It was Sunday night in Baghdad, and President Obama was ordering Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of the American troops here, to shave Stephen Colbert’s head. (Not to give everything away, but the general is not as brutal with an electric razor as one would expect a bald man to be; Mr. Colbert’s hairdresser, on the other hand, has a merciless streak.)
War, as things go, is a fairly unironic exercise. Sure, there are endless incongruities to be found and parodied in the speeches about war from politicians, generals and heads of state. But war itself — the dirty, dangerous business of soldiers on the ground — seems to be about as earnest a trade as you can find.
Into this comes Mr. Colbert. He is taping four episodes of “The Colbert Report,” the Comedy Central show featuring his egotistical, fake-macho, nationalist blowhard alter ego, in Baghdad this week. It’s the first time in the history of the U.S.O. that a full-length nonnews show has been filmed, edited and broadcast from a combat zone.
Good for him.