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Quote of the Whole Freaking War

It took over a year and goodness knows how many dead but somebody finally figured out how to do things in Iraq.

Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe.

From the story it looks like we are doing things right in Fallujah. One more hunk of evidence:

"They're never going to like us," he added, echoing other Marine commanders who cautioned against raising hopes that Fallujans would warmly welcome troops when they return to ruined houses and rubble-strewn streets. The goal, Bellon said, is "mutual respect."

This will scare the hell out of the liberals but...

Ultimately, the fate of Iraq rests not in our hands, but in the hands of Iraqis. We need to settle things down before a government can be built. I'm sure a bunch of whiny liberals will go apoplectic that we are building a police state-- blind to the fact that this is a temporary measure.

(ooops a single quote is turning into a rant)

"I think our expectations have been too high for a nascent government to be perfectly organized" and ready for such a complex task, Colonel Mike Shupp, the regimental commander, said at his headquarters in downtown Fallujah.

EXACTLY- Let's face reality. The people of Iraq are screwed in the head democracy (freedom) wise. They've never known it, how can they be expected to reproduce what they have never seen? That is not to say they are incapable and certainly not to say they are unworthy. Just to say that we need to be more pragmatic.

Read the whole thing. It sounds like we are learning a few things. I've long contended the way to win in Iraq was to teach the locals that we can be their best friend or their worst nightmare. Goodness knows we have the budget and the firepower to be both.

But so far we've spent more time on the "best friend" part and failed to gain the respect of the Iraqis. Sadly, a condition of life over there is that fear is a tool. I'm not saying we need them to fear us but a little heathy respect will go a long way.


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» Rooftop Report linked with Now that's what I call freedom

» Armies of Liberation linked with Iraq Today

» Secure Liberty linked with Why Iraq Is Not Vietnam

Comments (29)

I don't think it is wrong t... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I don't think it is wrong to be a strong benevolent force, but other things in that article go beyond that.

1. Forced Labor
2. Retinal Scans, DNA samples, and fingerprints taken before CITIZENS can return to their city.
3. Wearing ID badges at all times.

Come on... that isn't freedom.

I beleive it was on this si... (Below threshold)
ridgerunner:

I beleive it was on this site that I first read that our Forces in that society need to be perceived as a 600 lb. silverback sitting in the corner, challenging everyone that enters the room with the hard stare of a territorital male whose territory is trespassed. Any hint of challenge is met with a 25lb palm textured like tree bark upside the head.
the "make nice" stuff really needs to be left to the state department and social workers.
the way to get the gorilla out of the room is simply to behave yourself.

I remember hearing this spe... (Below threshold)
Max B-K:

I remember hearing this speaker talk, and a good point he made was that Iraq would be better off if we were really a forceful occupying force.

Practicality as opposed to sentimentality.

Practicality in that situat... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Practicality in that situation would be not going to war in the first place then. If the practicality of a situation is that you need to fully occupy, register, and force labor on a country, then you probably shouldn't be there to begin with.

i appolgize for the acciden... (Below threshold)
ridgerunner:

i appolgize for the accidental post.
I beleive the cause for this action (Iraq) is defensive. Without going thru all of the Presidents pre-war speeches the basic policy objective is to "drain the swamp". The basic advantage of the terrorist is "deniability". Not to hide themselves personally but to hide their sponsors and enablers which in turn provide them safe haven and organizational viability. the "preemptive" death of a "martyr" may not deter but it sure puts a crimp in their style.
Without this action it is easy to visualize a future attack on us coming from one of 25 countries which demands a massive nuclear retaliation fired in all directions resulting in the death of tens or hundreds of millions.
Our goal is to provide the innocent with safety and security thus protecting ourslelves. In the meantime we are killing and "inconveniencing" the right people.

Practicality in that sit... (Below threshold)

Practicality in that situation would be not going to war in the first place then.

Not an option anymore -- and it really wasn't at the time, either, so stop acting like it is.

