Monday, November 27, 2006

# Posted 8:33 AM by Patrick Porter  

TO SUCCEED at difficult counter-insurgencies and nationbuilding, or to avert societal breakdown, its better not to torment thirsty children, nor to film it. (hat-tip, Randy).

This is no doubt atypical of the behaviour of most men and women serving in Iraq. Which is one reason exactly why it is so damaging. Given the power of media images, there is now the dangerous ability to taint unfairly the reputation of the armed forces as a whole.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

I agree, media stuff can be bent certain ways,
To borrow from George Galloway, "This occupation degrades the occupier as much as it degrades the occupied." Galloway was borrowing from and extending David Ben Gurion, "Occupation degrades a fighting force."
Why is there 'no doubt' that this is atypical behaviour?
Hi Anon,

its a judgement from two things. Firstly, I've been fortunate to meet more than a small sample of them and unless I'm wildly off beam, they express serious purpose about rebuilding and the local population.

Less impressionistically, there is a convincing argument that, most of the time, their behaviour on other humanitarian questions is respectable:


Armed forces found to be relatively good at respecting noncombatant immunity are also relatively less likely to maltreat children casually.
"meester, meester", A soldier hears it every day he rides through the streets here. Kids run to the roadside when a convoy passes, unless there is a bomb planted nearby. They yell, wave, smile, motion for food, it's like a parade in some ways, something exciting. In the beginning of the war, we through stuff to the kids, but it got to where they were running into traffic, so wwe were told to stop.

I am not saying the kids weren't thirsty, but it is also game to them. The Soldier was definitely doing something totally dumb-ass, I guarantee you it was not malicious, just an unthinking way to pass the time on a road they have probably driven down a dozen times. Bad habit to get into in Iraq, though.
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