Good guests don’t overstay their welcome

“Be a good guest. Treat the Afghan people and their property with respect,” Gen David Petreaus advises his forces in a new counterinsurgency manifesto.

Maybe during his tenure in Tampa, Florida, Petreaus used to shop regularly at Target and thus has a more elastic definition of the word “guest”, but the way I understand the term, good guests always defer to the wishes of their hosts. Good guests don’t invite themselves into anyone’s home and they don’t overstay their welcome.

Petreaus says: “Live with the people: Position joint bases and combat posts as close to those we’re seeking to secure as is feasible.”

Now when Hezbollah does this in Southern Lebanon where it is the indigenous military force, it gets accused of using the local population as human shields. US and NATO forces in Afghanistan who “live with the people” — they’re just getting cozy with their hosts.

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4 thoughts on “Good guests don’t overstay their welcome

  1. scott

    Our soldiers would be more effective if they patrolled in Crocs. I’ve never heard this discussed, but it is no doubt true. If you wear shoes in a Muslim house, it very well may be akin to wearing really nasty, greasy, muddy shoes in an American home. Muslims pray with their bare heads and faces pressed to the floor, they believe their homes to be Mosques, yet we must defile them.

    I know of this, I am a landscaper. I wear lace up boots, and it’s a pain. I happen to love wearing sandals but this all matters to Muslims. It is a simple factor, and one I think we’ve never addressed.

  2. Christopher Hoare

    American ‘guests’ in Afghanistan — looking to steal the silverware, burn down the house — but you’d better watch out if you ask them to leave. You’ll get a bullet in the head.

  3. Norman

    Question for Christopher, Have you served in Afghanistan with the American forces? Have you seen this first hand? Have you yourself been guilty of doing what you write about here? Your flippant remark, if that’s what it is, causes your comments to be less than stellar.

  4. Alex Bell

    I’m sure you’re correct about the choice of footware, Scott.

    But on the other hand if I was in a house which had just had it’s front door kicked down footware would be well down on my list of concerns.

    Regards, Alex

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