Hearts and Minds? Naaah!

March 12th, 2008  
Del Boy

Topic: Hearts and Minds? Naaah!

Idea of winning hearts and minds in Iraq is 'almost ridiculous' warns Army commander

By MATTHEW HICKLEY - More by this author Last updated at 01:13am on 12th March 2008

The goal of "winning hearts and minds" among local people in Iraq and Afghanistan is unrealistic and "almost ridiculous", a senior British Army commander said last night.
In a stark assessment - which appears to contradict directly the mantra of the armed forces and politicians - former SAS officer Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb said it was dangerous for Western nations to imagine that they could earn the lasting affection of locals in Muslim countries which they occupy.
"To suggest that good intentions will cross fundamental cultural, social and religious differences and win over a damaged population is at best dangerous and wishful thinking.
"The image of winning a heart or a mind is almost ridiculous," he told an international security conference in Stockholm.

Lt Gen Lamb is a hugely-respected officer of 35 years experience - renowned for his straight-talking - who has twice led UK forces in Iraq and is now commander of Britain's field army.

His latest blunt remarks - on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion - will be widely seen as a reality check for politicians inclined to give overly optimistic assessments of the effects British operations are having in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

(Well Hello - obviously he backs the American forces' attitude to wards the project.)
March 12th, 2008  
Cdt Matteo
Good bye winning the war
March 12th, 2008  
Team Infidel
oh jeez........
March 12th, 2008  
I, personally think it's a good tactic. That's the only difficulty with today's wars, it's harder to get spies on the inside. In World War Two, it was a bit easier in the European theatre because we were fighting an enemy that was the same skin color. Now we have to attempt to use civilians which may have their own personal agendas and sometimes can actually give us false intel. But then again, the current state of the War on Terror isn't an actual war, it's more like police work, and just like an officer has to win over some of the locals around his patrol area, we have to win the hearts and minds of the locals in Iraq.
March 12th, 2008  
Del Boy
I believe that in full detail he said that the best we could hope for was an acceptance of our presence through the useful supply of utilities etc.

Could it be that the best pointer to his take is that he an SAS man, policing may not be his strong point?
March 13th, 2008  
A Can of Man
Well after pissing off our Muslim community, yeah it's impossible I guess to get spies.
March 15th, 2008  
major liability
I don't think anyone who invaded my country and bombed it - careful to avoid civilians or not - would EVER be winning my heart or mind. Maybe some bullets, but that's about it.
March 19th, 2008  
Seriously though, how the hell else are we going to deal with the locals? If we are too aggressive, we get burned by the media/sheeple/pundits/etc. If we are too wishy-washy and timid, the indigs walk all over us and the mission becomes easily compromised. Notice in the acronym for decision making METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops available, Time, Civilian considerations), the C comes LAST, while the Mission comes FIRST. I remember something about always putting the mission first...
March 19th, 2008  
Del Boy
What a great question -right on the button. So come guys, and sheeple and pundits - tell the man. He wants to know.
March 19th, 2008  
We lost any chance in the battle for Hearts and Minds the day we invaded their country, and about the only worthwhile thing that we have achieved was the removal of the Baathists http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...6/ai_n12573978

But now we are there, what other choice do we have. We are already viewed as invaders and even worse, occupiers. We have shot ourselves in the foot.
What do we do?

(a) Claim we have trained enough locals to take over, so that we can weasel out the back door (A la Vietnam) and let the whole place go to Hell in a hat box, A scenario that will probably require our intervention again and again in the not too far distant future.
(b) Stay and attempt to clean up the mess we created?

It's pretty much a no brainer,... we stay. But if we stay, what policy do we adopt. Try to get the locals onside, even if only in small numbers, or just forget it and just let their dislike of us fester into even greater open enmity? As the article above points out, we admit that our enemy is winning the battle for hearts and minds, are we just going to ignore it at our peril.

It's all very well to say that this policy won't work, however, thankfully most of those in positions of power realise that to abandon it would be far worse.

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