‘Being Slimed in the Green Zone’

It’s very difficult to get accurate information out of Iraq. Spin is the order of the day, and it’s even more difficult when the U.S. military does it in the Green Zone. I’ve seen my share of that. Once, I asked an American trainer about the makeup of the Iraqi Army unit he was working with. How many Shi’ites, Kurds, Sunnis? “Oh, we’re about half Shi’ite and half Sunni,” he said. “It’s a great example of the two sects working together.” I found this hard to believe, as this was a unit in Baghdad and it was about a year before the Sunni tribes had turned on Al Qaeda in Iraq and started joining the security forces. No Kurds? “Well, you know Kurds are mainly Sunnis,” he replied.
What rubbish. He knew the message of the day was Sunni and Shi’ite sittin’ in a tree, f-i-g-h-t-i-n-g al Qaeda together, and he was determined to get it out, even if he had to push Kurds’ Sunni-ness on me. (Kurds are probably the most secular of all Iraqis, and their ethnic identity is what defines them to other Iraqis, not their religion.)

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