A couple of American officers who had served in Iraq were talking about their time there. And, in particular, their departure. An Iraqi said to one of them, “I can’t believe you came here and didn’t take our oil.” Another Iraqi said, “I can’t believe you’re leaving voluntarily. No invading army ever does that.”One of the American officers said he had felt like the mayor of a town — responding to the needs of the people, keeping the town together. I saw this with my own eyes on a visit to Iraq: American officers essentially acting as mayors.Say what you will about nation-building (and there’s a lot to say). But, after hearing this latest testimony, I got angry all over again, remembering a conversation I had with a prominent German in about 2006. He talked about American servicemen in World War II and after. They had helped the people around them, and formed bonds with them. This, however, was not happening in Iraq — or so said the German. We were betraying our best traditions.BS. (That is not a bachelor of science degree.)Oh, one more thing: An officer said, “You know how the press referred to the people who were trying to kill us as ‘insurgents’? We always just called them al-Qaeda.”
This seems about right. If anything, our volunteer, better-trained, more-aware-they-are-being-watched servicemen are probably better-behaved than the Greatest Generation. Heresy to say such things, I'm sure, as we all know the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, led by the completely irresponsible younger generation.
Why, exactly, do we think Americans are worse now than then? Okay, I know why, but it pays for everyone to think it through.