Saturday, January 5, 2008

Winning Hearts and Minds, the American Way

How to "win the hearts and minds of the people" of Iraq? Even the hawks acknowledge that this is the question that must answered if we are ever to "win the war in Iraq." Will it be by creating a training and recruiting ground for terrorists, who weren't even a significant presence before the US arrived? Will it be turning a reliable infrastructure of water, fuel, and electricity into intermittent services? Will it be by killing tens of thousands of Muslims, mosly civilian, and creating tens of thousands more refugees? Will it be by building a massive new embassy in Baghdad while at the same time giving assurances that we are only temporary occupiers of the Holy Land? (And then we wonder why they consider us infidels?)

If we're going to spend a trillion dollars, which surely we will before it's all said and done, couldn't we have received a better return on our investment? By rough calculation, had we just gotten out the old checkbook rather than the armed services, we could have gifted each of the 25 million Iraqis with $400,000 apiece, which for a family of six is a pretty hefty chunk of change, particularly for a people with practically no economy currently. I'd have to think with that kind of generosity we could have won some hearts and minds. Anyone who wants to lay that kind of change on me will be my friend forever, far outweighing whatever faults they may have.

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