When American soldiers went to Iraq, they were given this guide. Reading it, I am amazed at how little has changed. I've also read Joker One, and wonder what the soldiers in our current war would make of the information my grandfather was given, including these samples:
The guide proceeds to give a list of dos and don'ts (don't spit or smoke near mosques, do respect the Moslem women, etc.) It also includes a list of useful phrases and conversions, and a history of both the country and the Muslim religion.
We have made so many mistakes in the current war in Iraq. Maybe one of them is our lack of history, our inability to look back and remember the soldiers who were there before, their experiences, and their potential insights. The veteran's group for the Persian Gulf Command was essentially disbanded in 2007, because there weren't enough veterans left to gather and remember. But their stories are worth reading, and their contributions to the war should be remembered on this day.