I have one of those hard-drive TV recorders and during my convalescence I have been catching up on some of the programs that I missed. I have now finished watching HBO's The Pacific.
A Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg collaboration, it attemts to do for the war against the Japanese what Band of Brothers did for the war against the Germans.
The Pacific war was very different from the European war, and we in Europe don't know much about it. It was a dirtier and more brutal war against an enemy that would not surrender. In a way it was a religious war. Emperor worship was a religion of honor/shame. Christian America believed in sin/forgiveness. Honor/shame takes no prisoners.
In the end America won, not because its soldiers were braver or more virtuous, but because it had better technology.
At one point civilians were ushered forward by the retreating Japanese forces. One woman offered her baby to the American soldiers only to be revealed to be wearing a suicide bomb belt. This could only have been meant to be for us to draw a resemblance to Islamic terrorists who have a similar honor/shame life view. Perhaps the answer in Afghanistan is better technology.