I am not saying it is/was a... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I am not saying it is/was an option. I am saying if the issue was practicality we wouldn't be here. The issue is giving them their freedom, not taking away the scant freedom they had before we got there.

"1. Forced Labor<br... (Below threshold)
Margo:

"1. Forced Labor
2. Retinal Scans, DNA samples, and
fingerprints taken before CITIZENS can
return to their city.
3. Wearing ID badges at all times.

Come on... that isn't freedom."

I agree that if you take the above statements at face value, they definitely don't represent freedom and democracy. However, if these tools are used to "get to" freedom, then they should be used.

The silverback gorilla analogy by ridgerunner is so great...and so true. Look at our own society today, compared to how it was 40 years ago. We behaved because if we didn't, we'd get it from our Moms or Dads. They didn't sit us down and ask us why we did things, they didn't wonder where they, as parents, went wrong. We got spanked. We learned (well, most of us did) not to repeat our behavior.

Life was a lot more uncomplicated then, huh?

I have no doubt that the me... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I have no doubt that the measure will be effective in placating the terrorists temporarily, I just think it does nothing to solving the inherent problem.

You don't prove drugs are a problem by selling them to every kid on the street. You don't prove abortion is wrong by getting pregnant, having an abortion, and then proving you are sterile. And, you don't give people freedom by taking away all their freedoms in the name of security. Ask Franklin.

As often occurs in real lif... (Below threshold)

As often occurs in real life, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Is this the ideal of Jeffersonian democracy? No. Is it better than car bomb factories, torture chambers, and slaughterhouses? Yes.

That is not what they think... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

That is not what they think. From the article referenced in this post:

"When the insurgents were here, we felt safe," said Ammar Ahmed, 19, a biology student at Anbar University. "At least I could move freely in the city; now I cannot."

Well good for Ammar. I wond... (Below threshold)
mcg:

Well good for Ammar. I wonder what the folks who the insurgents executed in their makeshift dungeons would have had to say about the same question. I suppose you'd feel safe as long as you do exactly what the insurgents want...

Let me also point out that ... (Below threshold)

Let me also point out that if a city in the U.S. was building hundreds of car bombs that killed thousands of U.S. citizens, you can bet your last dime al that "civil liberties" stuff would be thrown right out the fucking window.

Bill K,Sounds like... (Below threshold)

Bill K,

Sounds like an insurgent lie to me; like the Communists in their day, those guys do know how to work Western journalists to their advantage. In fact, that's probably the central tenet of their strategy. They know they can never defeat us militarily; their only hope is to win the propaganda war with the American people as was successfully done in Vietnam.

There were an awful lot of tortured and executed civilians in Fallujah. This guy is either crazy, clueless, or most likely simply lying. Sure, you might have had freedom of movement, but freedom of movement doesn't mean much when you're dead.

The issue is giving them... (Below threshold)

The issue is giving them their freedom, not taking away the scant freedom they had before we got there.

Do you really believe Iraqis are less free now than they were under the jihadis (in Fallujah) or Saddam (in Iraq in general)?

Have you consulted with any Iraqis to get their assessment?

Sure Bill,Let's le... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Sure Bill,

Let's let the insurgents run the place... What's a few headheadings and slaughterhouses compared to the horrors of wearing a name tag.

Paul

If you don't like being called a jackass, avoiding making comments like yours might be one way to to prevent it.

I am not arguing that the i... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I am not arguing that the insurgents are good. But, you don't punish the good to get the bad.

I don't think I am at all being a jackass by saying I think limiting freedom isn't the best way to ensure full freedom in the future. I disagree with you, not loathe you.

Don't get your panties in a bunch.

What’s been missing in Iraq... (Below threshold)
Lastango:

What’s been missing in Iraq is outright victory. Our politically-motivated delay in taking strong action has resulted in hundreds, perhaps thousands of needless deaths.

