Monday, September 24, 2007

The Ever-Elusive Hearts and Minds

Whenever I think of something that I want to say, it’s all but inevitable that Zionist Youngster has already said it better.

And so it is with a comment on yesterday’s post quoting from Staff Sergeant David Bellavia’s book about his experiences in Fallujah. An interesting discussion about the Iraq war developed in the comments, and Zionist Youngster had this to say:

Iraq showcases something other than what the Politically Correct (and PC taxpayers, such as President George W. “Islam is a religion of peace” Bush himself) would like to get from it: the unannounced support of the Muslim majority for the actions of a few. Or, as it is often put on Jihad Watch: Has a way of sifting the Muslims who don’t support jihad from those who do been devised yet?

Al QaedaI suspect that even if there were a good way of doing so, it’d be time-consuming and imperil the troops. But above all, it could never surmount the self-made handicap that the US forces have carried with them ever since the Vietnam days: “Winning hearts and minds”. You can try to win hearts and minds, or you can take care of the problem of Islamic imperialism, but you cannot do both. Active jihadis are intermixed with their non-military supporters, and combatant Muslims are in the thick of non-combatant Muslims giving them protection (as well as invaluable propaganda points when the infidels inevitably have to strike — think Qana in Lebanon 2006).

I said that even Afghanistan, where democratization and “winning hearts and minds” wasn’t the initial pretext, was premature. The war was taken to the enemy field too early. As Fjordman says repeatedly, the home field is under serious enough attack, and should be defended first. And I add: the defense of the home field is a better position for infidels, in that it’s a moral position of survival rather than “winning hearts and minds”. When it comes to defending their own states, infidels should remember that they owe the Muslim colonials nothing, and that they are perfectly within their rights to hit them the hardest blows: expulsion, en masse, by droves, by shiploads, by the millions. As in Iraq, there is no effective way of distinguishing between the guilty and the innocent; not as in Iraq, the pretense of “winning hearts and minds” is not there to make us give a damn.

I’m not saying the enemy field is beyond action. Far from it; we have it from the experience of Germany under Allied occupation in 1945-60 (including the quelling of the insurgency) that it can work. But it’s too early. And, the Coalition forces went there without having recognized what the enemy really is. Osama Bin Laden is an enemy, but not the enemy — Islamic imperialism doesn’t need him in order to function. Al Qaeda is just another head of the hydra. Afghanistan is just another location for it to operate from. But fighting them over there when they are here, on our home fields, is by nature premature.
- - - - - - - - -
Switch to survival mode, over here. Realize that it’s about whether the USA’s and Europe’s football stadiums will really be used as football stadiums in the future, or as arenas for the display of public beheadings and amputations. Here, in our states. And just lose, lose, lose that Sixties-Hippie phrase from the Sixties-Hippies days, “Winning hearts and minds”! For once, just for once, be a little more selfish, a little less altruistic, a little more willing to run roughshod over the sacred Other, especially as that Other gives nothing in reciprocation. Say to them, “This is ours, and since you didn’t come to become part of ours, but to remake ours in your image, then you’ll have to get lost.” And then let’s facilitate their getting lost with a forceful and unrelenting application of our ambulatory organs to their posteriors. Because our way of life is something worth keeping, even if it’s called “racism” just to think so.

In the Torah, God tells the Israelites, upon coming to the Land of Israel from Egypt, not to occupy the nations of the land, even warning them against that, but to kick them all out. That “Bronze Age text containing the thoughts of goat-herders” — as the PC crowd call it — has more strategic wisdom than all of the generals and statesmen of our age put together. Unless the enemy’s will has entirely been broken as it was in 1945, occupation necessarily leads to a quagmire. But before embarking on that enterprise, it must be remembered: We have bigger fish to fry.

15 comments:

openplaza said...

I would like to respond to some of your core points: Let me summarize. You criticize that the West is fighting this War on Terror with a hand tied to its back. You say, that while the West is obsessed to look good in the eyes of the world stage, it renders impotent in fighting its enemy. Right?

But then, is there an alternative, to winning hearts of mind, if you consider the whole idea of the west? Do you really think, Western forces could ever even consider to use tactics like described in this FPM article, and others, similar devestating, used by Europeans throughout history?
If you intend to break the will of the enemy by showing him through brutality every day, that his situation is worse to him right now, then to accept unconditional surrender, you would destroy the positive western image throughout the world which is still our most potent weapon. Just think about the images in every newspaper and about the propaganda victories for all sorts of dark groups out there.

