September 04, 2007

There Is No Substitute for Firm, Hard and Deep Insertion

For several years, I've been intermittently tracking the experiment in profoundly dysfunctional psychology that goes by the name, "Ralph Peters." Although the world would be infinitely safer had this inquiry been confined within a highly restricted laboratory, Peters may nonetheless be my personal favorite among the research subjects.

Almost three years ago, I noted Peters' eliminationist, genocidal revenge fantasies, fueled by overpowering and unfocused rage. Several months ago, the fact that Peters is very, very hard for Iraq was found worthy of comment here. Peters has been exceptionally hard for Iraq for years. I guess those four-hour warnings are inapplicable when you're hard over torture, murder and other manly activities. I can offer no greater service to my country than the longest erection in history, or something like that.

For his unstinting and praiseworthy efforts, Ralph "Peter" Peters is of course an honorary founding member of the Larry Craig School of Foreign Policy. What's not to like about the guy?

And Ralph sure does love him the manliest of men, those Marines who are also some of the bestest funsters you ever did meet. He loves them in the G-rated version:
BEHIND their no-nonsense personas and parade-ground posture, the Marines have the wickedest sense of humor of any of our services. It's a hoot to be around them.

That take-no-prisoners humor was on display in the Fallujah area of operations. As I walked into a headquarters shack, a poster on the front door made me do a cartoon double-take. To appreciate the beauty of it, you just have to understand one military term, "OPSEC," or operations security - the protection of any tidbit of information that might be of value to an enemy.

On the poster, a frightened kitten bounds across a field of wildflowers straight toward the viewer, as if about to leap into your arms for protection. Fanged gingerbread monsters are in hot pursuit. The main caption:

"Every time you break OPSEC, God kills a kitten."

At the bottom, flanked by twin photos of beseeching kittens, the poster begged: "Please, think of the kittens."

I laughed out loud, then laughed again at the audacity of it.
We're laughing too, Ralphster.

Ragin' Ralph's meditations occasionally take on a somewhat more adult tone:
IT was late and grease-sweat hot in Fallujah. In a sand bagged, black-hole-of-Calcutta room, a half-dozen off-duty Marines sat shirtless in the swelter, crowded around a laptop.

They were watching the film "Black Snake Moan." Chained to a bed, a nearly naked Christina Ricci writhed as if suffering from the worst case of pinworms in history. Whatever the film's cinematic shortcomings, it was a hit with the Marines, who debated in richly expressive language whether it would be wise to date such a girl, given the potential downsides.

Embedded with our troops in Iraq, you find that some of the I'll-remember-this moments aren't grand enough to merit their own column and don't quite fit into any bigger stories. But those vignettes capture a human reality that's often lost in the politicized noise or the headline-drama of war. And too many of us forget that our troops - as well as the Iraqis - are, above all, human.

So here are a few snapshots of Iraq:

* Scrawny Iraqi police recruits chattering like excited birds as they marveled at the tattoos on a Marine weightlifter's torso: A flesh-and-blood metaphor for muscular, over-the-top America and our relationship with malnourished, bewildered Iraq.
Yes, that is the very first snapshot offered by Robo Ralphikins.

And in his latest dispatch from the front in the War to Make the World Safe for Jokin', Shirtless, Massively Muscular and Deeply, Firmly Masculine Marines (and you will salute!...lookin' good all over, soldier!), Rascally Ralph tells us:
THERE is no substitute for being on the ground if you want a sense of where Iraq may be headed. The reality is almost always different when you smell it up close.
Careful what you're smelling, Ralphie-poo.

PSA: We have used only one-fifth of the double entendres that occurred to us while preparing this post. Your gratitude is duly noted.