A Soldier's Story

Now THAT's a good soldier's story.

Yes, it is possible for Americans to understand what they're doing and, as a result, do the right thing and maybe even slowly undo the damage they do in Iraq. On the other hand, it needs to be done one man at a time (learning, and understanding). Lectures don't work, only insight will help. And insight can't be mass produced.

As a practical matter though, it probably won't happen. There is too much ingrained cultural arrogance and ignorance there. Even if 5% of the troops could be taught to see the truth, the rest of them would be a dead weight. The U.S. can't win counter-insurgency wars because their priorities are all wrong, and they can't change. For instance, force protection through the application of overwhelming force on the opposition, is a RATIONAL choice. It just loses.

It doesn't help that any military (and the U.S. military in particular) is hidebound and tends toward ultraconservative values. That's a good thing in some wars. But again, in counter-insurgency, it loses. Liberalism is a stupidity in its own right, but ultraconservatives aren't (as a group, or in the majority) capable of seeing a middle way and seeing things as they are since any extremist (left or right, up or down) viewpoint will always prefer to see things as the viewer wishes things.

There is no victory to be won in Iraq, but this one soldier shows a way to an honorable end. One can hope that enough in the U.S. military will learn the right lessons. Even if it does seem unlikely.

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