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Rules of Engagement and Abusive Citizens

The time has come to draw lessons from the war in Afghanistan. One major concern is how the U.S. military ought to deal with civilians who are sporadic combatants, and civilians who act, part of the time, as support forces for combatants (by serving as intelligence agents, manufacturing ammunition and bombs, supplying provisions and transportation, and so on).

Amitai Etzioni
No Marshall Plan for the Middle East

A number of politicians, U.S. military leaders, and academics have called for a Middle East Marshall Plan—a massive, transformative aid program analogous to the one implemented in Europe after World War II. Although the idea is appealing, there is no way to bring anything remotely resembling the Marshall Plan to the Middle East, and attempts to launch one are likely to cause some undesirable side effects. The sociological, cultural, and structural conditions in postwar Europe were favorable for implementing a large-scale aid program; the opposite is true in today's Middle East. Germany had competent government personnel and relatively low levels of corruption, while in many Middle Eastern nations, corruption is endemic and pervasive. Many Middle Eastern states lack the industrial bases, infrastructure, educated populations, and strong support for science and technology, corporations, business, and commerce institutions that were reconstructed in Germany after World War II. Instead of attempting to create a large-scale transformative program, the United States should scale back to less demanding ambitions, focus on security instead of regime change, work to create favorable trade conditions, and allow for humanitarian aid.

Amitai Etzioni
Whose COIN?

When American and Iraqi army units were integrated to foster closer cooperation between the groups and to intensify Iraqis' training, a number of challenges arose with regard to the latrines they were to share. The Iraqi soldiers, many of them farm boys, were used to relieving themselves by squatting above holes. When they were made to use Western facilities, they squatted on the toilet seat rims, sometimes making, sometimes missing, their target. They also used their left hands instead of toilet paper and cleaned their hands by wiping them on the walls of the latrines. This situation left the Americans with three options: adapt to the Iraqi way, teach the Iraqis the American way, or let each group follow its own culture and set up separate latrines. The third option was selected
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