I don't really care for the opinion of actors on matters of war but he makes some good points. The U.S. does assume the moral high ground in conflicts before intervention.

One example I can give is in talking about the customs of foreign countries, the Air Force now briefs some faux pas in Somalia. As the story goes, troops in helicopters flying over the country would hang their feet out of the aircraft as they made their way. This showing of the bottom of your foot is perceived as a form of disrespect by Somalians, and many cultures in the area, and lost us the support of the population, even contributing to the failure of the missions there.

This is ludicrous. First, it assumes that Somalians were well aware of the US mission and in support. Then it assumes that these people can't get over a perceived insult of this magnitude, nor can they separate an actual insult from someone from a coincidental fly-over. Then, and most ridiculously, it assumes that people will fight and die over an insult of this magnitude. Even if all of that were true, why would the US have fighting on the behalf of someone of that imaginary barbarians culture?

Clearly this is ridiculous, but it is preached to people every day as a tool in teaching cultural sensitivity. Not by people who think they are lying mind you, but by people who never thought about it, and kept it going. We do the same thing as a country, just assuming that if people hear about the gospel of freedom that they'll become instant converts, and that everyone is yearning for democracy. In JFKs time it was at least a proxy war against Russia. Now it's just war for no reason.

posted by mk: 1316 days ago