Iraqi soldiers bit the heads off frogs and ate the heart of a rabbit as signs of courage on Wednesday at a ceremony to transfer Najaf province, home to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines, from U.S. to Iraqi control...Politicians, tribal and religious leaders and soldiers watched displays of military prowess and one demonstration, hailed as a display of courage, in which five soldiers stopped before the grandstand to bite the heads off frogs. A sixth holding a live rabbit slit open its stomach and ate its heart before tossing the carcass to his comrades to chew on. Under Saddam Hussein's rule, his feared Fedayeen militia carried out similar
acts, and in one instance were videoed hunting a fox and then tearing it
apart with their teeth.
and of course, behind the symbolism:
Troops paraded round in shining new vehicles...but Iraq's Deputy Chief of Staff...conceded there were problems with procuring equipment and setting up supply lines, for which the Iraqi forces still depend largely on U.S. support. One soldier, Corporal Ali Abdul Hasan, said the army needed everything from helicopters to guns. "Some vehicles arrived with parts missing and we have old weapons. They didn't even give us pistols," he said.