Hearts and minds

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis won’t be that hard to do after all. How could they not love us?

Operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis – most of them civilians – as attacks by insurgents, according to statistics compiled by the Iraqi Health Ministry and obtained exclusively by Knight Ridder.

According to the ministry, the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country’s 18 provinces from April 5 – when the ministry began compiling the data – until Sept. 19. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,720 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said.

While most of the dead are believed to be civilians, the data include an unknown number of police and Iraqi national guardsmen. Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be significantly higher.

And we’re surprised no one’s offering us flowers and chocolates.

iraqi boy.jpg
Heart and minds — your tax dollars at work.

Card via Infinite Jest – check it out.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

During our conquest of the Phllipines we killed directly or indirectly 250,000 people. And yet, during WW2 the Fillipinos in overwhelming numbers remained loyal to the United States.
Richard, do you REALLY believe that if Kerry is elected that other nations will commit combat troops to Iraq?
and why?
And aren’t we already training Iraqis?
And what does accelerated training mean?
And by the way, they tried increasing our special forces during the Vietnam War and the results were dismal.
I am not a fan of Bush. But I am unconvinced that Kerry is the answer.

September 25, 2004 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

I know bush isn’t the answer. I can’t say whether Kerry is the best answer, but he is the best hope we’ve had. We trusted shrub for four years and look what we’ve got. Why on earth would we give him another 4 years to fuck with the planet? At least we’d have some accountability and truth. I’m tired of being lied to. I believe Kerry would get us out as quickly and as painlessly as possible, because he doesn’t possess that obsession with “staying the course” even when the course is the wrong one.

The Filippinos, you say (correctly), were loyal to the US even when so many civilians died. That is because they knew we were saving them from enslavement and annihilation. The Iraqis on the other hand have made it very clear in the polls taken by our own government that they want us out NOW. There are no Japanese there threatning to exterminate the Iraqis. Once the population has turned against you and wants you out there is no hope for “victory,” as we should have learned in Vietnam, as the English learned in India and the French in Algeria. All we can hope for is to get out as quickly as we can with minimal bloodshed. The only hope for a sane approach is new leadership in America. The sooner the better.

September 25, 2004 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

See the Iraqi civilians massacred by a Cobra helicopter – and the pilot’s response “Ah Dude!” as he wipes them out.


September 26, 2004 @ 6:16 am | Comment

I don’t much like George Bush (not that it matters, since like most of the rest of the world, I won’t have any say in whether he stays or not), but I’m still skeptical that John Kerry is the answer.

If Kerry is the answer, what is the question? ๐Ÿ™‚

Richard, you said: “I believe Kerry would get us out as quickly and as painlessly as possible, because he doesn’t possess that obsession with “staying the course” even when the course is the wrong one.”

The problem is, what happens on the ground in Iraq when Kerry gets America out as quickly and as painlessly as possible? How quickly? Before Iraq has had a chance to build any means of protecting itself from those “insurgents” (I use the term in quotations marks because the majority of them likely are opportunists or power-hungry chaps hoping to fill the vacuum left by Saddam.)? Or will America stay until they’ve managed to get the Iraqi military and their civil defence forces back into something approaching fighting trim?

I’m wondering if, after Bush Sr left the Iraqis in a lurch, and Bush Jr knocked Saddam off his “throne”, that Kerry will bail and leave Iraq to be fought over by the remnants of the Baathists, the religious fruitcakes and their militias, and whatever other factions have cropped up.

Fighting an insurgency is a long slog. Ask the British, they fought a fairly long counter-insurgency in the Federated Malayan States (now Malaysia) between 1948-1960. We may be giving up on Iraq too soon, that’s all I’m saying.

The problem, as I see it, is that what we generally know (from my impression of mainstream media reports) about Kerry, really, is “3 purple hearts”, “war hero”, “flesh wound or not flesh wound” and “Christmas not quite in Cambodia”. Or at least, the mainstream media that I can check with my limited amount of spare time has been highlighting that, mostly. What does he stand for? Apart from, “Anybody but Bush” that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all, I don’t envy Americans the hard choice they’ll be making in November: The devil you know, or the devil you don’t.

September 26, 2004 @ 6:50 am | Comment

Lashlar, you are asking what we should do about iraq, and the truth is I can’t say. It is truly FUBAR. That is because of serious mistakes made in the initial stages — mainly inadequate security on the ground that allowed the victory to rapidly deteriorate into anarchy. Virtually all of the blame and the onus is on the architects of this failure, who banked on the precious advice of scum like Chalabi from day one. Now there is no painless solution. All we can hope for is as little misery as possible. It is now highly reminiscent of Vietnam. It was an awful thing, watching the desperate fleers atop the US embassy in Saigon boarding the helicopters as Vietnam plunged into anarchy. But it was the least painful option — we simply could not stay forever, bleeding and failing. At some point we’ll have to do the same in Iraq.

Can i say that Kerry will accomplish this exit better than bush? No, but I’ve given bush the time and latitude he asked for and he failed us in such a dramatic and horrific manner that the very idea of entrusting him yet again, on blind faith in his hollow rhetoric, is inconceivable.

About Kerry’s war record, please don’t swallow the crap. Any questions raised, such as Cambodia or whether he really deserved his medals — that’s all inspired by a smear campaign, stuff from 30 years ago, most of which goes in direct contradiction of his officers’ reports and, ironically, statements made at the time attesting to his bravery by those now accusing him of these “crimes.”

There is no one, no matter how sterling his record or perfect his character, who can solve the Iraq holocaust easily. Kerry is an intelligent, level-headed politician whose past heroism is not in dispute by any serious source. He has not been the perfect candidate and he’s infuriated me at times. But to compare this man of intellect, achievement and documented courage to a shrub who has literally made a mess of the world without convicting a single one of the 5,000 arrested “terrorists” — and who dares tell us freedom is on the march and victory is around the corner — well, let’s just say I don’t understand how there can be any comparison.

And Iraq isn’t the only factor. I will never vote for a man who tried to corrupt our constitution with anti-gay legislation; who tells voters that, in effect, a vote for his opponent is a vote for Bin Laden; who sat terrified and helpless in the face of our nation’s gravest crisis; who doled out obscene tax cuts for the super-rich while fucking the poor, middle and working classes; who shows an almost bizarre lack of concern for the environment; who consciously and persistently tried to deceive us into believing the war against Iraq was part of the fight against Al Qaeda…. The list goes on and on and on. To look at the list, and then say maybe Kerry wasn’t in Cambodia in December 30 years ago, or maybe he wasn’t seriously wounded enough to receive a purple heart (which is BS — those medals are awarded all the time for scratches, as Bob Dole acknowledged) — to question whether you vote for Kerry for such trivialities and irrelevancies, because he windsurfs or eats cheese or speaks French — it tells me that Rove’s messages work, and that propaganda under bush has reached a decibel level unprecedented in Western history. All the more reason to run, not walk, to vote for Kerry.

September 26, 2004 @ 10:40 am | Comment

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