We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As the attack unfolded, about a thousand Iraqis fled their homes, and it was the job of C-52 to screen for al Qaeda. Some al Qaeda—who cross-dressed and tried to slip out as women—were caught when their disguises failed. Some Iraqis reported that homes in their areas had been destroyed, and I recall one saying that people were trapped in the rubble, though civilian deaths from our attacks were so low they were difficult to count. (I had free range and was specifically watching for civilian fatalities, yet did not see any civilians killed by us during the attack.)
The deliberate pace of the attack, the systematic and thorough process of clearing the city house by house, street by street, and block by block, were factors in this; but the civilian and military casualties were also kept low by the unexpected and overwhelming cooperation of ordinary Iraqi citizens, who pointed out the enemy and many of the bombs set to ambush troops.
There were interesting dynamics unfolding. For instance, our soldiers were much more reluctant to use force when civilians were helping. I saw numerous occasions where soldiers cleared out all the civilians in areas before attacking known targets that civilians had pointed out. For instance, in the more than two dozen houses and buildings rigged as giant bombs, civilians pointed out many of those bombs. Our soldiers and Iraqi soldiers simply stopped, cleared out the people, and then destroyed the buildings, but each time they worked harder to mitigate damage to surrounding houses, and paid people for the unavoidable damages when they occurred.
The downside of diversity A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth
IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.
But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings
"The extent of the effect is shocking," says Scott Page, a University of Michigan political scientist.