Tom Ricks's Inbox

Sunday, October 29, 2006

American troops can find humor in any situation, even in today's Iraq. Over the past three years, U.S. military personnel have sent me several versions of this joke, which has evolved along with events.

After reading grim news from Baghdad and Balad not long ago, I retrieved this version from my inbox, sent by a mid-ranking Army officer who served in Iraq recently.


MNC-I (Multi-National Corps-Iraq)

The chicken-crossing situation is reflected in an amber-rated capability within only those regions prioritized to receive road-marking equipment and should not be confused with units non-operationally qualified to partner yet with chicken crossers. This will be briefed in the next conference.

MNSTC-I (Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq)

The fact that the Iraqi chicken crossed the road affirmatively demonstrates that decision-making authority has been transferred to the chicken well in advance of the scheduled transition of power. From now on, the chicken is responsible for its own decisions.

U.S. Army division

The chicken was not authorized to cross the road without two forms of picture identification. Thus, the chicken was appropriately detained and searched in accordance with [standard operating procedures]. We apologize for any embarrassment to the chicken. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the command has instituted a gender sensitivity training program and all future chicken searches will be carried out by female soldiers.

U.S. Marine Corps

The chicken is dead.

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