March 4, 2011

Vantage Point: Restraint After Dark

From At War by C.J. Chivers -
Imagine that you were a soldier sent to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan, and assigned to an area where the Taliban were strong. Now imagine that you were told, by both your officers and by the Afghan government that your country was underwriting, that you were forbidden from searching inside buildings after the sun went down. What might you think of this prohibition, knowing that Taliban gunmen and bomb-makers were unimpeded by any such rules?

Now switch perspectives.

Imagine that you were a member of an Afghan family living in a rural area where American soldiers had set up a string of small firebases, and where local men had organized into an underground front. Now imagine that soldiers from this foreign force, when on patrols, walked through your yard and your fields, and routinely entered government buildings and schools. What would you think if they entered your home, and searched through your belongings, including your clothes, your kitchen utensils and the rooms where you sleep?

Switch perspectives again.

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