And there is no turning back. Just have a look at Wikipedias articles on Western engagement throughout the world in its fight against al-Qaeda:
Operation Active Endeavour, Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines,
Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara, Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
, ISAF (Numbers and nations sometimes not accurate) This is a generation long strugle.

I think a much better model could be the successful counterinsurgency the US preformed in the Philippines with General Arthur McArthur in charge (not to be confused with his son Douglas McArthur). They took the fight to the Muslim insurgents, while making it clear to the local community leaders, that it would have severe consequence for anybody supporting the insurgents. The same time the US made clear that they stated there and that they would do everything in order to stabilize the country. (More about this in Robert Kaplans Book – Imperial Grunts)

And there lies an important part of the problem we are facing. Even though the Bush administration repeatedly demonstrates its determination, everybody knows that everything could change in just a few months. In virtually all western countries, politicians find it harder and harder to advocate continuity in engagement. This applies especialy to Iraq and in some degree to Afghanistan. And as a result of this every single faction in Iraq prepares itself for the worst. And that could mean a full scale civil war, just what al-Qaeda wanted. Dire perspectives.

Dan said...

"...we are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying newspapers to believe that we were being whipped all the time now realize the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience... William T. Sherman

What is really so different?

Snouck said...

I agree with the idea of Western withdrawal from the Muslim world, expelling the Muslims from the West and preventing Muslims from coming to the West. This is what Mr. Laurence Auster calls "Separationism".

I do not believe in keeping down the Muslims by force though. The comparisons with Japan and Germany are misleading. Both Germany and Japan are VERY orderly, unified and law-abiding societies, which the Muslim world is not and will not be due to the fracturing effect of Islamic family law and the ease of declaring other Muslims as infidels (Takfir).

Harshness against the Muslims will not cause them to submit to the West.

The French were ruthless against the Algerians during decolonisation. The Americans were ruthless against the Vietnamese. The Russians were ruthless against the Afghans. The Germans against the Ukranians and the Serbs, during the occupation of their countries.

It never did bring those occupiers any positive results. "Winning hearts and minds" may be overrated, but so is ruthlessness.

Our soldiers have to be able to come back from our struggle with Islam and still live with themselves.

Otherwise our endeavor will not be taken up by the next generation.

ZY: "I’m not saying the enemy field is beyond action. Far from it; we have it from the experience of Germany under Allied occupation in 1945-60 (including the quelling of the insurgency) that it can work. "

The world was different in 1945. The US got the co-operation of Japan and Germany because of the opposition in both societies to Russia's expansionist Communism. The Jihadists receive a lot of support from nations (China, Iran) and groups (the Left in Europe and the US) that are opposed to US power. So the power realities that caused Japanese and German societies to align themselves with the US do not exist anymore.

There never was any insurgency against the occupying forces in Germany (or Japan).

G.W. Bush and other leading figures have made this up in order to make the narrative of the WW2 fit what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a-historic.

Regards,

Snouck

Paul Green said...

“... Sherman was a pioneer in the concept of psychological warfare as part of a total war against the whole enemy population. Sherman was well aware of the fear that his soldiers inspired among Southern whites. This terror ‘was a power,’ he wrote, ‘and I intended to utilize it ... to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and to make them fear and dread us ... We cannot change the hearts and minds of those people of the South, but we can make war so terrible ... [and] make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.’”

– James McPherson, “Drawn With The Sword: Reflections On The American Civil War”

“Georgia was full of food in this dark winter. Sherman set himself to march through it on a wide front, living on the country, devouring and destroying all farms, villages, towns, railroads, and public works which lay within his wide-ranging reach. He left behind him a blackened trail, and hatreds which pursue his memory to this day. ... a dark shadow lies upon this part of the map of the United States.”

– Winston Churchill, “A History Of The English-Speaking Peoples”

ZionistYoungster said...

