Hearts and Minds and Bears, Oh My!
For about five years now—since the liberation of Iraq—we’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of winning the “hearts and minds” of a nation’s citizenry in order to “secure the peace” after a war is fought and won. During this time we’ve all read articles, watched newscasts, listened to pundits, and talked to our friends — pontificating whether the West was “winning” or “losing” in Iraq. The hardest variable to figure out in a tough equation such as this, as in any complex problem, is quantifying what to measure and how to measure it. What represents a win, a loss, or more so, what represents whether you’re currently heading towards a win or a loss.
Not that anyone wants to put something so serious as war in the form of a lame and possibly disrespectful analogy, but everyone wants to know when we as team supporters should give up and leave the stadium to beat traffic. Personally, I’ve always been part of the 1/3 that stay in the stadium regardless of whether my team is ahead, behind, or getting hammered by the opposition with no chance of even a miracle comeback. With that said, I’ve never thought for a second that the U.S. military was even down, let alone in a position of possibly losing in Iraq. Now, you may think I’m an idiot for consistently holding this position where we couldn’t lose in Iraq, but that’s probably because you consume all your thoughts through the filter of the media and then recite, no, regurgitate them as your own, instead of creating thoughts through research, logic, and reason. In sports colloquialism, you’re quite simply a worthless bandwagon fan.
In the current situation, the only possible chance the “away team” could have lost in Iraq was during the 2004 and 2006 midterm elections. The only way to lose then was through a precipitous pullout before the people of Iraq even had a chance to get their ducks in a row, leaving the country to the whims of criminals, and eventually another dictator. Equating what the people of Iraq have to do to get their country in order as “getting their ducks in a row” is quite possibly the biggest understatement since… well, I’ve got nothing, it’s probably the biggest understatement ever. If you need a nice reference point as to what the Iraqi’s are up against politically, do a little research on how hard it was for the city of Boston to dig a big tunnel under their city; and no one was shooting at the workers or trying to blow up the tunnel during that project either.
Can anyone give me an example of an existing government being completely dismantled and another being formed in the span of five years without massive military involvement and civil unrest? You hear from some pundits on the left about how it took less time to get Germany and Japan in order after World War II. The parallels aren’t even close to similar, not to mention we’re still “occupying” those countries today. To this day, we provide Japan with most of their national defense, while Germany needed our military presence for fifty years after World War II to keep the Russians at bay to the west.
Japan and Germany’s perceived lack of an insurgency following the war—even though most aren’t aware that there was one in both countries (see: German Werewolf Insurgency)—may have had something to do with the level of destruction to those countries, with the enemy and all infrastructure being completely and utterly destroyed. The enemy was not just disbanded and sent home in Germany, it was killed in the millions. After the war, some European countries were without a significant young male population all together. Japan had not one, but two atomic bombs dropped on two separate major industrial cities. The hearts and minds of the enemy didn’t have to be won, because they were destroyed. Bother countries geographical location, with one being an island and the other being surrounded by allied friendly countries, may have also contributed to such a small post war insurgency.
Can you name the places the United States liberated and are still “occupying” that isn’t a free and prosperous nation today? Germany, Japan, South Korea, France, Poland? Better or worse? Would the people of Kuwait be better or worse off right now? What if Kennedy decided to hold his end of the bargain and help the people of Cuba during the Bay of Pigs, or better yet, not involve us in Vietnam without a plan for winning the peace? Two million Cambodians would love to know, but unfortunately, they’re dead. Millions of North Koreans, living in the stone age, would love to have the misfortune of being “invaded” like Iraq. It’s like winning the lottery for most countries, but only when the military is allowed to do their good works and finish the damn job.
Flash forward to Iraq, 2003. In this current iteration of war we have seen the unprecedented execution of a plan designed to minimize civilian as well as even military casualty. This has more to do with explaining the power of the insurgency as anything else. Yes, destroying the infrastructure would have meant more rebuilding, but by leaving in place the vast number of enemy soldiers and commanders that were intentional embedded into the general population, the stage was set for a first in military history. Not only was the military leadership scattered amongst the general population, along with vast amounts of cash to finance operations, but the infrastructure necessary to wage an insurgency was also left at their disposal. The alternative was to bomb and kill millions of innocent civilians indiscriminately to ensure a weak insurgency power structure that was hidden within. With unfriendly 24-hour news networks and embedded reporters at every turn, this was not a viable option as it was in previous wars. Couple this with foreign interference after the fact, which included money, equipment, and even fighters; it’s actually quite amazing how well coalition troops have done.
Lucky for us all (and by all I mean the entire world), the 2004 election brought us leadership that understood the need, and most of all, the benefit of finishing what we started. With the insurgency growing and supposed bad news mounting, the fickle 1/3 of the population (the ones between the other 2/3 standing to their left and their right) jumped ship. Fortunately for us all, the weak minded did not prevail. The 1/3 that held steadfast in their position through thick and thin has not only fought off the 1/3 on the left, but also the 1/3 in the middle who couldn’t hold true to a position if you nail gunned their asses to it. A victory in Iraq will be remembered for two reasons, and two reasons only — The United States Armed Forces, and President George Walker Bush.
Whether you’re a liberal and you dislike him because he’s too conservative, or you’re a conservative and you dislike him because he’s too liberal, one thing can be said for certain — The man led this country during war with conviction and honor, and I personally thank him. History will vindicate him, just as it has President Ronald Wilson Reagan, God rest his soul. Most in President Bush’s position would have buckled to the will of the democrat lead congress, or the polls that include those bandwagon 1/3 in the middle who couldn’t decide how they wanted their eggs cooked without being brought to tears. If you need help, it’s quite easy to identify the fickle 1/3 in the middle — they’re wearing a brand new New York Giants hat, or a crisp shiny new Boston Red Sox jacket. They should really just focus on what really matters in their lives… American Idol.
