Thursday, December 29, 2005

Robert Kaplan on Troop Morale

While running some errands tonight, I caught much of Hugh Hewitt's fascinating interview with Robert Kaplan. You may have heard Kaplan's name recently, because the President is currently reading his book, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground. Kaplan has spent several years traveling the globe being embedded with US troops.

When Hewitt asked Kaplan about the idea that the military is tired and worn out, I found Kaplan's answer to be very interesting:

My commentary is that...and I just came back from Iraq, and I spent six months a year in the barracks, is that I've only met two kinds of Army Special Forces and front line Marines: Those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who are pulling every bureaucratic string to get deployed there. Morale has never been better. It's much better than in the 1990's, where the military was not really allowed to do anything. Front line combat troops are like artisan writers. They want to be active in their chosen profession. As I said, morale has never been better, and the one complaint I hear is we can get this thing done in Iraq. It may take a few years longer than people think, but the weakest link is the home front.

You don't see that on the evening news--but then again, it doesn't exactly fit their preconceived storyline.