January 29, 2008:
You can tell peace is coming to Iraq, because
the U.S. combat troops are having more hostile encounters with non-combat
soldiers. You can usually tell who is who. The grunts (combat types) are
skinnier and less well turned out (hair too long, shave not too recent,
slouching). The plumper, sharply dressed, and higher ranking non-combat NCO
will berate the grunt for his poor appearance. When there was a lot of fighting
going on, the infantry guy would scare the other guy away, with a few choice
words and a menacing look. Not so much, anymore. More and more non-combat
troops are coming out of their well appointed (and well defended) bases, and
ragging on the grunts. The fighting troops don't like it, and are beginning to
wonder out loud what all these "combat support" people actually do, if they
have so much time to gain weight, and harass the men who made Iraq safe for
this kind of crap.
The combat support troops do have less
to do now that there is much less combat. Less fuel and ammo has to be moved.
Fewer casualties have to be taken care of. A lot less equipment to repair or
replace. Combat support troops are mainly concerned with bringing order to
disorder, and now the grunts need to be shaped up. The combat troops create
disorder. They "break things and kill people." Now that the two species have
more time to mingle, those differences are causing friction. It's bad for
morale, but it's also a sign that peace is breaking out.