Thursday, August 23, 2007

We Need to be More Brutal in Iraq?

Right-wing war advocates constantly repeat that the Iraq War is going poorly because we aren't being brutal enough -- without explaining how more brutality would help or what that brutality should consist of exactly. Beyond thin sloganeering the efficacy of increasing brutality is never directly addressed.

The Daily Show just ran an interview with Lt. Col. John Nagl, author of Counterinsurgency Field Manual. His point can be accurately summarized as "use the minimum force required to get the job done." (Nearly but not quite an exact quote) His reasoning was logical and therefore entirely unfamiliar to the bloodthirsty right-wing war advocates. "Winning hearts and minds" is not a slogan, it's a valid strategy; hearts are not won with blood and minds not won through despair.

Treating Iraqi people with respect and kindness, investing in infrastructure, making sure only the right people are apprehended and killed while protecting the innocent -- these ideas are entirely obvious and exactly what most chicken-hawks oppose. For them the answer is always the same: more gore, more bombs, more torture, regardless of effectiveness. In their fantasy-land insufficient violence is always the problem.

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