Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

July 26, 2007

Why Soldiers Don’t Make the Best Good-Will Ambassadors

Filed under: politics — codesmithy @ 7:41 am

There is reason to believe that American soldiers don’t necessarily breath good-will into foreign populations where they are stationed.  Whether, they are accused of raping a 12 year-old girl in Okinawa.  Or whether they are simply just beating people up (please ignore the distasteful voice-over).  Or, if they are giving sanctimonious lectures and destroying people’s livelihood.

Although, the grunts on the ground just represent a friction between policy and implementation.  It is important to remember that UNICEF estimates that 500,000 children have died from the economic sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War, and the Iraqi death total because of the current war is estimated above 60,000.  Although there is reason to believe the actual body count is much, much higher.  As the Onion has pointed out, there is reason to believe Iraqi’s might just be able to feel grief.

So, maybe these types of issues are the reason behind kids throwing rocks at our soldiers in convoys (warning: explicit language), which is part of a pattern of escalation. Or, maybe they are just angry that they didn’t get that bottle of water after running so hard.

Lest, I am accused of just focusing on the negative.  Here is a report of the a “successful” U.S. policy.  However, I am confident that the gangs that we arm in Iraq today will be a source of problems for the region in the future.

More American troops are unlikely to add stability to the region, especially since we are and increasingly will be viewed as occupiers.  Ralph Nader has outlined the proper approach that needs to be taken.

  1. Get enough troops on the ground to stop the death squads and militias, this is only tenable through an International force (this will decrease the view of U.S. as occupiers)
  2. Come out with an aggressive but realistic timetable for withdraw linked with benchmarks (this is dissolve community support for terrorists if ordinary citizens see the International force acting on good faith)
  3. Turn the control over Iraq’s valuable natural resources (oil), back over to Iraq (the government will need the funds for reconstruction)

The U.S. needs to get out.  The fact that this war has lasted longer than WWII is not a result of tougher opponents, but rather poor post-war planning.  The arguments of the terrorists waiting till a day after the U.S. withdraw to strike is ludicrous. The government has to be built up to such a point beforehand that we have confidence it will stand.  The only way for the Iraqi government to actually gain that confidence is to start standing on its own, and a good way to push them to take initiative is to let them know: the U.S. is leaving.  The indefinite withdraw plan, leads to a lack of initiative on the part of the Iraqi government.  Which means, we end up staying in Iraq indefinitely.  This eventually turns to leaving in infamy.  I don’t want want the infamy scenario, but the prerequisite conditions become harder to obtain the longer they are put off.  We might be past the political point of no return already.  Not even considering plans for withdraw makes that assessment more likely.  It is not a coincidence the U.S. had a gentleman’s F on the Iraqi benchmarks, and sadly we are unlikely to better in September.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] of the war. I can’t help but draw parallels to U.S. soldiers blowing up a cat in Iraq and the other stories I’ve previously explored. There is a moral imperative to end the occupation of Iraq similar to the way we did in Vietnam. I […]

    Pingback by The Things They Carried: Tim O’Brien « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — January 19, 2008 @ 12:01 pm


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