Friday, June 17, 2005

What the troops know about Iraq

Some of you may know about this already, since it isn't new, but have you all seen the "Iraq Culture Smart Card" for American troops? Check it out here. (A PDF version is available at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) site here.)

Fascinating stuff. I encourage you to look it over. Indeed, we could all learning something from it.

All I can say is that, despite all the allegations of abuse -- and they're obviously extremely troubling (see here, here, here, and here for my takes) -- there's absolutely no justification for the moral equivalency argument (i.e., that America/Americans are no better than [fill in the blank]). Some Iraqis may not exactly have welcomed the U.S., and the U.S. may not have done things exactly right, but at least there has been considerable effort -- and this Smart Card is proof of that -- to be sensitive and understanding of the local culture and to try, in terrible conditions, to do the right thing.

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  • I do believe you're whistling past the graveyard. We attacked, conquered, and occupied a sovereign nation posing no threat to ours. It's like the proceeds from a crime, all of it is tainted regardless of what is done with it. What we've done to innocent Iraqis and Afghanis is reminscent of the Nazis. I've been to several concentration camps and aside from the outright genocide, not much is different.

    As for the 'Smart' Card, I had one of them when I served at the height of the cold war. Only it was a culture cheat sheet in Russian.

    Like Israel, we have become what we despise the most.

    By Blogger Fixer, at 7:27 AM  

  • Jarhead
    By Anthony Swofford
    A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles

    Gulf War memoir...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:48 PM  

  • Yes, I know Jarhead. A fantastic read, and certainly still relevant.

    Fixer, you make a valuable point, and I think where we differ is in perspective. Have we become what we despise the most? Yes, to a certain extent. America is a nation built on certain universal principles, but the hypocrisy is all too obvious. But I still don't think that the U.S. is on par with Nazi Germany (where millions were exterminated). This doesn't excuse what's happened at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, nor all the renditions of prisoners to countries that torture as a matter of common practice, nor does it mean that the U.S. shouldn't be held to the very highest standards of justice, nor does it even justify the Iraq war generally. It just means that we need some perspective before we rip America to shreds.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:50 AM  

  • Well, The Reaction is open to all views -- as long as there's nothing abusive that's said. I respect where The Fixer is coming from, but I don't agree with some of what he has to say. See my post on Durbin for more.

    Okay, Nate. Good luck with the more personal, journal-type blog. And I hope you keep coming out here to write about current events. Your comments are always welcome.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:57 AM  

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