Is that a fair question?

by Volker Weber

I cannot help but wonder how many insurgents you would have if some other nation would liberate you from your current administration.


Shouldn't this be labeled "Don't try this at home"?

Ragnar Schierholz, 2004-09-28

This, of course, was meant to go under the earlier post... might have been a little early in the morning. My bad!

Ragnar Schierholz, 2004-09-28

How many insurgents were there in Germany in 1945, and how long did it take to get rid of them? Isn't that the proper answer?

Jon Johnston, 2004-09-28

No, Jon. It is an unrelated question. If you want a related question, then you can look them up here or more specifically here.

So what do you think, how many insurgents would there be?

Volker Weber, 2004-09-28

I actually would like to extend that question: How could the international occupation forces, who have an overwhelming supply of powerful weapons and who do not share your views about religion and general values, win your hearts and minds?

Volker Weber, 2004-09-28

They couldn't. They'd have to give us a hand up off the ground and get out of our way. In other words, they'd have to start with what John Kerry has suggested the US should be doing in Iraq: make sure our infrastructure (water, electricity, roads) is all working flawlessly; train and fully equip our native security forces and get your armed forces the heck out of sight ASAP; and ensure internationally managed and completely open elections that would leave our own people in total control of our country.

I'm leaving out the fourth part Kerry suggested about getting the UN more involved on the ground because that wouldn't make a difference to anybody I know. Having the whole world agreed that invading the US is a good idea wouldn't impress the average American much, and there are a lot of people in the US who think the UN wants to take over our government already - a UN-sponsored invasion would push those people right over the edge (tin-foil-hat-wearing lunatics that they are).

Rob McDonagh, 2004-09-28

(Adjusting my tin-foil-hat before I respond....) Thanks for clarifying the question you were actually asking, because to be blunt, I don't see how your original question doesn't fit Germany in 1945. There were still Nazi "insurgents" fighting, right? For a few years? Underground, even? Part of the old regime?

For your other question - as an Iraqi individual, I would think that my position would be entirely dependent upon how much I hated your current administration versus how many people of the "current administration" the liberation forces left alive.

There are two ways in which we - meaning the rest of the world including Europe - are going to win hearts and minds. You win hearts and minds by being involved with the people you've just conquered on a personal level. This means that you have as many people and organizations involved with Iraq as possible so that the Iraqi people start to understand that we're all pretty much the same human beings with the same needs, and not a bunch of infidels that need to be killed because our beliefs are different.

You don't win hearts and minds by running away because the going got tough.

However, the other is if the moderate Muslims start standing up and speaking out against their own extremists. Unfortunately, the only way that's going to happen is if they feel safe in doing so and that's going to take a long time. It's going to take something like a democracy, and that will not be easy to achieve, especially in Iraq.

BTW, if you think John Kerry's message on Iraq is any different than George W. Bush's message on Iraq, you're sadly mistaken.

With regards to the UN - as long as France continues to assume their position on the security council, the UN will continue to be a joke. What is the point of having an international body like the UN if all it's ever capable of doing is issuing proclamations? The UN didn't approve our actions in Bosnia, either. Apparently Europe was completely okay with having genocide occur in her backyard - as long as it wasn't French or Germans being slaughtered, who the heck cared?

Jon Johnston, 2004-09-29

Jon, you still do not understand the question. I am not asking you to think as an Iraqi or to draw parallels with history. It is a stereotype mistake I see very often, since many of your fellow countrymen seem to think they know what is good for the rest of the world.

I am asking you to think as an American about your own country. How many insurgents would your country have? And could an occupying force win your hearts and minds?

Volker Weber, 2004-09-29

Okay, fair enough, and you're right about not understanding the question.

If people felt threatened, that their freedom would be taken away, that they felt they would be forced into a single religion (whether state-based or spiritual), then there would be a huge amount of insurgency. There are a lot of guns in the US. Nearly all of my neighbors, including myself, own rifles, shotguns, etc.

As long as people felt they would not gain their freedom, the insurgency would continue. The only way to win hearts and minds back would be to assure everyone that freedom was the goal.

With regards to many of my fellow countrymen knowing what's good for the rest of the world.... I posted a link to an article I felt explained our position pretty well:

It's a fine line we walk.

Jon Johnston, 2004-09-29

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