May 20, 2004
It's very hard to know the facts about the carnage on the Iraq-Syria border, but whatever the occasion, it appears that the U.S. military was responsible for the deaths of several Iraqi women and children. It was almost certainly a mistake - either of target or of provocation. But it's another blow to the prestige of the U.S. military and their ability to avoid the kind of action which will, in fact, make their mission harder rather than easier. There are now many reports of U.S. soldiers feeling so beleaguered and jumpy that their first instinct is to fire, capture or mistreat captives. And so the cycle of distrust in some areas appears to deepen. [emphasis mine]
Blaming the military for events that make life harder for the military is a big mistake, in my opinion. They are well aware that what happened near Syria is going to be a huge problem. They are well aware that prison scandels and imprecise bombing will cause the anti-war faction to shriek. They are well aware that their every action is watched under a microscope. They don't need Andrew Sullivan to point out the blow to their prestige.
When soldiers feel that the media and the world are watching their every move, they will indeed get jumpy and nervous. The last thing we need are jumpy and nervous soldiers. If you put a basketball team out on the court and then fill the stands with hecklers and let the announcer use the mic to point out every little mistake they make, don't you think that might start to affect the team's performance at some point? That's what we do to our soldiers, only this is life-and-death, not a game of hoops.
Our soldiers know they've potentially made a huge error near Syria. Do we need to rub their faces in it over and over and point out that it's their inabilities that make the war worse?
Posted by: Mike at May 20, 2004 09:46 AM (cFRpq)
Posted by: Machelle at May 20, 2004 09:59 AM (W/eGG)
Posted by: Dana at May 20, 2004 11:55 AM (ah3a+)
Posted by: Jack Grey at May 20, 2004 12:10 PM (3nn57)
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