There's an interesting blog post by New York Times reporter Tim Arango who got lucky with a three-day embed alongside US Special Forces troops training and operating with their Iraqi counterparts near Baghdad.
I encourage Kit Up! readers to check it out. It shows how close the Iraqis and SF troopers have become and also demonstrates how unsure they are of their future.
But one of the best lines in the post is about one of the ground rules Arango had to sign...You all will get a kick out of this for sure!
Such embeds are extremely rare and this one took many months to secure — while the regular Army welcomes reporters with nearly unimpeded access, the Special Forces are leery of journalists. This was underscored by the long list of ground rules they require reporters to adhere to in order to protect operational secrecy.Yeah, right they don't know why that ground rule is in there. Kit Up! readers sure do:
One rule states, rather oddly, that photographers will not capture images of soldiers “with bearded faces.” Neither the public affairs officer, nor the cleanshaven Special Forces soldier standing by as we signed the document, could explain that one, except to speculate that it might be a remnant of the early days of the Afghanistan campaign, when commandos grew beards to fit in with the local population.
Big Army! That's why...God forbid some three star at the Pentagon sees Green Berets working with indigs with some scruff on their chins. Best to set themselves apart from their host militias and look good for the CSM at inspection, right. Who cares about rapport?
And I love the "I don't know why that rule is in there" shrug the PAO and the SF officer gave Arango...You bet your life they do. What's worse, an insurgent ambush or a Pentagon directed ALCON on grooming?