Sunday, October 07, 2007

Robert D. Kaplan: Our Troops Want Our Respect, Not Our Pity

Robert D. Kaplan, distinguished author of The Arabists, Imperial Grunts, and his just-published book, Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea and on the Ground, is the foremost chronicler of the 21st century American military. Hugh Hewitt has called him, "The Rudyard Kipling of our era." In last Thursday's OpinionJournal, Kaplan wrote a moving column, which begins:
I'm weary of seeing news stories about wounded soldiers and assertions of "support" for the troops mixed with suggestions of the futility of our military efforts in Iraq. Why aren't there more accounts of what the troops actually do? How about narrations of individual battles and skirmishes, of their ever-evolving interactions with Iraqi troops and locals in Baghdad and Anbar province, and of increasingly resourceful "patterning" of terrorist networks that goes on daily in tactical operations centers?

Kaplan quotes a battalion commander who rejects the media's attempt to confer victimhood on him and his troops. "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." He argues that our soldiers don't want to be pitied, or even to be loved, but rather to be respected for the job that they do. Read the entire column.


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