Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Iraq drama

In New York I also saw the British play Black Watch, about that Scottish regiment‘s service in Iraq in 2004. For my money it is the best piece of art to come out of the Iraq War. It is no diatribe. Again and again, I nodded as they got things right, about how soldiers talk, ...

590887_090102_blackwatch2.jpg
590887_090102_blackwatch2.jpg

In New York I also saw the British play Black Watch, about that Scottish regiment's service in Iraq in 2004. For my money it is the best piece of art to come out of the Iraq War. It is no diatribe. Again and again, I nodded as they got things right, about how soldiers talk, walk, and think. My wife was nervous that the play would bring back too many Iraq memories for me, but I found it cathartic -- and very funny. The only time I felt uneasy was when some soldiers were hit by a bomb. Even that was done extremely well, and artfully. But if I had staged that scene, I would have made it all white light and no sound, which was my experience of being in a convoy that was bombed and ambushed at night south of Baghdad in 2004 -- it occurs to me now that the incident occurred actually not far from where the Black Watch was operating then.

Photo: ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images

In New York I also saw the British play Black Watch, about that Scottish regiment‘s service in Iraq in 2004. For my money it is the best piece of art to come out of the Iraq War. It is no diatribe. Again and again, I nodded as they got things right, about how soldiers talk, walk, and think. My wife was nervous that the play would bring back too many Iraq memories for me, but I found it cathartic — and very funny. The only time I felt uneasy was when some soldiers were hit by a bomb. Even that was done extremely well, and artfully. But if I had staged that scene, I would have made it all white light and no sound, which was my experience of being in a convoy that was bombed and ambushed at night south of Baghdad in 2004 — it occurs to me now that the incident occurred actually not far from where the Black Watch was operating then.

Photo: ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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