[the palaverist]

Sunday, September 24, 2006

[the news from iraq]

Wolf Semper Fi is a new blog by my brother-in-law Major Eric Wolf of the United States Marine Corps, who is currently at the beginning of his second tour of duty in Iraq. He is a hardworking, thoughtful, curious and competent man who manages to maintain an extraordinary optimism that is clearly a product of his very strong Christian faith. His wife is my wife's older sister, and she and their four kids are settling into a new life out in California, fortunately not far from her parents and other siblings.

On his first tour, Eric sent back fascinating emails that revealed the boots-on-the-ground experience in a vividly personal way. His job was to assess the performance of equipment in the field, see how the boys were actually using things like bulldozers and trying to learn from the improvisations how to send more useful supplies in future.

This time out, Eric is Deputy Mayor of Al-Taqaddum Airbase, a bit west of Baghdad. Already he's taught me something I didn't happen to know, which is that the camp dump is run by a small Indian firm called Blue Marines. I don't know if this matters to you in the least, but to me, this kind of detail is fascinating. If you want a window into the day-to-day bureaucratic operation of an American airbase in Iraq, written by an honest and intelligent person, check out Eric's blog.

Oh, and as for the name, the URL and the layout, that's all my work. Don't blame Eric if you hate it. He always signs his letters "Semper Fi," though, so it seemed appropriate, as did the image of the Marine emblem, the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, from an officer's dress uniform. (I thought about using a major's oak leaves, but I didn't want to presume he wouldn't be promoted.)

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