: Sgt. Stryker reads Zayed’s description of the slum formerly known as Saddam City and says it sounds like South Central L.A., which is to say that it sounds like gang war.

Not only does this whole thing remind me of our own gangstas, it also reminds me of how melodramatic and uber-important reporters try to make things appear. When you see stories about Al-Sadr and all his various turf battles, you get the feeling that these are big, powerful dudes who occupy an important place in regional politics. The press plays it like it’s some romantic Hemingway crap, when it’s really the same bland s*** you hear on your local six o’clock news.

You really can’t blame them, though. Most of your war reporters are usually taken with the novelty of their situation and being in a foreign country makes everything seem more special and important than the prosiac s*** you experience in the States. After all, they didn’t travel thousands of miles to do police blotter work, they’re there to cover historic and monumental s***, so their writing naturally has that air of melodrama about it. That’s also why garden variety thugs get these fancy titles like “Warlord.” When’s the last time you heard some piece of s*** gangbanger in your city referred to as a “warlord” on the news?

Ditto Somalia, he says.

It’s a perceptive perspective on media. It’s an extensioin of the problem I mentioned the other day: ABC and Time sending a task force to Iraq to uncover what everyday life is like when reporters should be reporting that everyday. Or they can read Zeyad.