How we lose Hearts and Minds - and so, the War

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by OldCorpse, May 18, 2007.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #1
    We simply cannot win this war. For a microcosm of why this is, read this small story - it has in it all the seeds of our defeat.

    Insurgents attack. U.S. military response: total lockdown of the city where the attack took place. Civilians start dying - first children and the elderly in hospitals. Medicine trucks are turned away. The population is suffering a great deal. Iraqis everywhere are calling it "collective punishment". Meanwhile, the insurgents responsible, are probably long gone, so the city is suffering for nothing.

    They'll have to lift the blockade eventually, or watch the population die out. As soon as they lift the blockade, the insurgents will be back - and stronger than ever with an enraged population joining and supporting them. Rinse and repeat.

    I thought we learned this lesson in Vietnam: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" DOES NOT WORK. Just because you are doing it on a scale of a city now, will only make it worse.

    You cannot win a war like this, by losing the fight for hearts and minds. You cannot win hearts and minds, if you are a war criminal invading based on lies and forgeries, torturing, killing and destroying along the way.

    We've already lost. The only question is how much more suffering and death on all sides will be necessary for Bush and the Republicans to face reality.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6671075.stm

    "Iraqi town struggles under curfew

    Food and fuel supplies are reportedly running out in the central Iraqi city of Samarra because of a curfew imposed after an insurgent attack 12 days ago.

    Four babies are said to have died in the city's hospital because of a lack of fuel to power their incubators. Two elderly patients have also died.

    Residents have called on US and Iraqi troops to end the restrictions and allow humanitarian aid into the city.

    But only some aid deliveries have been allowed through after intense searches.

    One Iraqi Red Crescent worker from the nearby town of Tikrit said that three of his organisation's trucks had been turned away.

    "The humanitarian situation in Samarra is terrible," he said.

    'Collective punishment'

    The restrictions began on 6 May after a bomb attack killed 12 police officers, including the police chief, Abd al-Jalil al-Dulaimi.

    US and Iraqi forces responded by encircling the mainly Sunni Arab city, blocking off entrances with concrete slabs and sand bags.

    They then extended the hours of a curfew for the 300,000 residents and imposed very strict restrictions on the movement of people and goods into the city.

    The problems caused by dwindling supplies of food and medicine were further exacerbated by the failure of the city's power grid and main water supply, which were both damaged by the bombing.

    An Iraqi humanitarian group, Doctors for Iraq, said it was gravely concerned by the situation in Samarra.

    "Doctors for Iraq condemns in the strongest terms any activities that prevent civilians from accessing healthcare or humanitarian assistance by all actors engaged in the conflict," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The group called for an immediate lifting of the access restrictions, which it said amounted to "an act of collective punishment", and for local NGOs and health workers to be allowed into the city as soon as possible.

    The governor of Salahuddin Province said he would do what he could to end the crisis as soon as possible.

    A spokesman for the US military in Iraq admitted the security measures had "made living very difficult", but said the local authorities had imposed them because of the risk of attacks by insurgents."
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #2
    Collective punishment is of course specifically outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, that quaint set of rules the US helped to design.
     
  3. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #3
    We won the war some time ago. We're losing the reconstruction that followed the war.
     
  4. AHDuke99 macrumors 68020

    AHDuke99

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2002
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #4
    that's right. last time i checked, saddam's body is in the ground. we succeeded in taking him out of power and trying to disarm him. i still believe his WMD are in syria. we are losing out on the reconstruction as the iraqi's are not taking control of their own destiny and we didnt have enough troops in there to secure the border and keep out insurgence from coming through iran.
     
  5. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #5
    Isn't that neat? Change the definition of war to make the argument we've won. Absolutely ****ing splendid.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #6
    You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You have completely lost control of the country you tried to take over, you cannot "succeed in trying", your own country is heading towards financial and moral bankruptcy, and the "insurgence" is composed of Iraqis. Other than that, you make perfect sense.
     
  7. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #7
    No. We won a battle. Many battles. But we lost the WAR.

    We won pretty much every single battle in Vietnam. We still lost the war.

