"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
A few men and boys ventured out, putting makeshift white flags on their pickup trucks or waving white T-shirts out truck windows.
"Americans very good," Ali Khemy said. "Iraq wants to be free."
Some chanted, "Ameriki! Ameriki!"
Many others in the starving town just patted their stomachs and raised their hands, begging for food.
A man identifying himself only as Abdullah welcomed the arrival of the U.S. troops: "Saddam Hussein is no good. Saddam Hussein a butcher."
An old woman shrouded in black — one of the very few women outside — knelt toward the feet of Americans, embracing an American woman. A younger man with her pulled her away, giving her a warning sign by sliding his finger across his throat.
In 1991, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died after prematurely celebrating what they believed was their liberation from Saddam after the Gulf War. Some even pulled down a few pictures of Saddam then — only to be killed by Iraqi forces.
Gurfein playfully traded pats with a disabled man and turned down a dinner invitation from townspeople.
"Friend, friend," he told them in Arabic learned in the first Gulf War.
"We stopped in Kuwait that time," he said. "We were all ready to come up there then, and we never did."
The townspeople seemed grateful this time.
"No Saddam Hussein!" one young man in headscarf told Gurfein. "Bush!"