A reader writes from the Middle East:

When I was in Kuwait last week, I caught some of a local documentary on the war. The narration was all in Arabic, but when they talked to US soldiers, you could understand, of course. The documentary was basically following some Americans around on a mission. Some pretty sad stuff. One scene I caught was an American group raiding a local house, for the sole purpose of commandeering the house as a place to spy on a local mosque. You realize that stuff like this has to be done - but, it was sad nonetheless to see how scared this innocent family was when a bunch of guys came pounding in with guns drawn. The family was shaken and the kids terrified, but they had no choice in the matter. You could see how this really doesn't play well on Arabic TV.

They basically told the family that they could only stay in a certain part of the house for the next few days and weren't allowed to leave. The Americans barricaded the external gate to be sure they weren't ratted out. Again, you can see why they do this, but it all seemed rather gruffly done. No apologies, no sympathy. 

Then, the documentary interviewed one of the Marines stationed as a look-out on the roof. He said when he first got to Iraq, it was about mission and patriotism. Now, the guy said all he wanted was to go home. But, he said that the only way most folks went home from Iraq was on a stretcher (wounded) or in a body bag. So, all he cared about now (screw the mission) was protecting himself and his buddies. So, if he had to kill a bunch of bad guys to survive to that point, he was just fine with that. To him, killing had become a routine part of surviving - he felt nothing when he shot someone. He'd be more than happy to kill all sorts of folks, as long as he and his buddies survived. Again, you can completely see how someone gets to this point. But, it's also clear to see how there is no more mission in Iraq - none of the soldiers see any point, nor do they have any goal (other than to survive). You can also see how poorly this type of stuff plays for us on local TV.