECIAL BADGES been used before to compile a census in sealed-off areas? Oh, well, surely the Iraqi military thinks this is a good idea, or our military leaders would not have included it in their SURGE planning.
Many of the Iraqi soldiers nodded. But not Maj. Hathem Faek Salman, who fears the barriers are more likely to anger residents than shut out violence. "This is not a good plan," Salman, 40, had said before the meeting. "If my region were closed by these barriers, I would hate the army, because I would feel like I was in a big jail. . . . If you want to make the area secure and safe, it is not with barriers. We have to win the trust of the people."
What war is this Iraqi Major fighting, anyway? Not the war to win the trust of THIS fellow:
Abdullah rose, turned toward the blank white wall and sketched an invisible picture of the area with his hands. He pointed left, to Bakriyah. And a few feet right, to the checkpoint. "It will take two hours to get from here to here!" he said.
And what did our USArmy Lieutenant say to that?
Rae simply nodded and said, "Security is the key."