KIRKUK, Iraq, Nov. 30, 2005—Ahmad Chalabi Elementary hosted its third annual reunion for members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines Wednesday. The American heroes were led into the school compound by one of the many regiments of Iraq's security forces capable of fighting insurgents with only a small amount of support from coalition forces.
Soon the air was filled with laughter as old friends got reacquainted. Iraqi children could be heard shouting, "God Bless America," "Support George Bush," and "Hey G.I., give me candy."
After time spent winning little hearts and minds, the Marines got to work patching up an unauthorized ventilation shaft in the side of the building—the result of a Nissan that spontaneously combusted earlier in the month.
On the playground, discussion turned to war critics in America. "I've always respected John Murtha as a patriot and a friend of the military," said first-grader Abdul Zeki. "So I was somewhat surprised that he has taken the Jane Fonda position on the war."
Added third-grader Kahib Hassan, "It is important that Congress does not pass any arbitrary timetables for withdrawal, which would only strengthen the will of Zarqawi and the terrorists."
But the debate soon subsided as the adorable children divided up for a game of peshmurga vs. Baathist dead-enders. By staying the course, the peshmurga eventually won.