This post might not be all that relevant for the units the HTTs are here to support -- military tourism is hardly something most maneuver folks here are guilty of. But it was one of my biggest pet peeves when I was here last time--in the Green Zone--so I couldn't help but be disgusted when I stumbled upon this. The mentality associated with walking around this nation like it's your own little sight-seeing trip stuns me. You look at the backgrounds of the authors - a CA guy and an NGO guy - and you just expect better of them. Instead, every local they saw on their sight-seeing wound up seeing the ultimate in ugly American tourists. How can we claim any credibility in anything we do when they see that this is how seriously we take the responsibility we have assumed by doing what we as a nation have done here, and are claiming to do now.
I suppose it could be argued that by trying to explain the historical relevance of these sights, the authors are actually encouraging cultural understanding. It could be argued, that is, until you read tidbits like the fact that the 14 July Bridge was named for the 1985 revolution that overthrew the Hashemite monarchy. Yeah, that's right guys -- the Ba'ath Party finally thought to themselves "Hey, you know what? We're in the middle of a war with Iran, we've been running the country for almost 30 years, let's overthrow the monarchy!"
Thanks for the efforts you so very clearly expended in your time here, guys. There's nothing like a little understanding.