Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Annals of sucky deployments: The life of a major marooned in southern Iraq

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on September 21, 2011. Army Maj. Jayson Stewart summarizes his 2008 tour of duty as an advisor to a unit of the ...

idovermani/Flickr
idovermani/Flickr
idovermani/Flickr

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on September 21, 2011.

Army Maj. Jayson Stewart summarizes his 2008 tour of duty as an advisor to a unit of the Iraqi border patrol that actually was based more than 40 miles away from him. "There was a period there where I didn't get out for four months, and I was only able to entice them to come and see me probably once every two to three weeks."

I see this maybe as a Tom Hanks movie. Or John Candy, if he were still with us.

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on September 21, 2011.

Army Maj. Jayson Stewart summarizes his 2008 tour of duty as an advisor to a unit of the Iraqi border patrol that actually was based more than 40 miles away from him. "There was a period there where I didn’t get out for four months, and I was only able to entice them to come and see me probably once every two to three weeks."

I see this maybe as a Tom Hanks movie. Or John Candy, if he were still with us.

I hope that nobody else has to go through that same experience, because it did suck. I was able to build my own little stadium seating inside one of the more concrete rooms and turned one of my Armed Forces Network receivers and hooked it up to the one-eyed monster and put it on a seven-foot by eight-foot screen and was able to watch football, because I couldn’t go anywhere and I couldn’t do anything.

I think that fits my definition of hell: Isolated in southern Iraq with nothing to do and a year to do it in.

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

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.