Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Real Problem In Iraq

The man has the loyalty of the people. They protect him, they protect his family, and the families of his men. I can capture him for you. But to do so requires the use of some tactics that are somewhat...What was the word your lords used? "Brutal," I think.
- The Patriot

Now this is going to sound weird coming from a conservative like myself, but the real problem with Iraq is in fact here in America. Not the troops, not the leadership, but other things here in America. Yes, part of it is the media, but the other part is the actual American people in general.

"What the hell??!!"

Have I gone mad? No. My roommate is of Christian-Jordanian descent, and lived there for some time. When it comes to discussions about the Middle East, I'm very open to what he has to say. And when compared to Middle Eastern people, we are too thin skinned. Americans see a man stripped of his clothes in an interrogation room and think that it is a heinous crime. True Arabs see that and think "Wow, he got off lucky. He didn't even lose a finger."

Loud, screaming, almost violent arguments are an every day thing in Arab countries. People get into an argument about how much they think an article of food should cost, and other simple things. The mindset there is that civility in an argument is a sign of weakness, and if you want to win the argument, you have to force your view. This goes for fighting as well; You have to have prove to your opponent that you are stronger, and make him beg for your mercy. Only then can you let off, because the battle is won.

It is all about the visualization of power. His suggestion for solving the problem in Iraq would have many human rights advocates screaming; The media and CAIR would demand the necks of every American soldier, and the Anti-Defamation League would want the President's head on a plate. BUT IT WOULD WORK. The reason that insurgents continue to attack soldiers and members of other sects is because no one in their eyes has shown them that they are stronger, and so they believe that they can get away with it. We are there now to mainly do humanitarian aid, and that should not be stopped. However, that is the only thing we are doing to combat the insurgents aside from random raids. That needs to change. Trying to win the insurgents over by being their friend is not going to work.

What needs to be done is a mass arresting of Iraqi warlords. The warlords are who the Iraqi people see as the most powerful force in the country right now. Take the warlords out into the middle of the street and strip them of all their clothes. While you are doing this, make a VERY big scene about it. This symbolically strips them of their power. Scream out the crimes that the men have committed (over a PA system is even better), so that all the people around know what they have done. Then make them beg for mercy from you. This tells the insurgents that you are a force to be reckoned with, and tells the people of Iraq that you are bringing the men to justice. THEN, show them mercy. Give them back their clothes, and put them in prison. The message is clear, and the insurgents realize what will happen to them if they follow the warlords.

Yes, it sounds very brutal to the average American, but to an Arab it makes sense. For example, when we attacked Iwo Jima with 110,000 soldiers, there were 22,000 Japanese soldiers on the island. By the end of the battle 20,700 of them had been killed. The American people could not understand why the Japanese would not simply give in when they were down. Their culture had no concept of surrender, and when American soldiers would surrender, they were shot.

The same concept is for the Arab world; Diplomacy without battle is a sign of weakness.