This New York Times piece is about an Iraqi father of 14 explaining the meaning of the recent political developments to a group of U.S. marines who are temporarily using the roof of his house in an operation:
If history is any guide, many of the young men who endure the severest hardships and assume the greatest risks in the war in Iraq will become interested in politics and politicians later, when they are older and look back on their combat tours.
But not yet. Marine infantry units have traditionally been nonpolitical, to the point of stubbornly embracing a peculiar detachment from policy currents at home. It is a pillar of the corps’ martial culture: those with the most at stake are among the least involved in the decisions that send them where they go.
Mr. Rumsfeld may have become one of the war’s most polarizing figures at home. But among these young marines slogging through the war in Anbar Province, he appeared to mean almost nothing. If he was another casualty, they had seen worse.
“If American Army came here for three months, four months, O.K.” Mr. Menti said. “But now is four years.”
If there were no American military presence in Iraq, he said, there would be no insurgents. One serves as a magnet for the other.
Mr. Menti spoke to the sergeant as if he were an American diplomat, as if he had some influence over the broad sweeps of American foreign policy. The sergeant remained quiet and polite.
“I don’t think he realizes that we’re trying to make this country safer for him,” he said to Lance Corporal Maguire.
“I think he realizes that we’re trying to make it safe, but that the more we stay here the more people come in and make it worse,” Lance Corporal Maguire replied.