Tuesday, May 15, 2007

General Values

Have I mentioned how much I respect Michael Yon's writing (the independent photo-journalist in Iraq)? Have I mentioned how much I respect General Petraeus (the commanding general in the sandbox)?

Well I couldn't read fast enough when Yon decided to write specifically on the topic of Petraeus and his stand for moral values in the war zone:

One of the reasons I trust General Petraeus is he just comes right out and says what needs to be said. The letter which he sent to our forces serving in Iraq (posted below) is a case in point. The letter is more important than it might appear on first glance…

…We are making progress but the odds are still against us. We cannot take chances or play fast and loose with our own values. In addition to something immoral occurring, it could be the final straw for this war. All it would take is a weak leader behaving immorally, or a tired leader not recognizing the stress level of his soldiers and reacting accordingly, and we might have the proverbial straw that breaks this camel’s back.

This letter from General Petraeus deserves the widest possible dissemination. It should be published widely, and posted on every headquarters wall, and read aloud by every troop in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can pummel al Qaeda and other terrorists mercilessly and grind them into the dirt, but we cannot afford to turn local populations against us while we do it…

The local populations that I'm most concerned about are the ones in America, which sometimes seem ready to believe that evil America is the real problem and our soldiers are the bad guys. The last thing we need is another Abu Ghraib to reinforce that delusion. Read the whole dispatch (with photos) here.

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