December 14, 2004
Steve, although what you say is in jest, it is actually quite true. The American strategy in Iraq is the "winning hearts and minds" strategy as originally practised by the US in Southeast Asia. That strategy, both then and now, consists of destroying everything that a subject population has, so that the subject population becomes completely unable to fend for itself, and hence completely dependent on the conquerers. Then the conquerers distribute food and other necessities of life among them. It is a process of manufactuing submission. That is what "winning hearts and minds" originally meant, and it is the real content of the strategy pursued in Iraq today.
Madera, although I appreciate your comments very much, I have to disagree with you again. If the American worldwide hegemony is not an empire, then I don't know what it is. The US has military bases everywhere in the world, and the purpose of those bases is to protect and further US interests and those of its tributary nations. I think the above are defining characteristics of an empire. As I subscribe to concrete models of history, rather than Spenglerian idealistic ones, I have to disagree with the rest of your analysis as well (in the same way that Jung's "collective unconscious," I think, is nonsense). So, to get back to concrete matters, I don't believe any kind of democratization is taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Democracy cannot be imposed from without. The old warlords have already reasserted themselves in Afghanistan. And Allawi, Iraq's "provisional" President, has quite appropriately been dubbed "Saddam Hussein without a moustache." Not to speak of the most essential fact, which is that true democracy in the Middle East is contrary to US interests. To put it another way, a politically empowered Middle East would not suffer US hegemony for a single day.
Your arguement is without merit.
How could I have known otherwise, doh!
With regards to the treatment of the mosques, if you are being fired upon by a person who has stationend themselves within a building, what should you do? The obvious answer is to return fire. Because the building is labeled a mosque, does that change things? I think not. In order to consider a mosque or other similar building to be a sanctuary, it's important to not use it as a fortress from which to wage war.
do you think that soldiers enjoy battle?
no matter what you want to believe the fact remains that US commanders don't waist valuable soldiers lives for no reason.
as a former soldier i will tell you that i would throw off my ruck and rest anywhere i pleased as long as it was safe. during WWII US troops often took refuge in european churches. we even bombed an important monastary in Italy because we "suspected" the enemey might be using it as part of their defences. once again you are looking for morality in warfare. the only morality required of US troops is in the geneva convention, and the rules of engagement establised by their chain of command.
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