    I remember the run up to this war. The discussions. People would ask me, "What, you don't think we can win the war? Saddam is weaker today than he was back in '91 blah, blah, blah" - and I'd say "I bet Saddam's army will fold like a paper toy. We'll demolish 'em. That will be the FIRST part of this war, the easy part, the part that any moron can tell we'll win. THEN starts the REAL WAR. A guerilla war, in an urban setting. And that, we will lose - you can take that to the bank. Because to win a guerilla war in modern times, you need to win hearts and minds - and this we simply cannot do, because we invaded under false pretenses, and we are seen as the enemy of the people."

    Reconstruction is irrelevant in this context insofar as the guerilla war was started the moment we invaded. It would have failed under all circumstances, since there would be a lack of security - and that's because of the guerilla war which we can't win... and the circle closes.

    You cannot divorce security from reconstruction - you cannot divorce it from the guerilla war. In other words, you cannot win the war.

    That we ALSO bungled the reconstruction, goes without saying. How could it have been any other way? The design from day one, was to fill the pockets of corporations and cronies of the White House. There was no effort to make it even rational. Why otherwise would you fill it with political appointees of the Republicans with zero qualifications, merely loyal hacks? Read, and weep - 24 year old who never worked in finance, was sent to open the Iraqi stock exchange... homeschooled daughter of a neocon, a graduate of an evagelical "school" with zero background in accounting was put in charge of the $13 billion dollar Iraqi budget, and on, and on, and on. You say we "lost the reconstruction" - I ask, how could we possibly have succeeded with this crew, under ANY circumstances?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/16/AR2006091600193_pf.html

    Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq

    "Many of those chosen...to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

    The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort."
     
  8. geese macrumors 6502a

    geese

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    Or to be more precise, you thrashed the Iraqi army, but now the Iraqi population are thrashing you.
     
  9. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    AHDuke99 and Swarmlord, those are some of the least accurate comments I've seen in this forum ever. This, currently, is a war. To try to say this is a post-war situation requires a level of willful ignorance that I can't even imagine what it takes to cultivate.

    If 694 US soldiers have died in the last 231 days and this isn't a war, then we've got the clumsiest army in the world.
     
  10. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    #10
    I watched a documentary a few years ago. It may have been called "Back To Vietnam", or "Return To Vietnam". I do not recall. Essentially, it was a documentary crew, and a handful of Veterans, returning to (duh) Vietnam, and visiting many of the significant places during the war. Naturally, the majority were not in city venues. Most were in God forsaken places where the US established forward bases; Ca Mau, U Minh Forest, Camp Carroll, Rockpile, Con Thien, Firebase Nancy, Muc Hoa, Parrot's Beak, Middle Highlands, and most importantly, Khe Sanh and the A Shaw Valley.

    Most of the readers here will probably have no clue about what the names mean, let alone their significance. They were the equivalent of staggering down a street in South Chicago (or similar), at 2AM, with $100 bills hanging out of your pockets, and a sign on your back proclaiming "I hate N*****S". Nasty places.

    I was expecting to get goose-bumps while watching, but is was not like that at all. Most of the bases were completely overgrown and could hardly be recognized. The directors decided to interview local people about their memories from the war years. It was almost always critical of America. I remember one late-middle aged man speaking through an interpreter. He said (paraphrased), "I hate Americans and will forever. They killed my wife and oldest son. They dropped bombs on my fields. Nothing will grow there again".

    Winning the hearts and minds? Is our government winning your heart and mind?
     
  11. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #11
    Semantics. We're still losing. Though I find it funny you saying that after telling me not to long ago that we weren't losing.

    For those wondering, they want us out to. Pretty much everyone does. A majority of them, a majority of the rest of the world, a majority of Americans, even a small majority of the troops. Not to mention all of the former officials who think we should leave. And yet, we aren't leaving. I was going to make another thread about this, but this is as good as any. Here's another good one:

    http://www.votevets.org/
     
  12. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #12
    You dont win the Hearts and minds of people by bombing out the country and its infrastructure then say oops it was a mistake no wmds. You dont win the hearts and minds of people by killing thousands and thousands of friends & family and then expect a warm welcome. You dont win the hearts and minds by throwing away the geneva convention while torturing folks both innocent and guilty. Bush & Cheney are guilty of these things. King George and his legions of republican draft dodgers didnt have a clue on what they were doing. Meanwhile the real 911 mastermind is living somewhere in pakistan. Impeach Bush & Cheney now!
     
