Saturday, November 11, 2006

Soldier Sensitivity?

After the Abu Ghraib fiasco, we know that some American soldiers are not the pinnacle of sensitivity. But after reading this article in the Columbia Journalism Review, it occurred to me that maybe our soldiers should take a seminar or something before they load themselves into Humvees. Regardless of the belief that an insurgent may be hiding under every stone, the Iraqis are people, have a set standard of cultural practices and religious beliefs that should be respected as the soldiers look for "the enemy." Bread is considered holy, and walking into someone's house with shoes on is disrespectful. American soldiers chew tobacco to stay awake and spit all over people's yards when they go on raids. A group of soldiers thought that the daily prayer call was a call to arms. This group of vignettes shows the many cultural clashes that soldiers make when fighting, and shows another factor that our president should keep in mind as he tries to establish democracy.

To read the article, click here.


At Saturday, November 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading this posting and the CJR article, it seems like many Americans, or at least the journalists behind these pieces, are ignorant of the military's purpose: to protect the people whose country they pledge allegance. Soldiers don't need sensitivity training, they need to put down an enemy and go home. Since Vietnam politicians have exhausted too much energy trying to please the people they attack. You go to war to defeat your enemy, or you don't go at all.

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

It's important to remember that American soldiers are not supposed to be creating more enemies. There are already plenty of enemies in places like Iraq. Disrespecting the culture and standards of Iraqi civilians, even though it's often done without malice, is only creating more ill will.

We have good people who are doing bad things simply because they are ignorant. A day's worth of cultural sensitivity training might save a few American lives. The idea isn't just to steamroll our enemies and come home. We should also try to establish a rapport with Iraqi civilians so we don't have to go back into the same situation in the future.


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