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Apr 12

Written by: Diana West
Monday, April 12, 2010 9:22 AM 

The few, the proud, the Marines? cont'd.

The post "Marines Going Native: A Gallery" has been drawing comment as though the phenomenon of Marines dressing up in Afghani costume were brand new. It's not. I first noticed it in June 2009 in a lengthy Washington Post story about a US Army captain, in this case, who, according to the newspaper caption beneath a photo of him dressed in a sky-blue salwar-kameeze, the native Afghan dress US soldiers refer to as "manjammies," was dressing up in order "to seem less like a foreigner..." At the time, I wrote:

Don't know about you, but that kicked my pulse rate up a notch or two. Trading the uniform of his country for Afghan native dress sends so many wrong messages to the non-literate Afghans for whom symbolism is everything that it's hard to sort them all out: Capt. Harrison has no attachment to his uniform, has no attachment  to himself, has no attachment to his mission, has no attachment to his country .... otherwise he wouldn't shed his identity -- that uniform -- like so much cast-off clothing and dress up like an Afghan in the name of "cultivating trust." The article says: "Harrison had received special permission from his batallion commander to don the local garb...."  I wonder what else Capt. Harrison is permitted to do to cultivate "trust" in Afghanistan? Convert to Islam?

Seems the US military hasn't thought of that (yet) -- although Harrison, the article notes, did buy "mosque speakers for the religious leaders in his area." This means the US is now buying speakers to amplify any exhortations to jihad that may emanate from these Afghan mosques. Separation of church and state would be nice here, but even better would be a little military know-how on what is in that now-amped Koran.

For reasons unknown, the photo of Capt. Harrison that appeared in the actual newspaper never appeared in the online edition.

Iin September 2009, I came across this surreal shot of female Marines hijabbing up:

In December, 2009, this singularly ridiculous shot of a Marine LTC came across the wires:

“When in doubt, I want you to be nice,” the LTC tells his Marines.

Look nice, anyway.

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