Iraq may be experiencing its first taste with democracy, but the real American exports are just a couple of weeks away. On Super Bowl Sunday (or ass-early Monday morning for them), soldiers across the country will kick back with a couple of beers and watch the big game on large-screen TVs. I think this is the surest sign yet that we won.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq (and former tight end at West Point), signed a waiver to allow troops, for the first time, to crack open some cold ones while the Giants win their second straight Super Bowl. The army missive doesn’t mention the Giants, but I’m just going to assume. They’ll be limited to two 12-oz beers, which means no tall boys, no 40s, and no blindingly drunk soldiers accidentally causing major international incidents.
It also doesn’t say what kind of beer will be served. I’m sure it won’t be Milwaukee’s Best unless they want a mutiny on their hands. Still, the GIs are just happy to have something other than sandy water to drink.
“Feels good to be trusted!” rejoiced Spec. Justin Roark, 23, of Little Rock, who is stationed in Baghdad. “Keeping in touch with an American tradition.”
Normally drinking in combat zones will lead to reductions in rank and pay, and possibly even a court-martial. But with violence dropping and more American troops taking on non-combat roles, the army has decided to lighten up.
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First Lt. James McGuire, 29, of Queens, who has been stationed in Mosul, in northern Iraq, for more than 11 months, said he has watched nearly every Super Bowl with his dad, throwing back beers.
“I’m Irish, sir,” he said in a phone interview. “It’ll be nice to have a beer and — even if it’s just for three hours — feel like I’m back home.”
Non-fans were just as delighted.
“I don’t care about the Super Bowl,” said 1st Lt. Scott Trout, 25, of Greenville, S.C. “I just want to kick back and relax and have a few beers.”
Tucked in the WASHINGTON POST story is this little tidbit. The Super Bowl, and therefore the drinking, take place during a 40-day holiday of intense religious discipline observed by Iraq’s Shi’a majority. What could possibly go wrong?