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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Soldiers in Afghanistan

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reports on a trip to Afghanistan with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

This holiday season is a good time to remember these faraway soldiers. The debate over Afghanistan has provoked strong feelings, pro and con. But the country seems united in its appreciation for a military that has been suffering the stresses of war, without complaint, for the past eight years.

Soldiers are usually stoics. But the members of this battalion seem highly motivated. The sergeant of a platoon that lost nine men in two weeks asked to reenlist after a memorial service for his buddies. On the day Mullen visited here, the admiral reenlisted 10 soldiers.

This story reinforces our central point: there is more to public life than self-interest.