First, it’s hard to overstate the level of cynicism toward Iraqi or Afghan culture on the part of the majority of American soldiers who’ve spent considerable time “outside the wire.” With their own eyes they’ve seen levels of brutality, ignorance, abuse (particularly toward women), and even pedophilia beyond anything even remotely comparable to their American experiences. Anti-Semitism is loud and vicious, making some Jewish soldiers reluctant to reveal or discuss their religious identities. Simply put, for Americans schooled in the mindless cultural relativism of our high schools and colleges, the profound negative differences between our culture and contemporary Arab Middle Eastern culture are shocking.
My brief interlude in the Middle East during Desert Storm resulted in virtually no interaction with the local population or our Arab allies. I’d like to hear what some of our readers with experience there have to say.
At any event, read the whole article, and indeed, the comments.