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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
IT'S PROBABLY THREE YEARS TOO LATE for all this stuff, tragically, but, hey, maybe we can keep it in mind next time we invade a country and try to occupy it.
But Ancker argues that the Iraq invasion showed that the Army did not grasp the flip side of the Bosnia lesson, that during combat operations there was a need for peacekeeping-style activities. "We did not have that down nearly as well as we thought we had," he says. The next operations field manual will tell commanders that even when engaged in combat operations they need to immediately focus on making the civilian population physically safe, establishing some sort of governance to allow society to function, and restoring essential services.
Stability. Embedded in the new doctrine is an implicit critique of how the Iraq invasion was conducted. The Army now argues that racing from city to city, with relatively little concern for security, is a mistake. "In particular, if you are conducting a major combat operation and you are thinking about the aftermath of how you are going to relate to the population after the fight, you are going to conduct the fight differently," Ancker says. "And part of that, frankly, is to decrease the opportunity for disgruntled elements to gain support from a population that is looking for things such as security, governance, and essential services."
At the front of a classroom at Fort Leavenworth, Maj. Andy Johnson starts up a clip from the documentary film Gunner Palace. The clip shows an American unit raiding the home of suspected bomb makers. In the courtyard, as the Iraqi men try to explain something, the soldiers shout at them, "Keep your mouth shut!" and "Hey, shut up!" Crouching low, one of the Iraqi men says in English, "I know that 'shut up.'"
When the video ends, Johnson asks the class what they thought of the Americans' actions. "They weren't mistreating them," says one student, an Army major; "they didn't know what they were going to do." After more discussion, Maj. Christopher Schmitt, a teacher who helped design the course, pipes up from the back of the class. "These guys were just fence-sitters; these guys are noncommittal," he says of the Iraqis in the video. "But after being handcuffed in front of their wives, do we think these guys are fence-sitters anymore?"
The answer, clearly, is no. "Watch Cops," says Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Schlemmer, one of the students. "The state troopers always keep their cool, no matter what is going on." Johnson moves toward the center of the class and asks, "Did you hear them say, 'I know that "shut up"?' Who do they know that from?" Maj. Derrick Fishback answers: "Saddam." Johnson nods: "It goes from one oppressor to another. This is not easy stuff. It is counterinsurgency."
Schmitt and Johnson teach that when fighting an insurgency, the second-order effects of a mission are as important as the initial tactical maneuver. Some officers believe American forces in Iraq do not always fully consider such unintended consequences, in part because some commanders do not encourage dissenting views from their staff. Such units are susceptible to "groupthink," says Gregory Fontenot, a retired colonel who wrote a history of the Iraq invasion. Fontenot has begun a pilot program at Fort Leavenworth to teach officers how to serve as a commander's designated skeptic--or in military parlance, the "red team." A good red-team officer puts forward a contrary point of view, not something a rigid hierarchy necessarily reacts well to. "You want someone who can be critical," Fontenot says, "without bringing out the antibodies." Says Wallace, "If we don't have someone thinking like a potential adversary, we are doomed not to take into account culture and nontraditional military thought."
As Petraeus and the "mayor" sit down for a cup of tea, Staff Sgt. Albert Ortega watches.
Ortega, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a member of Fort Irwin's resident opposition force. He plays the role of a Sunni Arab bus driver named "Imran," whose loyalties shift depending on the actions of the American force in training. The 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade, a Fort Lewis, Wash.-based unit, is about to finish its two-week Fort Irwin training in preparation for Iraq deployment later this year. The brigade has been doing a good job, and the opposition force's fence-sitters are generally remaining neutral. But a few days before, the brigade "detained" Ortega. The Americans seized him, he claims, for no reason. Not only did the detention give him some new motivation for his character, but it prompted him to do some thinking about his next deployment to Iraq. After the mock experience of being detained, "we have some insight on how the Iraqi civilians feel," Ortega says. "When we are over there, you think every Iraqi you see might be an insurgent. But you want to be sympathetic to the people trying to live their everyday life."
As the sun begins to fade, Ortega says he is particularly interested in how the brigade will handle crowd control. Indeed, the next day Ortega is doing his best to provide a challenge. Ortega's short beard and robelike dishdasha make him a convincing Iraqi. The soldiers in training do not immediately recognize him as a member of the opposition force.
