The puppy's name -- for those of us who cared to give her a name -- is "Felafel." She lives at a patrol base we've handed over; I'm not sure what the Iraqis call it now. They don't call the puppy anything at all, but she comes running when she sees an American hummer.

The Iraqis are skeptical of the American love of dogs. "You should not touch dogs," they tell us. "Dogs are filthy."

"Yes, she is!" we reply, crouching down to rub her belly. "You're a filthy girl!" Dust pours off her when you rub her belly, and she is very grateful.

I recall the look from our Iraqi hosts, which I suppose I would describe as frustration. They're trying to make a point, and we seem to be agreeing with them, and yet are enthusiastically doing the opposite of what they advise.

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