Tuesday, February 20, 2007

HEARTS AND MINDS: Great slogan for when things have tanked all over

Reading today's newspaper, DD spied one of the news stories from the Iraq front on winning "hearts and minds." They're always identical. Slot the pic of the Marine or the Army soldier, his hand outstretched to an Iraqi tyke in the rundown battle-scarred street. Look, there's the pic of the officer having to do a social dance with the local tribesmen.

One believes the soldiers are absolutely sincere in it. The thought also occurs that implementing the chocolates-and-nylons thing when large swaths of Baghdad are ghost towns, as the mainstream news puts it, is like trying to empty the war's ocean of hatreds, sorrows and pain, one thimbleful at a time.

"Hearts-and-minds" is just a slogan, utterly brain-dead, now good for any use or argument from the left and right.

Recent applications in varieties of groupthink, frequently ridiculous:

Brutal Reality of Battle for Hearts and Minds Sniper fire, ambushes, unseen enemies ... the US fight to win the trust of ordinary Iraqis is taking place in dirty alleys and ruined police stations. --The Guardian

"...to consistently protect the population from insurgent reprisals, thus winning the minds part of the hearts-and-minds struggle..." -- Wall Street Journal

Brits to spend lots of money to jolly-up Muslim community alienated by counter-terror lawmen during the past few years

"£5m 'hearts and minds' fund to fight Muslim extremism
"Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said the 'battle for hearts and minds' cannot be won from Whitehall as she set out fresh guidance on the role town halls ..." -- Guardian

"A regime change occupation force achieves victory by winning the hearts and minds of the occupied people by dramatically improving living conditions improving living conditions, infrastructure and the economy. During the almost four-year U.S. occupation of Iraq, we have not come even close to accomplishing those objectives" --Ocala Star-Banner

Big news: A report you don't need to read states the obvious.

"Study: Western Troops Need to Battle for Arab Hearts and Minds ... [a bloated think tank run by old Brit white guys in London has issued a] report that the United States and its allies need to pay more attention to the hearts and minds of local populations in the battle against terrorism..." -- New York Times

"In short, [we] must recapture the hearts and minds of the world and remind them about the best of America's ideals and values..." --Harbus On-line

Talk's cheap.

"I think the lieutenants are going to be more critical in leading the units (in) engaging the population, in winning the hearts and minds of people..." -- Daily Press

Bars of chocolate, anyone?

"In Haditha, Marines patrol on foot, greeting Iraqis at a market, trying to win hearts and minds one at a time. In numerous communities, including Saqlawiya..." -- Los Angeles Times

"Despite America's latest efforts using local television to 'win Iraqi hearts and minds,' the truth is that the US long ago lost that battle..." -- Jihad Unspun

"Indeed, it is hard to envision how the United States can win the crucial battles for the hearts and minds of key populations if Bush remains President..." -- Baltimore Chronicle

"The United States is losing the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East by supporting dictators that act contrary to the people's needs." -- GW Hatchet

"[How many] dead and wounded American soldiers, will it take to persuade the Bush administration that we have not won the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?" --Miami Herald

"However it has long been recognized that no war can be won without winning the 'hearts and minds' of the conquered people. -- PEJ News

"Have you come to conclude that 'winning hearts and minds' is better than bombing places? [Satirical pundit]: Using bombs and weapons is just a part of America's Arsenal." -- ITV.com

"Consequently, the US government has lost the hearts and minds of the Muslim people all over..." -- Sudan Tribune

"While we are losing the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq, American contractors are easily winning the battle, using waste, fraud and abuse ..." -- Macon Telegraph

Bars of chocolate and the Iraqi national anthem.

One U.S. unit operating in Iraq has found the best way to win hearts and minds is to put loudspeakers on mosques... The broadcasts include Iraqi top 40 music; news dispatches taken from the BBC and Al Jazeera, speeches by the governor and the police chief ... 'That's a pretty catchy song,' said Maj. Dan Zappa, the executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, responsible for security operations in some of the most contested areas of Ramadi. 'It's interspersed with popular music. We've got video of kids dancing, hundreds of them, jumping around.'"
-- UPI

Don't forget the Hershey's Kisses.

"[The local soldier's] current assignment is about reaching 'the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people,' he said. 'We are a lot more interactive with the people ...' --Arkansas City Traveler

A gift for understatement.

"So, because many ordinary Iraqis reacted to their presence less than enthusiastically, America has waged a battle for the hearts and minds ... " -- Sydney Morning Herald

General Physical Fitness, to the front.

"Petraeus is the best we have according to many Republicans and Democrats and I believe he should be given a chance to win over the hearts and minds ..." -- Delaware County Times

"In Mosul where Petraeus made a reputation as the one general who truly understood Arab hearts and minds, the town reverted to insurgent control within hours..." -- Counterpunch

"' Winning the hearts and minds - that's what it's all about,' said [some soldier], 32, of Chillicothe, MO." -- CBS News

Don't be a sissy, though.

"The Americans like to talk about the battle for hearts and minds. But you need to hold them by the balls. There has to be the threat of force." --The Australian

"' Muqtada Sadr is in our hearts and minds, and it doesn't matter where he is now for his supporters.' The crowd chanted in unison, 'Yes, yes, Muqtada...'"-- Los Angeles Times

It never hurts to be frankly mentally ill, either. Slate knob writes microwave weapons will help.

Through the media, more eyeballs, hearts, and minds could see the infrastructure we destroyed. The DOD proposed the development of weapons 'to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment...' The nonlethal weapons program is a pacifist's dream." -- William Saleton, Slate

Shooting people with bean-bag rounds, stingballs, teargas and rubber bullets rather than standard slugs wins hearts and minds. (Caution: Everyone in this story, from the reporter to the interviewed, is mentally ill.)

"Officers on the range fired about a dozen different kinds of nonlethal ammunition, ranging from rubber bullets and sock-like beanbags to fat, hard foam-tipped rounds fired from the M203 grenade launcher that is often attached to M16s... They also tried out stingball grenades, which spread a hail of hard rubber pellets instead of shrapnel ... 'I guarantee you these will hurt. We aim for an area around the belt buckle or the large muscle area of the legs and the aim is stop you from throwing that rock at me,' Rockemann said. Rockemann, who fought in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and stayed there about seven months, said his course [on shooting people with rubber bullets]is fully booked ... 'We are in hearts-and-minds mode all over the world now,' Rockemann said."


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