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A Soldier's Story

from The Wall Street Journal

For an officer, war is all about taking care of your own by balancing risk and reward. You don't precipitately hurl your soldiers into a fight, but you don't flinch from one either. American soldiers and Marines are killing machines; the more efficiently they accomplish war's central task, the better for them and for our country. In a counterinsurgency, though, they have to kill the enemy and, simultaneously, protect civilians, among whom the enemy lurks. When soldiers write about counterinsurgency warfare, they automatically address the tension between these two fundamental parts of their mission—a tension that is often missing from accounts by high-profile journalists who have never served. It is important to be reminded that, in certain wars, we demand that our grunts be sympathetic toward the people and implacable toward the enemy sheltered by the people. more


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