As We See Them
The Aftermath: Presidential Elections and other Stories in the Meat Market
Brief Observations At the Still Point
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Iraq is a disaster for some of the same reasons Vietnam was a disaster. Number one, we did not
respect our adversaries. This is a prime example of being cloistered in a huge, emwombing nation-state that
has become narcissistic to the core. Everything is about us. The focus in on us. We are perfect, angelic, appointed
people and the rest of the world are savages. In Vietnam we were essentially outfought and outthought. In Iraq we
are being outthought. And the terrorists are winning. And the American people are in denial about it.
So, the old general is sitting there and the old general has some wisdom. And what does the old general
say but this: "It doesn't matter how much firepower you have, how sophisticated your equipment, how well-trained
the troops are it comes down to one thing, one thing only. Winning the hearts and minds of the people." And
the old general speaks wisdom when he says this.
When your bombs and armaments kill 100,000 civilians are you going to win hearts and minds?
Hearts and mind were starting to be won in Mosul because there was an attempt to fix the
infrastructure. Repairing the basic necessities of life in a poor country is a way to gain hearts
and minds. But, that depends on money and the cash is running out. No money, no hearts and minds.
And one of the prime reasons the Bush Administration is pushing the "let the people invest their social
security," is to prime pump the economy and raise more money for Iraq.
All a terrible disaster.
And then it dawned on me. We are being run by Enron-types. It's the same win at all costs gang; the
macho, aggressive types who want to build monuments to themselves and end up destroying everything.
That is what the passive, fearful, ignorant, sad people put in place in dear old America.
What kind of leader lands on a carrier to declare the war has ended, when it hadn't even started?
One truly hopes that a persistent presence by troops in Iraq will bring the terrorists to their knees.
But, as the old general said it's the "heart and minds" of the people who must be won. Who must be convinced
that an army made up a people of a different race, different religion, different language, different culture
is acting on their behalf. An army discredited by the prison abuse and by any number of violations of
local codes of conduct.
The situation in Iraq is similar to the relation between police and poor neighborhoods. The cops
fear for their lives, walk on eggshells, are suspicious of everyone and the poor resent, even hate the
cops. At no time do the cops win the "hearts and minds" of the people.
We need to support our troops. They have been put into a terrible ordeal. We need to support the Constitution.
We need to fight any group that wishes harm to us. But, above all else, we need to know what we are doing.
And we do not. And we will fail. And it will be a spectacular fall.
We will survive. We are a great people and have passed through many tests. The past forty years have seen
America pass through severe, massive tests. The Vietnam War, Watergate, the fight for Civil Rights, the
fight for a clean environment, the cold war with the Soviet Union, and now this. And we are at the beginning of
this. And will pass through some hellish times.
December 22, 2004
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