In his urge to ditch the draft and so dampen the still-churning antiwar movement at home, Nixon created a new kind of American force, closer to a foreign legion geared to fighting never-ending wars thousands of miles from what, post-9/11, came to be known as “the homeland.”
The fight against extremists is almost over and one of the country’s Shiite militias is doing good deeds and eschewing politics. Is the al-Abbas Combat Brigade too good to be true?
For the people of Basra, unexploded ordnances and long-forgotten mines have been an ongoing concern; the explosives were left over from historical conflicts, such as the war between Iraq and Iran. Recently they have been getting help from a slightly unexpected quarter: Fighters from one of the country’s often-controversial Shiite Muslim militias