So, back to the task at hand — how do we quantify a victory? How do we determine if we’re at least moving in the right direction? Well, if you’re against the war you’ll probably point to the fact that civilians are dying and immediately come to the conclusion that we should get out. This of course is disingenuous since even they know the bloodshed in Iraq would increase 100 fold without the brave men and women of the U.S. military protecting the innocent. The “intellectuals” on the left in Hollywood preach to us all the time about the ills of America and how it’s killing the innocent in Iraq. Sharon Stone was recently quoted as saying the military liberation of Iraq was somehow responsible for the deaths of 600,000 innocent civilian Iraqis and that the lives of Iraqis are ignored while the lives of the (only?) 4,000 brave men and women who died trying to protect these civilians are somehow too heralded and celebrated for their sacrifice. Here’s her quote.
“I feel at great pain when the spotlight is on the death of 4,000 American soldiers, while 600,000 Iraqi deaths are ignored,”
Hey Sharon, I’ll make a deal with you. I promise to leave the “showing off the beaver on the silver screen” to those who have a beaver, if you promise to leave the thinking to those of us who have a brain. NEWS FLASH: We spotlight the lives of those 4,000 soldiers because they’re over there dying trying to protect the innocent who are being killed by terrorists. They’re the ones trying to stop children from being slaughtered at the hands of radical Islam. They’re also Americans, and you should fall to your knees with pain in your heart knowing another American is suffering in anyway, even for such a noble cause as this.
Not withstanding this bimbo’s credentials, let’s just pretend to believe her outrageous number of 600,000 Iraqi civilians killed. Let’s just pretend that 120,000 civilians a year have been murdered in Iraq since its liberation in 2003. Let’s imagine that 10,000 a month have died every month since then. That 2,500 men, women, and children, are dying each week. A total of 322 humans a day, 13 every hour, 1 every 4.6 minutes of every day for five years straight. 600,000 souls! From sun up to sundown and throughout the night as people slept; 13 lives every hour have supposedly been ended, for almost five years straight.
Now that we’re done with the sicko math, I ask her, even if the number is plausible (which it’s not), how many of these people died at the hands of U.S. servicemen? Even if you believe this outrageously exaggerated and politically expedient number of 600,000, do you believe the U.S. soldier did most of them? Even half of them? Maybe 95% of them she would tell you? Actually, I’m sure that almost none were intentional killed by soldiers, especially when you factor out the “civilians” killed that are not at all civilians, but rather terrorists and insurgents, classified by these “peace” organizations as the innocent.
I’ll take your sicko math another step further. How many innocent lives in Iraq are saved each day by the brave men and women of the armed forces? How many were murdered each year at the hands of a dictatorial regime before the military showed up five years ago? The same human rights organizations that calculate 600,000 dead today, estimated that over one million died the previous 20 years under Saddam Hussein. Was that number going to get better or worse under a Saddam dictatorial regime? Do you think it’s a net gain or net loss of life today? Is it a net gain or loss when compared to what would happen without our help today? People have got to stop consuming the news as if it were the gospel according to Katie Couric. Think just for a moment about what could have happened had certain events not occurred. Don’t be just one dimensionally about what is happening, but rather, also what could have happened. Historical perspective. Cause and effect. Logical fallacies.
Enough about the bimbo life-wing mathematician. We’re still left with the unsavory task of deciding how to quantify whether or not we are indeed winning in Iraq. We know that the loss of life has dropped markedly over the past year, for the soldier as well as the civilian. This should be welcome and joyous news for all on the right as well as the left of the political spectrum. All Americans and all humans should be rejoicing, right? But alas, this is not the case. Some hope for a continued body count to ensure their sick political ambitions. It’s beyond the pale and treasonous at best. Politicizing an issue as serious as this is the second oldest profession known to man, and the whores know who they are.
Quantifying the win is something I may have finally figured out how to calculate; and without using the liberal “too many lives lost,” or “too much of my money spent” benchmarks for withdrawal. Our goal in Iraq, when we leave (for the most part), is to ensure the people of that country have a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s it. A chance at success. The distinct possibility that once left to their own devices they can continue to make life better for all their citizens as well as neighbors. Like kicking your kid out of the house at the age of 18, not the age of 5, the chances of success increases with time. Can they screw it up still? Of course they can. Look at how we’re trying to screw up our republic over 200 years after its creation. Yes, leaving Iraq right now and just hoping the power of music creates peace is noble and even has a very slim chance of success (and by slim, I mean .00000000003), but without at least a certain guarantee, I’m sticking with what we’ve invested in and what has worked in the past — the U.S. military.
Okay, so again, how do we know when we’re winning in Iraq? Should we stay for the entire event, or try and beat the traffic home? Read this article and form you own conclusion. No, don’t get someone’s opinion about the article; read it and decide for yourself. Are we winning? And no, this is not an article from The Weekly Standard, it’s from the New York Freaking Times. Now, if the New York Times can publish something like this, I would have to say so. But don’t take my word for it, let’s ask an Iraqi…
“I used to love Osama bin Laden,” proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.
Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.
“Now I hate Islam,” she said, sitting in her family’s unadorned living room in central Baghdad. “ Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”
She hates Islam, or at least its teachings of hate? One persons quote is all the quantifying I need. She hates Islam, folks. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!!!!!