Courtesy Reuters


The recent war in Iraq was, among other things, a powerful advertisement for the effectiveness of the United States' storied special operations forces. Americans are just now learning what role these commandos played in the conflict, but already it has emerged that, during the early days of the fighting, they managed to secure crucial airfields in western Iraq, protect the country's oil fields from saboteurs (fewer than 10 Iraqi oil fields were ignited, compared to the more than 700 Kuwaiti fields that were set ablaze in 1991), and, most famously, rescue Private Jessica Lynch from an Iraqi hospital.

Yet these achievements,

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