In front of the "town hall," a large group of Iraqis has gathered, awaiting the Sunni imam. The American soldiers are on edge. It is the last day of their training, and they suspect something big will happen. One soldier has already caught a would-be sniper nearby. Ortega slips into the crowd. He begins pointing and yelling at Sgt. Christopher Thomas. Thomas tries to calm him down, but the nearby Iraqi-American actors start yelling, too. Thomas points his rifle at Ortega. The Iraqi crowd falls silent for a split second, then surges forward. Thomas reaches out and shoves Ortega backward.
On a whiteboard mounted on the side of his humvee, Staff Sgt. Adrian Tennant lists crowd control among the skills the platoon needs to improve before it ships out to Iraq. "How are you going to fix the problem?" Tennant asks the platoon.
"The key is not to get frustrated," suggests Staff Sgt. Jon Hilliard, one of the platoon's squad leaders.
"Do you really want to point your weapon at the crowd?" asks Tennant. "How would you feel if it was pointed at you?"
"You don't want to incite a riot if there is no reason to," Hilliard answers.
Brig. Gen. Robert Cone, the commander of the National Training Center, has devised a novel way to test how well his troops are building "trust and confidence." The observer-controllers record every promise a unit in training makes to the Iraqi-American role-players--and they count how many are broken. To discourage commanders from making promises they cannot keep, the opposition force puts them to a test. If a commander promises to keep a town secure, the insurgents try to attack it.
Cultural terrain. Winning the hearts and minds, or establishing trust and confidence, requires understanding the Iraqis. Military units are good at sharing knowledge of the physical landscape. But they are not so good when it comes to sharing knowledge about such things as the allegiances of local subtribes and the reliability of various local leaders, and much is lost when a unit rotates out. "We used to just focus on the military terrain," Petraeus says. "Now we have to focus on the cultural terrain."
One idea to fix the problem is to create maps or databases of this human terrain. Don Smith, a strategic consultant with Fort Leavenworth's Foreign Military Studies Office, is working on creating ways for Army units to record and share the cultural knowledge they gain. Smith says a human terrain map could also help measure where America is winning the war and where it is losing.
The better a unit understands the insurgency in its area, for instance, the more it can target specific houses and the less it has to search entire neighborhoods with broad sweeps that alienate Iraqis.
The 2nd I.D.'s intelligence poster is the work of Staff Sgt. Shawn Ray. Petraeus leans back, nodding his head as he examines the connections that Ray has made. "All right," Petraeus says. "You've cracked the code here."
"Yes, sir," Ray answers, in a voice made hoarse by the desert dust.
"What would help you get ... precise, actionable intel?" the general asks. "So you can do a cordon and knock, not a cordon and search. Who has given you the highest-quality stuff?"
"It's company commanders, even Joe on the ground who has someone come up to him," Ray says.
"Yup, yup," Petraeus says, motioning to his aide, who produces a coin. It reads, "Presented by the Commanding General for outstanding performance." Petraeus offers Ray his hand and slips the coin into the sergeant's palm.
Three years on, the Army increasingly recognizes that mistakes were made during the invasion of Iraq and its immediate aftermath. Those errors helped the insurgency to bloom and handed America a difficult, complex conflict. "It is not the fight we wanted," Wallace says, "but it's the fight we got." So the Army has set out to prove it can remake its doctrine, schools, and training centers in the midst of war. "The goal is to help our Army be a learning organization," says Petraeus, "and we think there is a lot of that going on."
Perhaps someday, soldiers will tell stories about the new National Training Center: tales of how their unit took out a sniper before he could shoot an imam, or how they persuaded one sect not to attack another. But for now, of course, there are real stories from a real war.
LESSON #1: Emphasize stability and security
LESSON #2: Study counter-insurgency
LESSON #3: Know the cultural terrain
LESSON #4: Gain trust and confidence
LESSON #5: Improve intelligence analysis.
Of course, after three years of occupation, it's very very very hard to not believe that teaching this now is way too late. Maybe it isn't. But it's difficult to be optimistic about that.
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