Saturday, November 11, 2006

At Dawn's Early Light - Can you See the Flag Clearly?


Two years ago I wrote what I thought was an succinct and eloquent piece about the power of the tools that terrorists and insurgents and jihadis use. The context, at that time, was an Iraqi who had walked up to a marine and shot him at point blank range, very nearly. This type of thing sows mistrust between the populace and those trying to protect it. It highlights the information asymmetries of an army policing a population without a local knowledge or system of identifying who is who among them.


Now a new book comes out with an outline of all of that and more, called "What Was Asked of Us", complied by journalist Trish Wood.

By turns inspiring and heartbreaking, What Was Asked of Us is a landmark book, the first time our troops in Iraq have been able to speak at length about their experiences. From the thrilling highs (a spectacular rush by the 3rd Infantry Division into Baghdad) to the devastating lows (an account of what it was like to be a soldier at Abu Ghraib, witnessing the abuse of prisoners), this book lets the troops speak for themselves. As a result, it offers the most emotionally powerful and revealing account of the war and is necessary reading for anyone who cares about our soldiers and our country.


This book is a putative effort to keep faith with the troops.

Many (most?) feel their cause to be right and just, but many of them question that and have felt the brunt of fighting for an Iraqi populace that is frightened, confused, indifferent, and hostile, in certain cases.

There are huge non-financial costs to waging war, costs to the soul. These are exacerbated if veterans feel separated from their warring public or imperfect government.


So, support the troops by looking here, see what they did and honor them by learning enough about the conflict to make good a citizen's duty, an informed opinion.

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