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This is a very insightful and important perspective! I think our military needs a vastly different structure and strategy than we've ever had before. Our very capable men are crippled by bureaucratic inefficiency and political correctness.

I've been thinking about the Revolutionary War, when the "Redcoats" were totally baffled by the new techniques we learned from the Native Americans. According to the history books, they were outraged that we didn't adhere to the established rules of war, and refused to change their tactics. Well, in some ways, we have become the Redcoats. I'll probably write a blog post about it sometime.

Anyway, I always enjoy reading your perspective on things even though you are SO much smarter than I!


How'd I miss this post before?

You're totally right, here. We've firmly planted all of our appendages into the tar baby now.

Honestly, I'm surprised anyone is willing to run for President at this point. I sure wouldn't want to inherit such a mess.


Very good post. Speaking from military experience, and from having friends over there in Iraq, you are right. It is difficult to ask a 19 year old to do both, but I do think many of our servicemen handle it well. While I don't agree with everything that is taking place, I do know that there are many good things taking place over there that we never hear about, and that makes me sad. Many of the troops that are giving out supplies to their surrounding community feel a large sense of pride and do this very well. I think their is a deep understanding of what we are trying to accomplish over there, and the military members that are in it for the most part are more than willing to do what is needed. While it is difficult, I think most of them understand that not every Iraqi is an insurgent, and that the Insurgents do not change their attitudes about the rest of the Iraqi people. There is still a job to be done.

Thanks for the post!


Hi all. Thanks for your input. I just want to clarify that in no way am I trying to demean what our military has done and continues to do in Iraq. There are certainly many, many good things taking place that don't make the headlines.

I agree with RJ that, unlike Vietnam, our troops in Iraq indeed have a much clearer understanding of the mission (generally speaking, there are exceptions of course!). And, after Saddam's gov't was toppled, that mission is as I stated above NATION BUILDING - something that the U.S. military, as it is currently structured, is neither equipped nor trained to do. That being said, if the U.S.-supported Iraqi state manages to survive its tenuous infancy, then it will hopefully be a beacon of stability and self-govt in the Middle East. But that will take a generation.

Let's look at our history: the last state the U.S. military massively supported (South Vietnam) barely lasted only a year and a half after the majority of our troops were withdrawn. Before that we helped prop up South Korea (30,000 U.S. troops still there) and before that Germany and Japan (can you believe 100,000 of our troops are STILL in these nations as well - 62 years after the WWII ended!?). Yep, these figures are accurate!

So what does that mean for Iraq...? Is the American public ready for the long haul and if so will we restructure our military to meet the peacekeeping and nation-builging capabilities it will certainly face in the 21st Century?

Wendy Love

You are right but only in part, because you must understand that "building playground and organizing football tournaments" is an extremely good thing for soldiers out on missions. I was an army psychologist in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I can tell you that taking time off from bullets, bombs, road blocks and insurgents is mentally helpful for every individual. Stress relief and putting efforts into something else than killing other human beings can prevent a person go mad. Thank you.

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