(thanks Maury & RhusLancia)
'Lieutenant Davies rode in the front passenger seat.
"What exactly are we delivering this morning?" I said.
"Rice, flour, cooking oil, baby formula, and Beanie Babies," he said.
"No Beanie Babies," said the gunner.
"No Beanie Babies," said the lieutenant.
"We got Beanie Babies!" said the driver.
"Ok, Beanie Babies," said the lieutenant. "We're basically following the Iraqi Police at this point. They know who in the area needs help the most. Ever since the insurgency was beaten the economy has flourished. Shops have opened up everywhere. It's definitely a good sign. But unemployment is still really high and lots of people are desperate."
We drove through blowing dust as the white sun rose above the plains of Mesopotamia.
A few Iraqi women were already out in the fields.
"Women do all the agricultural work," Lieutenant Davies said, "as well as run the household. Iraqi men are lazy. They don't do shit."
I heard something along the same lines from quite a few soldiers. I doubt I've ever been in such a masculine environment as I was during my time with the American military, but these guys sounded downright feminist when they talked about gender roles in Iraq, especially in Anbar Province which is noticeably more conservative and retro than Baghdad.'