The Iraq war from two perspectives
The Los Angeles Times ran an article in Sunday’s paper that briefly reviews two new books, Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II and The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, each of which offers similar insights on the current situation in Iraq, though from two very different perspectives. Pairing the knowledge of today’s military experts with the suggestions issued by the U.S. War Department to soldiers posted in Iraq during WWII, the L. A. Times David Ulin writes:
Just in time for the renewal of the war debate in Congress, the University of Chicago Press has released The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, a thick guide to strategy—military and otherwise—with forewords by Gen. David H. Petraeus and Lt. Gen. James F. Amos.…Especially interesting is a section called “Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations,” which tells us: “Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction” and “Sometimes, the more force is used, the less effective it is.”
In conjunction with the Field Manual, the University of Chicago Press has also put out Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II—a historical oddity that sheds a certain unintended light upon our current woes. Among its suggestions? “Manners are important”; “Avoid offering opinions on internal politics”; and “No preaching.” Most of all, “use common sense on all occasions. And remember that every American soldier is an unofficial ambassador of good will.”
Read the foreword to the Field Manual by John A. Nagl and “Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations”.
Update: Inside Higher Ed also published a piece on Instructions for American Serviceman in Iraq titled “The Must-Have Iraq Book of 1943—and 2007?” Check their website for the complete article.