Thanks, Baron. Because it was probably lost in the formating, and also in response to Snouck's statement that "There never was any insurgency against the occupying forces in Germany (or Japan)", I bring the link to the FrontPage Mag article:

The Anti-Terror Campaign That Succeeded

openplaza,

I agree that, now that the mistake (of taking the war to the enemy field too early) has been made, turning back is very difficult. Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch says withdrawal from Iraq would give the benefit of Muslim infighting. I consider that very iffy: whereas the Iran-Iraq War dragged on for eight years (1980-8) because it was between two states, now the state of Iraq is no more, leaving Iran a free hand to turn Iraq into its puppet-state (like Lebanon) in its own ruthless, very un-Western way.

In short, I don't know what's the best step to take in Iraq and Afghanistan now. My comment was less about salvaging those enterprises than about paying a little more attention, allocating a little more resources, to the situation at home. From Dhimmi Watch from September 22, 2007: U.S. admits nearly 10,000 from "terrorism" states--is that not a textbook case of "one step forward, two steps back"? (And even that's being mild.)

Ultimately, both issues share one root, the one common blight of our age: the payment of PC tax. I have maintained from the start that there is no politically correct way of winning this war. But both "winning hearts and minds" abroad and "avoiding racism, embracing diversity" at home are the epitomes of subservience to a paralyzing regime. I just think the PC regime could be easier to break at home than abroad, because at home it concerns our own survival; but even here it seems the frog is being left to slowly boil.

Snouck,

"Ruthlessness" by itself doesn't mean much; it's where this ruthlessness is applied that matters. The British colonials stamped out suttee with their Napierian maxim ("You build your funeral pyre; we will build a gallows"); in like manner, I think ruthless quelling of any attempt to kill apostates from Islam could go a long way.

I think the first target, upon taking the war to the enemy field, should be the dissolution of the medieval-like climate of fear that grips the Islamic world. If a secular Jew eats in front of religious Jews on Yom Kippur, the most he'll get is an angry shouting away; if a Muslim does the same in the month of Ramadan during fasting hours, he'll usually end with a lot of holes in his body. This war has always been a cultural one. I'm a Huntingtonian through and through (even if I disagree with the details of his thesis).

But again, the home field is more important. And on the home field, in contrast, we don't have the obligation of keeping them where they are. We don't have any obligation toward them, period.

I wish to add a slight clarification to the part where I wrote, "This is ours, and since you didn't come to become part of ours, but to remake ours in your image, then you'll have to get lost". It could be interpreted as a general xenophobic sentiment, and seized upon by various groups having an agenda I don't identify with. I want to make it clear that it applies only to the Muslims, because they are colonialists in whatever land they emigrate to, having the goal of making it a shariah-ruled state; not to any other group, even if the "easy money" of PC claims to victimhood seduces them to the fashion of grievance-mongering. For example the Hindus of Britain are fine, upstanding citizens of that country, and would never dream of making the insolent demands that the Muslims make, and I disagree with those who say they should be thrown out too "because they're not British". If you think the fishbowl should contain only one type of fish, then I'm not with you on that; my only interest is that the fishbowl be free of piranhas.

Snouck said...

ZY:
"I bring the link to the FrontPage Mag article: "The Anti-Terror campaign that succeeded"

The Wehrwolf campaign was a terror campaign. But not an insurgency. The campaign was set-up and funded by the office of Himmler, the head of the SS.

The campaign had some successes behind allied lines and on German soil, while the German army was still in the field and a significant part of the Germans still believed they had a chance. After the German surrender the campaign withered and died, within weeks. The article you quote is a list of atrocities and war crimes against Germans.

The French and the Russians could get away with these acts of terror due to the fact that Germany had occupied their respective lands and abused their populations. This had somewhat reduced their squemishness. As far as the Russians can be accused of squemishness, of course.

Look, Islam and Germany are not comparable social organisms. Wars take place between social organisms. So parabels about war have to compare similar organisms in order to make sense.

ZY:
"Ruthlessness" by itself doesn't mean much; it's where this ruthlessness is applied that matters. "

Ja, I agree. So where do and how do you want to apply it?

Snouck said...

ZY,

to give you an hint of what I am thinking. Lebanon is a society which is fractured in a way that is similar to the way Iraq and much of Islam is fractured. It has been invaded and occupied both by Israel and Syria.

When Israel and Syria went to battle with each other the Israelis always got the upper hand.

However, when it came to occupying Lebanon, it were the Syrians who managed to dominate Lebanese society, while the Israelis were chased out by numerically and armament wise inferior groups of Lebanese.

Methinks there are some useful lessons there.

