Ok, what can we do to win hearts and minds in Iraq?

Pretty short of leaving the Iraqis in a security nightmare to make them completely happy, I was wondering what the Coalition can do to bridge the divide between us and the Iraqi communities. Is what we did in Najaf a sign of the Interim and US governments weakness and a moral victory for Sadr, or was it a sign to the Iraqs that we are showing restraint and being respectful?

What would you do to rebuild the trust and respect, and help the Iraqis onto democratic government with out so much hate and violence?

First good step would be to bring Bush and his administration, Blair and his cabinet to the Hague and accuse them for the War Crimes they commited and put them in jail for the rest of their life.Then we can talk about rebuilding some trust.
But after 14 years of barbaric embargo ,hundreds of thousand of wounded maimed and sick people ,poisoned land and farms, I don’t see how any one can talk about Iraqi people having respect for USA, UK and other agressors.
Iraqis have more honor than you give them credit for.


At this point, I do not think there is any way to “win” Iraqi hearts and minds short of extracting them surgically.

Do you have any better idea on repairing our relationship with Iraqis?
Saddam Hussein will be Charged for War crimes and rightfully so but other side did cruell and humilliating things to the prisoners of war.Geneva convection should have been respected ,we broke the rules and we have to pay.

When did the winners in a war ever get tried for war crimes? Never. And it won’t happen this time either.

Winning the hearts and minds might take a generation. If, by some wild stroke of luck, Iraq is at least semi-democratic 20 years from now, they might come around to liking us a bit.

Nonpolar, I do not agree with what you say (particularly about penises), but I will defend to the death your right to say it IF you proof-read your posts. With all the spaces before commas, extra l’s, capitals on odd words and references to the “Geneva convection”, it’s very hard to do the Voltaire thang, or understand what the heck you’re talking about, for that matter…

That is way I’m very pessimistic about future of Iraq and our relationship with Arab world in general.One Question : why are we such a hypocrites ,at home we teach our children beautifull democratic values but when comes to basic human rights of prisoners of war they don’t apply to them.

Sorry for my english.
What did I say about penises ? Check other peoples posts, mines are mild in comparison.
So… what do you don’t understand ?I’m talking about prisoners of war treatment in Abu -Ghraib and Iraqi peoples relationship to the US and other countries and also ways to improvig it .

At this stage of the war, I feel that there’s little hope of the US being able to bridge the gap. We had a window of opportunity when the war started to address the “hearts and minds” issue. Problem was, the current administration made numerous mistakes/miscalulations after major military operations ended. It’s one thing to plan for and execute a war (militarily). It’s another to plan for and execute for what hapens after you win a war (politically). We’ve were succesful with the former. The latter has been a miserable failure.

Well, given the current circumstances, I don’t think there’s much the US can do. Some things that would help - but are probably not politically feasible (especially #4) are the following:

  1. Increase in the number of US military personnel to secure political boundaires and critical infrastructure. If US military personnel is unavailable, then hire Iraqis (eaither military or civilian).

  2. Part of the problem is that elements of Iraqi infrastructure need to get repaired (electricity, water, sewage, etc.). However these areas haven’t been dealt with sufficiently due to #1.

  3. To deal with #2, it is imperative that Iraqis need to be working. If it means spending billions of dollars in make-work projects in some cases, then so be it.

In essence, what’s required is to deal with security concerns, getting life back to normal (infrastructure), and getting Iraqis back to work. In short - more manpower and more money - fast.

Even if the above were politically feasible and done post-haste, it still wouldn’t address one final element that isn’t likely to happen:

  1. Allow the Iraqis to decide for themselves what kind of democracy they want. As long as there is some kind of American influence/presence in Iraqi politics, then they will always be some residual resentment towards the Americans.


Like the majority of the world outside the US, Iraq hates you Seppos. And all have good reason to hate. You Seppos have exploited and plundered the remainder of the world since WW II and are doing it in Iraq. Vested self-interest keeps the US troops there and there is no attempt, other than shallow attempts at positive Yank propaganda, to win minds and hearts, only oil.

Moderator’s Note: Sisyphus’ Stone, you have been warned about slinging around insults and slurs outside the BBQ Pit at least twice; and you have warned specifically about using the term “Seppos” in Great Debates.

