Atlantic Monthly

Bovine Intervention

An article on dairy training in Iraq.  September 2009 Atlantic.

SINCE MID-2009, Lockie Gary has lived part-time on a Marine base in Fallujah and led a series of seminars that aim to train insurgents’ widows to become milkmaids. On this hot June day, he is in a makeshift classroom in a rural technical school, addressing five quiet but curious students. Cows and humans have many of the same needs, Gary tells his students, and when cows are stressed, they give less milk. “The same things that cause you stress will stress your cows,” he says, and waits for an interpreter to translate. “What stresses you?”