Columnists Mock Rep. Pence's 'Just Like Indiana' Comment on Baghdad Market

By: E&P Staff While the sunny comments of Sen. John McCain after visiting the Shorja market in Baghdad last Sunday -- now partly disavowed -- have drawn the most press attention, several wags have also had a good deal of fun with the now famous sound bite offered by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. He said the Baghdad bazaar was "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime."

Here are a couple of current op-eds that took off on this remark.

First, the opening and then conclusion of John Kenney in today's Los Angeles Times.

My wife came into the living room wearing a Kevlar vest, helmet and night-vision goggles.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Have you completely forgotten, silly head? We're going to the market."

I placed my hand at my head. I'd been so caught up in stitching a minor wound I'd received earlier in the day after going to an outdoor fruit stand that I had completely forgotten....

"You kids have fun?" Carol asked.

"Yeah!" said Chip.

"He was holding a loaf of bread and it got blown out of his hand!"

"It was so awesome, Mum."

We all laughed. Really hard. That's how shopping is in Indiana in the summer. It's just fun. It's fun and safe and hopeful and full of warm and welcoming Indianans and insurgents and snipers and bombs.

"Oh darn," Carol said.

"What is it, honey?"

"We forgot milk."


Now here is Dale McFeatters, the Scripps New Service columnist.

We're not terribly familiar with outdoor markets in eastern Indiana, but based on Pence's observation we see the scene as something like this:

"Howdy, welcome to Vi and Elmer's Korner Kafe, where the elite meet and take cover on market day. Excuse the blast wall. It helps keep the shrapnel out.

"As you might have guessed, I'm Elmer. Let's crawl over to the counter. Try to stay below the level of the window. Drat it! They hit the cake stand.

"Look, hand me my rifle -- no, the other one, the M-16 -- and help yourself to some coffee while I take care of these snipers....

"Where's Vi? Oh, she took the kids and fled to Ohio. She got nervous when the neighbors started disappearing. I stayed on to look after the cafe, but business has been terrible. People are either dead or fled. Frankly, if I sell a couple of BLTs it's a big day....

"If you have to go, you have to go. Let me get an extra clip and I'll cover you. Watch out for the patrol convoys. They don't stop. The Humvees aren't bad, but the Strykers will mess you up something fearful, and you don't want to know what an Abrams will do to the human body.

"Enjoy the market! Oh, and stay away from any unattended zucchini. That's where they like to hide IEDs. Come back real soon."


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