If you don’t stop it, your posting privileges on the SDMB will be revoked.

I was unaware of these previous warnings and their severity. Thank you for drawing them to my attention. In my defense, I tend to move on after making a specific point and, hence, didn’t read them - there is little value is gloating over reactions to such points.

I am one of the defeated now. My voice has been muted. I have only sought to make meaning, the usual province of the sorcerer, the magus, the monk and the shaman. I don’t intend any luminous irony at their expense, it turns out that the dispersal and dissolution of your powers has left me with a lot of meaning to make for myself. I’ll do it alone, without the ‘Fighting Ignorance’ tag you so benignly flaunt but so aggressively ignore.

It’s not necessary for the Iraqis to love America, or be grateful, or whatever (and it isn’t going to happen, there’s too much history of the US and UK meddling in the past)

They just have to come to pragmatically believe that a stable, democratic Iraq is in their own best interest. Of course this may mean different things to Kurds, Shia, Sunni, Leftists, Rightists Secular and True Believers etc – but, other than the extremists, people tend to share common wishes, (like being left alone to get on with their own lives, see their kids do well at school, get satellite TV)

How to do that? I haven’t a clue

There does seem to be a big problem with US troops alienating civilians (particularly by shooting them!) mostly I guess because they seem to be under constant attack from the insurgents who wear civilian clothes and drive civilian cars and trucks.
But one of the thinks that struck me when watching the documentary mentioned in this thread was just how totally unprepared the troops were.
At one point a US soldier has to borrow the reporter’s interpreter just to talk to the Iraqis supposedly under her command (worryingly, Langan also seems to have to keep reminding the soldiers to watch each other’s backs)

The US isn’t going to be fighting the USSR in future; it’s going to be engaged with actions where “Hearts and Minds” will count more than tanks, were money is better spent on interpreters than billion dollar rocket systems. The US military has to learn urban warfare were it can’t easily tell friend from foe, when not shooting one civilian can mean letting a suicide bomber though, but shooting another turns previous allies into suicide bombers.

We could start by getting rid of the America hating fucktard in the Office of Special Plans.
Those guys are at the center of nearly every major American fuck up re Iraq.

It seems that they want it to fail and escalate.

It also seems that they are trying hard to lend support to the meme that American foreign policy re the Arab and Muslim Worlds is run by Israel.

They are amazingly evil.

I’m sickened that so few Americans are ready to gather pitchforks and light the torches.
**Rational Ignorance is the absolute greatest threat to America. ** Period. This is just one of the many examples of how it lets America get fucked by special interests.

That should be

…the America hating fucktards in the Office of Special Plans.

How to win hearts and minds? How about enough troops to guard the borders? How about jobs for the Iraqis? They’re handing out recontruction contracts not to Iraqis but to KBR cronies. That money isn’t going into the economy.
Next, once you’ve got Iraqi workers fixing the infrastructure—and getting good money for it, hopefully—the military needs to do some educating on the Middle East. It would be nice if we got taught a bit of Arabic, because we’ll likely be using it a lot over the next ten years or so.
Hell, the big thing is jobs and security. Offer jobs, and half of Moqtadah’s Militia would lay down their weapons.
A longer term goal would be countering those anti-American madrassas that are every where in the Middle East.
First jobs and security, then educatoin. The rumors that get spread about us are amazing. “The American Army is all Jewish.” “The African American soldiers are hired mercenaries.” And so on.

The first step is to admit it. Come right out, and admit it:

Iraq was not invaded because it was a nuclear, chemical or biological threat.
Iraq was not invaded because it was linked to al Qaeda.
Iraq was not invaded because it had an inhumane and dictatorial regime.

If these were the case, other countries would have been invaded first.
Iraq was invaded in order to get the President re-elected.

Had he not “done something” after September 2001, had he not served the US electorate with a “victory”, re-election would have been out of the question. (Why Iraq specifically? Here’s why.)
Admit it.

“A SECRET blueprint” “uncovered by the Sunday Herald”? Hardly.

Heh heh, yes it is pretty well known nowadays - that site was the one I found in a quick search which contained the entire September 2000 PNAC document.