Saturday, February 09, 2008

We pay our hard earned dollars for this?

by expatbrian

I promise you, I'm not making this up. Now that we have virtually destroyed their cities, killed tens of thousands of their people and displaced millions more, the US army is publishing a new operations manual focused on winning the hearts and minds of the people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new guide is seen as a major development that draws on lessons of the wars being fought by US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The commander of the US Army's Combined Arms Centre, Gen William Caldwell, told the BBC that the US army had learned from its experiences since 2001 that stabilising countries and winning over locals required more than just military skills.

Wow! Really General? Great idea!

I do have a couple of questions though. First, I'm not sure that the phrase, "winning hearts and minds" originated during the Vietnam conflict but I do remember hearing it then. So why is the pentagon acting like this is something new? Why is this lightbulb just going on? Maybe its because there are new generals there now? Employee turnover? Or maybe the instructor at the war college was sick the day they were gonna study about this?

Knowledge of foreign languages and local cultures are also important, he said.
Wow! What a profound observation! He should get another star for that one! Now, I'm gonna go way out on a limb here and ask a silly question. Wouldn't this have been a better idea 5 YEARS AGO? You know, before we destroyed their society, leveled their homes, killed half of them and made the other half hate us?

That's not bad enough. Here's the money shot.
Gen Caldwell described the manual as a blueprint to follow for the next 10 to 15 years, but other officers say it will take time before the advice from the manual is translated into real change on the ground.
The blueprint is for the next 10 to 15 years? And other officers think it will take more time than that? WTF?

There's so much more to say about this but I am absolutely speechless.

cross posted from World Gone Mad

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The world might have started yesterday for all these bozos have learned from history. The Brits were in India and China and elsewhere for a hundred years or more without much success in the hearts and minds arena. They were lucky that they were thrown out without much more bloodshed.My Chinese friends still get apoplectic about the opium wars and the treaty ports and occupiers who were immune to Chinese law.

In fact I'm having trouble thinking of an occupation that succeeded without destroying the original inhabitants.

Of course this is all about Empire. You don't run an occupation for 50 or 100 years and call it a liberation or sell it as bringing civilization to the heathens the way the British did.

It makes me think that it's more than just war that is too important to be left to the generals.

11:03:00 AM  

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