January 26, 2007

HEARTS AND MINDS


Caption: These traditional enemies have achieved a diplomatic solution.

Sometimes it seems like the Bush administration has a haunting fear that it hasn't screwed up the world as much as humanly possible.

It is perhaps this fear which drives them to continually try to make whatever situation they are dealing with even worse.

The most recent case in point is a new Bush policy reported by the Washington Post which will allow US troops to kill Iranians in Iraq:

The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.
Previously, the U.S. had a "catch and release" policy towards suspected Iranian agents as a way of both intimidating them and avoiding escalating tensions in the region.
The wide-ranging plan has several influential skeptics in the intelligence community, at the State Department and at the Defense Department who said that they worry it could push the growing conflict between Tehran and Washington into the center of a chaotic Iraq war....

Senior administration officials said the policy is based on the theory that Tehran will back down from its nuclear ambitions if the United States hits it hard in Iraq and elsewhere, creating a sense of vulnerability among Iranian leaders. But if Iran responds with escalation, it has the means to put U.S. citizens and national interests at greater risk in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

This looks like a calculated step along the path toward direct military conflict with Iran, a cherished dream in some administration circles. One can hardly wait to see what they think of next...



BY CONTRAST: Some people, however, El Cabrero among them, believe that the last few years have amply shown that shock and awe are pretty blunt instruments for dealing with terrorism and that arrogance might not be the best way to improve the international standing and security of the U.S.

Here's one example of a constructive approach from the Jan. 26 issue of The Week Magazine:

The 2,000 soldiers who constitute NATO's Italian detachment in Afghanistan are winning friends with their kinder, gentler approach to the occupation. In the Mushai Valley, the Italians, who are barred by their government from combat, listen to the resident's problems, offer food and medical care, and help recruit and train local police. Local residents say the Italian's sympathy and support is more effective in combatting the Taliban than military action, which has caused many civilian casualties. "The Italians behave very well with the people, and everyone likes them," said senior cleric Maulvi Shirin Agha. "The Taliban can only dream of coming back."



Gee, who would have guessed?

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

4 comments:

Bob said...

Very interesting food for thought, El Cabrero.

El Cabrero said...

Thanks for your comment!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

But that ain’t the kind of religion Mr. Bush seems to practice.

El Cabrero said...

Roger that!