“We try to be as culturally sensitive as possible, but we want to make sure everybody goes home alive,” said Capt. Paul Kuettner, an intelligence officer. “We’re not going to risk the lives of one of our soldiers to be culturally sensitive.”
This from the Washington Post (the href should appear from the blockquote) report of an uprising in a small Sunni town where the locals sacked the police station in protest against American house searches. They started, in turn, because someone fired an RPG at some soldiers. This is beginning to look like the beginning of a very 20th century colonial war; what Kipling called “a savage war of peace”. But that’s not news.
What struck me about this intelligence officer’s remark was the assumption that the Americans have a choice about being killed or not. They can be polite, but only as a derogation from the invulnerability that is their natural state. I don’t know where they taught him, but the point about war is that it’s not like that.