Thank you for this article. I found it to be very informative and even inspiring, but not surprising.
I remember how I felt at learning some of the truth about what occurred in Vietnam, especially regarding the death of so many innocents and the effects on the soldiers. I understood both the short-term effects that influenced their decisions to engage over there, and the long-term that we all saw here at home. (My uncle was never the same, always depressed, and refused to talk about the war.)
I realized then that all wars have these effects, and that they are part of the cost of war. Even though I was a kid during Vietnam, I don't think I was extraordinary in my ability to reach these conclusions about war.
When this Iraq war started, I naïvely thought that everyone understood the effects of war, and that the calculus had been made with this in mind, especially by the leaders of a country as open and benevolent as our United States of America. But not only have the lessons of war not been learned, it seems those chosen to be responsible for making decisions about war didn't even care to learn about its effects. Our leaders do not understand the power of openness and benevolence, and as a result our soldiers are left out in the dark, fighting against an unclearly defined enemy and creating more of them.
I am convinced that whatever we need to do to get to a positive resolution of this conflict will require new leadership. A leadership that is committed to honesty, openness, and is fiercely benevolent.
When are we going to learn?