September 12, 2003
The Mission (book)The Mission: America's Military in the Twenty-First Century
What does the military do when they're not fighting? The author of this book suggests that they become "de facto rulers" abroad, something that they are not trained or even authorized to do.
I enjoyed this book. It is a bit harsh on civilian officials with regard to military policy, and I think that is much deserved. The military's job is to fix problems. They have a "can do" attitude and approach problems very pragmatically. Politicians, on the other hand, try to make themselves look good. Full stop.
The range of stories portrayed is quite engaging as well. The author follows several different people through their daily routines, from regional CinCs with their private jets and armies of aides to an Albanian translator returning to her ethnic home, dodging mortars and enduring racism while trying to help the soldiers around her understand the culture of the region.
I found this book to be an interesting glimpse into the future for a country that is still young. America is struggling with political correctness, frivolous lawsuits and racial discrimination (to name a few) at the moment, and it doesn't take much extrapolation to imagine what the future holds. Albanians and Serbs have an extremely deep-seated hatred for one another, based on events in the past that were perpetuated by both sides. There is no right answer to how to stop the cycle, but I think a little understanding and truth from both sides of any conflict can go a long way to stopping cycles of hatred and violence before they start.Posted by yargevad at September 12, 2003 05:25 PM