  13. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #13
    Whenever I think about Bush I think how this president has had one of the most difficult periods in almost all of american history.
    Terrorist attacked your biggest city, but how do you attack back? Terrorists don't live "per se" in one specific country.

    And the next mistake was attacking Iraq almost two years after the World Trade Center attack. Because by then they had lost the world support.

    It is a war that needs to be fought, but for that you need the support of at least the European countries.
    You still have Iran there, which really seems to be producing nuclear bombs, and just let's hope they never get to use them, because then things would turn really nasty for the people living in the Middle East. And after all, I don't think everyone there is mad like the terrorists.

    They need to find a way to attack terrorism in an efficient way. And this Iraq war doesn't seems to be the right one.
     
  14. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #14
    Would it have been better to attack Iraq two months after the WTC and Pentagon attacks?
     
  15. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #15
    Calling them "terrorists" doesn't help: if they had been fighting for the "West", they'd have been "commandos on a suicide mission". "Terrorism" is doing things like shooting down an Iranian civil airliner for no reason whatever, or raining bombs on cities from B-52s in pursuit of an illegal war. What you don't do in response is kill half a million people, destroy two countries and trash every principle of international law in the process.

    They never had world support for invading Iraq, because Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

    Iran is NOT producing nuclear bombs, has a right to pursue its research, and, frankly, needs the deterrence of nuclear capability to stop the US doing something really stupid. And, in case you hadn't noticed, things are already "really nasty" in the Middle East, and it isn't Iran's doing.
     
  16. macmama macrumors regular

    macmama

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #16
    Skunk, while I support the majority of the body of you post, I do take issue with your desire to pretty up the language with which we refer to the 9/11 hijackers and their fellows. You're certainly correct that it's a word with a nasty and negative connotation, but I'm generally in favor of calling it like I see it no matter which "side" a given band of murderous lunatics is supporting.

    Using any less strong language borders on the "apologist" for me, frankly. And no matter how politically sensitive I try to be (very), that's just not somewhere I'm willing to go. You are of course, entitled, but I just wanted to respond to that.
     
  17. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #17
    The World Trade Center was surely a terrorist attack.

    And about Iraq war, that's exactly what I said. Not a single country had direct relation with the 9/11 attack. But still there must be a country who is helping the terrorists.

    And about Iran NOT having nuclear weapons, you can't be sure.
    And you must had understood what I meant with "really nasty". If a nuclear weapon is used anywhere around the world against some country, things would go MUCH more nastier that how they are right now.
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #18
    I know what you are saying, Macmama, but I really don't think using the word "terrorist" to describe the fighters on one side helps in any understanding of the issues. Terrorism is a tactic used by both sides - witness "Shock and Awe" - and when used by "our" side it has led to a far greater number of deaths.
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #19
    Was it? In what way?
     
  20. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #20
    Hijacking passenger airplanes and flying them into buildings (or into anything) would certainly qualify under virtually any definition of terrorism.

    It was also a brilliant way to destabilize the economy. Nevertheless, it was definitely terrorism.

    Edit: on-topic, I agree that we've lost the war and that we'll face decades of pain so Bush's cronies could rape the treasury.
     
  21. 66217 Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #21
    Webster's University Dictionary
    Systematic use of violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve an end.

    The Oxford English Dictionary
    (a) Policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; (b) the employment of methods of intimidation; (c) the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized.


    It couldn't be clearer that 9/11 was a terrorist attack.
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #22
    The fact that they used civilian airliners is irrelevant, however, in that their aim was to make the American people feel less invulnerable, I guess "terrorism" does more or less describe it, but as far as I'm concerned, real terrorism is the repeated attacks, such as those by the IRA, or some suicide bombers, aimed at making people feel scared to go about their normal business. I still think that on the whole the use of such tags obscures rather than clarifies the issues.
     
  23. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #23
    Was Pearl Harbor a terrorist attack? Was the bombing of Baghdad?
     
  24. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #24
    Agreed. I think instead of "terrorists" we should simply label them "people who are opposed to the rightful rule of America". Clearly, all such people should die.
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #25
    Now we're getting somewhere. :)
     

Share This Page