Differences? Sure there are differences. Difference of costume, Difference of food. Differences of manner and custom and religious belief. Different attitudes towards women. Differences galore.
What of it? You aren’t going to Iraq to change the Iraqis. We are fighting this war to preserve the principle of “live and let live.” Maybe that sounded like a lot of words to you at home. Now you have a chance to prove it to yourself and others. If you can, it’s going to be a better world to live in for all of us.
But then there's this essay from the NY Times about anthropologists assisting the US Army in Afghanistan:
Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments, sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on “love Thursdays” and do some “hanky-panky.” “Stop imposing your values on others,” was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and I found it heartwarming.
Richard A. Schweder, A True Culture War
Out of all the differences between Afghan culture and American ethics, Schweder just had to highlight this reprehensible practice for his NY Times readers' approval. Even if soldiers' moral judgments were interfering with their mission, stopping such judgment is a violation of sound ethics. There are appropriate ways of keeping one's disgust private, and I'm sure many soldiers are quite capable of doing so. I pray the writer is overstating what looks like indoctrination of our soldiery.
Schweder invokes stupid relativist slogans. He calls the nonjudgemental acceptance of pederasty "Heartwarming." He speaks in an ironic tone of "Love Thursdays" and "hanky-panky." This is degenerate camp at its worst.