December 30, 2010

Mission Objective in Iraq: Irrelevance from At War by By JACK HEALY

JACK HEALY: Mission Objective in Iraq: Irrelevance - The fighting in Iraq is not over, but largely, Operation New Dawn is a twilight war for the troops still living in dusty camps throughout the country.

NEAR KHANAQIN, Iraq — Somewhere else, miles away from a tiny desert outpost where American troops dozed in combat vehicles and brewed midnight pots of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, another Iraq was seething. Iraqi bureaucrats and soldiers were killed by bullets and bombs. Iraqi army patrols were rocked by explosions.

But for the Americans camped out at this remote checkpoint, keeping watch over Iraqi soldiers and passing traffic, it was another quiet night of a quieted war.

They ate ribs and watched a slasher movie. They lifted weights and talked about Christmases spent in Hawaii. They took turns watching the headlights of watermelon trucks and oil tankers glide across the horizon of one of Iraq’s most violent and ethnically divided regions, noting routine radio chatter and shift changes in a logbook.

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