The EFM Feature

I’m not sure how David is still finding time to write for National Review, but apparently he is!

Diyala Province, Iraq — For most of my career, I’ve worked in perhaps the most despised profession in America: the large-firm corporate lawyer. Anyone who’s spent any time within the much-maligned mahogany corridors of legal power knows that life is dominated by long hours, demanding clients, and . . . mission statements.
Yes, mission statements. It would be hard to overstate the number of hours spent at “retreats” or in meetings with partners, associates, consultants, and “facilitators” agonizing over the purpose and direction of the firm or the local branch office of the firm or the department within the local branch office of the firm. We would endlessly discuss the immortal questions so powerfully raised by Admiral James Stockdale: Who are we? Why are we here? For some reason, my answer — “This firm exists to make as much money as it can within the rules of honor, law, and ethics” — never made the cut. Too crass, I suppose.
Despite my best efforts, I still can’t shake the mission-statement mentality — the urge to reduce complex efforts to a single-sentence summary — and I find myself doing that even here in Iraq. I just passed the 23rd week of my mobilization, and I think I finally came up with a sentence that sums up our current fight pretty well: “Our mission is to help rebuild a shattered country while overcoming vast cultural differences in the midst of constant combat.”
If there is just one story that sums up the reality of this place, it is a story told by a veteran trooper in my unit, 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (LTC Paul T. Calvert, Commanding).

Read the rest of the story here.


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