Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

GI Joes: “enthusiastically cynical and gleefully bitter”

From a story from Iraq by Nathan Webster in today’s Buffalo News, here’s a good example of a shoe-leather reporter capturing how American combat soldiers talk: Almost to a man, Charlie Company’s soldiers are enthusiastically cynical and gleefully bitter, railing against everything from the morning heat to walking the rocky pathways to the port-a-john toilets; ...

584203_090630_iraq2.jpg
584203_090630_iraq2.jpg

From a story from Iraq by Nathan Webster in today's Buffalo News, here's a good example of a shoe-leather reporter capturing how American combat soldiers talk:

From a story from Iraq by Nathan Webster in today’s Buffalo News, here’s a good example of a shoe-leather reporter capturing how American combat soldiers talk:

Almost to a man, Charlie Company’s soldiers are enthusiastically cynical and gleefully bitter, railing against everything from the morning heat to walking the rocky pathways to the port-a-john toilets; the only complaints and gripes that aren’t respected are the ones that aren’t creative.

“We’re going to do a real good job, but we’re going to complain the whole way,” Vergo said. “Army’s probably been like that since ancient times.”

Army.mil/Flickr

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

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.