Ok Bill so you are SOOOO ad... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Ok Bill so you are SOOOO adamantly opposed to this...

What should the Marines be doing?

CLEARLY you know a better way.... Why not share?

and let me save you some ti... (Below threshold)
Paul:

and let me save you some time....

I your idea includes phrases like:

"Making friends with..."

"Seeing their point of view..."

"Leading by example..."

Or any of the "Oprah" ideas, all that was tried and all it did was cause an insurgency and get people killed. THAT"S THE POINT.

So what's your big idea?

I think we should go all ou... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

I think we should go all out Oprah on them and give each one a new car.

I am no a military or socia... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I am no a military or social strategist. I am just saying taking away freedoms under the guise of security is absolutely opposite of the founding principles of our country, so why should it be of another.

Again, I just disagree with you, save the caps locks for someone that is actually calling you out.

So what should we do????</p... (Below threshold)
Paul:

So what should we do????

Lemme explain life to you...

Things don't get done by "feeling bad." Things get done with actions. If you disagree with an action it seems self evident you need to have one you prefer....

Or are you just whining because it is George Bush?

Billk, sure it is ok to dis... (Below threshold)
Henry:

Billk, sure it is ok to disagree, however, once you put forth your voice that you disagree, there are going to be a bunch of expectant ears pointing your way trying to see if you have a different solution to the one being presented. If you don't have one, then please calmly pipe down and don't say anything about it. What we need are solutions, not disagreers.

I agree with Margo, the analogy that one must put up with certain restrictions NOW before real freedom can take place. When you were a child, you had no idea about freedom, you knew you wanted it, yet your parents had to teach you all about how freedom works in the real world before they let you out on your own. Think about it. If you were let out into the world without any restrictions or morals imposed on you, what would you do? You would probably run aruond and do whatever you wished, and end up a homeless man on the street begging for food (in a few years).

Of course we can't go TOO far in the other direction either. I had a friend from high school (she was hindu) whose parents were really strict. As soon as she hit college, she REALLY let loose. I mean she got all sorts of tattoos, piercings, and dressed like a whore. It was rather sad.

What our military needs to die is find the right balance of freedom/restrictions so as to teach the iraqis how to cherish and value their OWN freedom as well as to regulate its wrongdoers.

So, this thing in Fallujah ... (Below threshold)
Cybrludite:

So, this thing in Fallujah is a trial run for what we're going to do to clean up Berkeley, right? ;-)

When you were a child, y... (Below threshold)
Paul:

When you were a child, you had no idea about freedom, you knew you wanted it, yet your parents had to teach you all about how freedom works in the real world before they let you out on your own. Think about it. If you were let out into the world without any restrictions or morals imposed on you, what would you do? You would probably run aruond and do whatever you wished, and end up a homeless man on the street begging for food (in a few years).

That really is the point Bill.

Right now you guys sound like a 6 year old who just got a spanking saying, "When I get to be a gwown up, I'll never spank my kids."

It sounds great to a kid but just stupid to grown ups. (voters)

There are plenty of disagre... (Below threshold)
LJD:

There are plenty of disagreers, and none of them have any solutions. It's the way the left works. All they have to do is complain about how things are being done; not actually find a way to do it better.

Or sometimes, they come out with some unattainable touchy-feely idea like, "Well, if we could all just get along" or "If we could only get every one in the U.N. to agree..." So, that doesn't work, then what?

Police states aren't tempor... (Below threshold)
HeavyJ:

Police states aren't temporary, you dumb son of a bitch.

>>>Police states aren't tem... (Below threshold)

>>>Police states aren't temporary, you dumb son of a bitch.

Sure they are. Most conquered states that later became democratic began as de facto temporary police states under occupation: Japan, Germany, Italy, etc. The important thing is the commitment of the policing authority to democracy and eventual freedom.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. We have to stop the violence before Iraq can become an ideal Jefffersnonian democracy. If that means a localized police state in certain areas for a couple years, so be it.




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