Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: Marines listen to their new commander in chief

January 21, 2009 |  3:30 am


Some of the Americans listening most intently to President Obama's inaugural speech were those half a world away, like the Marines at Camp Ripper in Al Asad, Iraq.

Initial analysis: The new commander in chief is good to go.

Cpl. Mark Thiry: "He made me feel like he has a real plan. I'm definitely interested in his plans for Iraq."

Cpl. Kyle Hunter: "He's not going to cut military spending because he's focused on sending Marines into Afghanistan. I'd like to go there."

Staff Sgt. Trent Nichols: "He said it would be a long, hard road and we have to endure. He knows what needs to be done, and it's not going to be easy."

P.S. The troops in Iraq weren't the only Marines focused on the inaugural. In Washington, Cpl. Elideo Guillen was selected to dance with the new first lady at the Commander in Chief's Ball. Guillen  said he practiced the box step with his wife so the dance would go off without a miscue.

"I just tried to get warmed up and not step on her toes," he told CNN.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marines at Camp Ripper watch their new commander in chief. From left, Staff Sgt. Trent Nichols, Sgt. Jeremiah Thiry and Cpl. Mark Thiry. Credit: Cpl. Eric Schwartz