Tuesday, May 8, 2007

They Call Them . . . 'Fobbits'

Reading an article in the Jan/Feb issue of the ATLANTIC MONTHLY presenting yet another unworkable scheme outlining how we can "win" the war in Iraq, I was struck by a comment the author made in passing.

Apparently the majority of military personal we send to Iraq* never leave the military bases we've set up there, which are officially known as Forward Operating Bases. Since these are called "FOBs" for short, those soldiers who actually go out and patrol have dubbed their stay-at-home counterparts who never leave the base "fobbits".

Tolkien truly has permeated our culture when soldiers in combat make puns based on his lexicon, and use an analogy from his work to heap scorn upon their underperforming comrades.


*it's not clear whether this includes the mercenaries (or "contractors"), of whom there are some 48,000 currently serving in Iraq.

citation: THE ATLANTIC, January/February 2007, Vol. 299 No. 1, "Streetwise" by F. J. "Bing" West, page 76.

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