This is truly bizarre:
The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.
In the soldier’s hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen’s meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. “Moran on Iraq policy,” read one section, going on to cite some the congressman’s most incendiary statements, such as, “This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history.”
The bio of Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) — “TAU (rhymes with ‘now’)-sher,” the bio helpfully relates — was no less pointed, even if she once supported the war and has taken heat from liberal Bay Area constituents who remain wary of her position. “Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight,” the bio quotes.
It has been a while since I was in an Active Duty unit, and I recognize that things have changed, but this is completely different from my experiences. When we had VIP visits, there were several things that were always the same:
1.) We stopped doing things the way we did them, and instead did them the way we are ‘supposed’ to do them.
2.) VIP visits were generally disruptive, a pain in the ass, and meant more work.
3.) No one ever knew who the VIP was. Ever. It was always somebody important from somewhere, but we didn’t know and we generally didn’t care and it generally didn’t matter. Unless it was a General. THEY matter. Generals and Sergeant Majors (or is it Sergeants Major- I forget) are forces to be reckoned with (think Hurricane Katrina in camo).
The idea that soldiers would be given bio sheets of VIPS, thus separating the “sympathetic” VIPs and the “hostile” VIPs is not an experience I ever had, and only reinforces my perception that everything we get from Iraq is being massaged. It probably goes without saying that this is a colossal waste of military manpower when they should be doing more important things.