Regards,

Snouck

Us or Them said...

Applying more ruthlessness upon Iraqi "insurgents" (whoever they may be) is inconsistent with the stated goal, or mission, of this war, as that mission is stated by the Commander-in-Chief.

1. How can we justify more ruthlessness when it will have to be applied to swaths of Iraqis that we are supposed to be liberating? If the goal is democracy and liberty (and it is- just re-emphasized again this morning at the U.N. by Bush) it is like saying "we will just have to apply more force upon these people to get them to understand how democracy and liberty will be so good for them".

That is not winning hearts and minds, it is forcing democracy down their throats whether they want it or not.

2. As ZionestYoungster points out, and as it is said so much at Jihadwatch, how do we know who are the full-time jihadists, the part time-jihadist, and the jihadists-in -waiting? Upon whom will additional ruthlessness and force be applied?
There is no way to tell. Analogies to Sherman and post-war Japan and Germany do not apply.

I have nothing but praise for our troops. But they are being asked to fight an unwinnable war.

We are ignoring other threats posed by the global jihad by focusing so much on Iraq.

The enemy is Islam.

(four words to make so much difference in our world today and we cannot get a politician to utter them., let alone conceive that it is the truth)

ZionistYoungster said...

Snouck,

"The Wehrwolf campaign was a terror campaign. But not an insurgency." - Sorry, I got my terms wrong. But both have in common that they are guerrilla warfare, and guerrilla warfare is impossible to win under politically correct rules of engagement.

"So where do and how do you want to apply it?" - I answered that: first, execute all those who murder apostates from Islam. Group pressure is a powerful inhibiting agent (against change away from a repressive regime), and the climate of fear is the first thing that must go if there is to be any hope of reform.

But again, that's for the (properly) later stage, of operating on the enemy field. At home, the situation is much easier: out they go.

Re: Lebanon: If you're saying warfare between armies and guerrilla warfare are fundamentally different, then you get no argument from me about that; indeed, I just mentioned it, right at the beginning of this comment. Beyond that, I don't know what the useful lessons you're thinking of are.

Snouck said...

ZY:"first, execute all those who murder apostates from Islam. Group pressure is a powerful inhibiting agent (against change away from a repressive regime), and the climate of fear is the first thing that must go if there is to be any hope of reform."

It is a good idea. But it would accomodate those Jihadists who are looking to "martyr" themselves. Like Mohammed Bouyeri.

I think the best way to deter Jihadis is by humiliating them. So it would be kill assassins PLUS some kind of humiliation. One that would cause someone with the Jihadist mindset to worry and his buddies to not want to take the apostate assassin path.

I am imagining a few things (humiliate female member of his family) but my mind keeps recoiling in disgust. In Israel the houses the families of suicide bombers are destroyed. Does that seem to work?

Regards,

Snouck

Gringo_Malo said...

I certainly agree with Zionist Youngster that Muslims should be excluded from the West. Unfortunately, the individuals who run our government insist on admitting increasing numbers of potential shahids. It now seems that we're going to bring most of Iraq home with us. Before we can resolve our problem with Islam, we'll need to find a cure for the walking brain death that afflicts our ruling class.

Snouck said...

A lesson from the Dutch war against the Jihadis on Aceh in Indonesia from 1873 to 1903 is that it makes sense to view their reverends, the ulamas or imams as targets. The Dutch started to get the upper hand once they left the ring of fortresses they had built and attacked the ulamas. The authority of the ulamas was then replaced by strengthening the wealthy Aceh landlords, the uleh balang.

The Dutch also stopped using modern and heavy weapons in some of their attacks and just attack with "klewang" a kind of Indonesian machete/sabre. This was better for Dutch morale, as the Aceh Jihadis had the moral edge over the Dutch who had repeating guns and artillery.

This had a very strongly intimidating effect on the Jihadis. This tactic was also used by the Syrians against Hizbollah in the 80ies. Hizbollah became a proxy of Syria after one or a number of attacks by the Syrian army with bayonets and axes.

Masculinity is very important in most Islamic cultures. It is my experience that if you stand up to them even if they are armed or in the majority they get intimidated, like dogs that lick your hand if you hit them.

Westerners have become very dependent on technology when they consider war, but basically it is more about having brawn (and a deceptive brain.)

An added advantage is that you can make war more discriminatingly when you fight with (very) light arms.

