Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

“McChrystal is serious”

At one of those infamous Washington cocktail parties, I ran into someone I know from Iraq. She’s a good soul, smart and dedicated. She’s been through the mill, with multiple tours in Iraq. “What’s next for you,” I asked? “Kabul,” she said. I told her I used to live there, and that I vastly prefer ...

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580114_091001_dionissssb2.jpg

At one of those infamous Washington cocktail parties, I ran into someone I know from Iraq. She's a good soul, smart and dedicated. She's been through the mill, with multiple tours in Iraq. "What's next for you," I asked?

"Kabul," she said.

At one of those infamous Washington cocktail parties, I ran into someone I know from Iraq. She’s a good soul, smart and dedicated. She’s been through the mill, with multiple tours in Iraq. “What’s next for you,” I asked?

“Kabul,” she said.

I told her I used to live there, and that I vastly prefer it to Baghdad. The summers can be hot, but no worse than Albuquerque, I think. (Not true of the south, but what are we trying to do in the Helmand Valley anyway?) She nodded and said, “That’s good, because I’m going for three to five years. That’s what McChrystal is asking for.”

Well, I nearly spilled my Trader Joe’s merlot. “Three to five years?” I said. What a far cry, I thought, from 2003, when Bremer’s little GOP beavers would come out to the Green Zone for three to five months, or even a few weeks.

“Yeah,” she said. “That’s what made me interested in taking the job. When I heard that, I said to myself, ‘Hey, this guy is serious.'”

unforth/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

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