I hope I am making any sense here chaps.

Regards,

Snouck

ZionistYoungster said...

Snouck,

"It is a good idea. But it would accomodate those Jihadists who are looking to 'martyr' themselves. Like Mohammed Bouyeri." - But they look to "martyr" themselves anyway, so what difference would that make? It was already Samuel Zwemer, back in your namesake's day, who complained that, as far as the Muslim world went, the Great Commission (i.e. Christian evangelism) was as good as non-existent; I have little doubt that that was because of the fear of being murdered that any apostate had to contend with, and any missionary working in that world. Whether leaving for Christianity or for atheism or for anything else, the Muslim's mind is locked against the very possibility of stepping outside the box. It's the one fundamental obstacle that would-be democratizers like President Bush are loathe to acknowledge.

"In Israel the houses the families of suicide bombers are destroyed. Does that seem to work?" - Not much. The suicide bombers don't care much about their own families (such is obvious from their raising of their own children on that heritage), and also, Hamas maintains a fund for compensating families whose houses have been destroyed. The one thing that's worked to reduce suicide attacks so far is the security barrier (the much-maligned "Apartheid Wall").

Israel, because it's geographically far away (from the US especially) and close to Iraq, is pictured as being a war on the enemy field. But that is not the view from here: for the Jews of Israel, this is our home field, and therefore the strategy of the enemy field (occupation, breaking the enemy's will) is a mistaken one for it; the strategy for Israel should be the home field one, of expelling them all. In fact, that's one of the reasons why the Torah has the command to drive the Canaanites out: by doing so, the Israelites would ensure that the Land of Israel would be their home field instead of an enemy field. "But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then shall those that ye let remain of them be as thorns in your eyes, and as pricks in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land wherein ye dwell" (Numbers 33:55) is a simple and concise summation of the perils of maintaining an occupation, fighting guerrilla warfare and generally being in the position of holding the enemy field.

Gringo_Malo,

You're right, and because this post is taken from a comment in the context of the Iraq War, I didn't mention that it's very theoretical. In truth, we're still stuck at Stage 0 of this world war: throwing off the chains of the enemy within (PC, Multiculturalism and all the other divisions of the Gramscian Brigade).

Flanders Fields said...

Terror is about controlling populations. Counter-terrorism is about removing terrorists. If the war were being waged with the vital interests of the US in mind, it would be legitimate and would be waged appropriately. There would be little question that the US has sufficient force to win a war against the terrorists.

The war is not being fought for the vital interests of the US. It is being waged for the interests of multiculturalists. Those multiculturalists are globalists who seek to profit from the restrictions on oil supplies and from imposing controls within free societies.

I support the military effort on the side of the American (and Western) vital interests in the oil supplies. I don't support it for the multicultural interests. Those seek to weaken the integrity of our Western forms of government by importing more aliens among us. They seek to make the Middle East into a partner with them which the globalist corporations can use to restrict supplies of a vital resource and to complete their leftist oriented agenda of a one world government.

Terrorism is an excuse and it is one which could be eliminated with proper funding and a clearance for the military to accomplish eradication of terrorists by any means necessary.


Wishy washy incompetence doesn't exist in the circles of power, despite their attempts to portray it that way. It is used to hide the fact that the war on terror is not for American or Western interests, but for the interests of the globalist corporations and financiers.

Dan said...

Snouck:
“Our soldiers have to be able to come back from our struggle with Islam and still live with themselves.”

Why the pilot of the Enola Gay has no regrets.


The lesson of Lebanon is democracies, while much stronger because of the breadth of their support, will only support a war for so long because the need majority approval whereas despotisms, though inherently weaker, only need minority approval.

We are being asked to fight an unwinnable war because we are using our weaknesses against their strengths. They can fight a low intensity war from now on, and we can’t. Their institution polygamy is designed to maintain a high birthrate with three quarters of their men lost to war; and that is but one of many factors; their whole society is structured to fight low intensity conflicts. Conversely we can fight a high intensity war and they don’t have the discipline to match us, their only options would be to surrender or die off.

The best place to start would be to stop making stupid distinctions between the political arm or the charitable arm and the military arm of terrorist organization X. they all work together to further the aims of the organization so execute them all, from the spiritual leader to the man who washes his car. Then ratchet it up and out from there.