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Winning Hearts And Minds… with a War

I discovered back in September of 2000, and thereafter, that writing about current events that are moving quickly is perhaps the hardest chore one can undertake. This has proven true yet again. Events are moving quickly enough that I won’t attempt to comment on and cover each point that pops up, in this week’s column; there is certainly enough to descuss these events in the next weeks and months.  I am forced to start with events, picked by chance as much as anything else.

As I write this, we have four days of this war under our belt. I find myself watching our people acting in a just cause with no small measure of pride.

Our country is blessed indeed to have such dedicated and talented people.  This Army Photograph is of a tank and it’s crew in Central Iraq, having just driven for the last 32 hours, basicly non-stop. Some of us don’t deserve to be served by such people. Who am I talking about?  Who else? The ones who basicly spit in the face of the military every chance they get… the liberals.

One of the interesting aspects of this war is watching the liberals in their discomfort, as their arguments disappear or backfire on them, one by one.  They’re begining to understand that they will lose what little credibility they have left when President Bush’s path with Iraq turns out to be the right one… and the signs are all there for the seeing. The only ones NOT seeing this, are the losers… the leftists.

See, the left has never understood that winning the hearts and minds of people is of paramount import. In this case, they’re just starting to understand that they’ve already lost, but they fail to fully comprehend WHY.

Let’s examine some of the nonsense they’ve been claiming.

* They can no longer claim this is about oil, since if it was it would have been far more productive to simply put up with Saddam’s world-class thuggery. I’m quite sure he’d be more than willing to pump all the oil we wanted, under those conditions.

* They can’t claim, as they have been, that Iraqi citizens are victims of American force, as we all watch the reaction from the Iraqi people, and watching as they cheer as they see their oppressors fall. Here’s a few I’ve collected, as they’ve been reported.

Coming into Basra as part of a massive military convoy, I encountered
a stream of young men, dressed in what appeared to be Iraqi army uniforms, applauding the US marines as they swept past in tanks.”
BBC reporter, 3-22-03

“Ajami Saadoun Khlis, whose son and brother were executed under the
Saddam regime,sobbed like a child on the shoulder of the Guardian’s Egyptian translator. He mopped the tears but they kept coming. ‘You just arrived,’ he said. ‘You’re late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand.  We came out of the grave.'”
The Guadian, 3-22-03

“As hundreds of coalition troops swept in just after dawn, the heartache of a town that felt the hardest edges of Saddam Hussein’s rule seemed to burst forth, with villagers running into the streets to celebrate in a kind of grim ecstasy, laughing and weeping in long guttural cries. “‘Oooooo, peace be upon you, peace be upon you, peace you, oooooo,’.  Zahra Khafi, a 68-year-old mother of five, cried to a group of American and British visitors who came to the town shortly
after Mr. Hussein’s army appeared to melt away. ‘I’m not afraid of Saddam anymore.'”
New York Times, 3-22-03

“We’ve been driving since dawn today in southern Iraq, and so far
we’ve come across scores of Bedouin herdsmen. We’ve been greeted by friendly greetings of ‘inshallah’ and ‘salaam aleikum’…we’ve seen both women and men waving greetings and shouting greeting to the U.S. troops.”
Radio Free Europe correspondent Ron Synovitz, 3-21-03

“They told me that Saddam Hussein is not allowing anyone to leave Baghdad. I don’t fear the Americans. I was in Baghdad in the war in 1991 and I saw how surgical an operation it was. Saddam Hussein has persecuted everyone except his own family. Kurds, Arab Shiites, Turkoman – everybody has suffered. But our country was a rich country and we can be rich again.'”
Financial Times Information, 3-21-03

“These are US Marines being greeted if not with garlands, with hand shakes by residents of the town in the deep-south corner of Iraq.”
CBS News, 3-21-03

“One little boy, who had chocolate melted all over his face after a soldier gave him some treats from his ration kit, kept pointing at the sky, saying ‘Ameriki, Ameriki.'”
Associated Press, 3-21-03

“Milling crowds of men and boys watched as the Marines attached ropes on the front of their Jeeps to one portrait and then backed up, peeling the Iraqi leader’s black-and-white metal image off a frame. Some locals briefly joined Maj. David ‘Bull’ Gurfein in a new cheer. ‘Iraqis! Iraqis! Iraqis!’ Gurfein yelled, pumping his fist in the air… ….A few men and boys ventured out, putting makeshift white
flags on their pickup trucks or waving white T-shirts out truck windows….’Americans very good,’ Ali Khemy said. ‘Iraq wants to be free. Some chanted, ‘Ameriki! Ameriki!’ … “Gurfein playfully traded pats with a disabled man and turned down a dinner invitation from townspeople. ‘Friend, friend,’ he told them in Arabic learned in the first Gulf War. …”‘No Saddam Hussein!’ one young man in
headscarf told Gurfein. ‘Bush!'”
Associated Press, 3-21-03

“Iraqi citizens were shown ‘tearing down a poster of Saddam Hussein’ and Dexter Filkins of The New York Times was interviewed, saying that Iraqis he had seen were ‘hugging and kissing every American they could find.'”
NBC Nightly News, 3-21-03

“Here was a chance to stop and I clambered down, eager to get a first word from an Iraqi of what he thought of this whole affair. ‘As salaam alekum,’ I said in the traditional greeting, then ran out of Arabic and quickly added, ‘Do you speak English?’ No go. But with a fumbled exchange of gestures we slowly managed to communicate. Thumbs up for the American tanks, thumbs down for Saddam Hussein. Then he pointed north into the distance and said ‘Baghdad.'”
Reuters, 3-21-03

“A line of dancing Kurdish men, staring directly into the mouth of the Iraqi guns less than a mile away, defiantly burned tires, sang traditional new years songs and chanted, ‘Topple Saddam.’…”March 21 is the Kurdish New Year….And bonfires have long been a symbol of liberation in this part of the world. ‘We’re celebrating [Nawroz] national holiday,’ said Samad Abdulla Rahim, 22. ‘But today we also celebrate the attack on Saddam.’…”Many expressed hope that deadly fire would light the night sky over Baghdad in the days ahead, bringing an end to the Kurd’s epic 30-year struggle against Hussein and his Baath Party. ‘I can’t wait for the U.S. planes to come and liberate Kirkuk,’ said Shahab Ahmed Sherif, a 33-year-old Kurd who had fled the oil-rich city four days earlier.”
Copley News Service, 3-21-03

Unidentified Iraqi man: “Help us live better than this life. Let us have freedom.”
ABC World News Tonight, 3-21-03

Hmmm.Given the comments of the Iraqi people, I’d say offhand, that it’s a sure bet their hearts and minds are already won over by President Bush’s action.

* Leftists can no longer claim that the UK and the USA are alone in the thought that our actions are just and right. Indeed, some forty-six countries are publicly committed to the Coalition, including (in Alpha sort)

Afghanistan , Albania , Australia , Azerbaijan , Bulgaria , Colombia ,Costa Rica , Czech Republic, Denmark , Dominican Republic , El Salvador , Eritrea , Estonia , Ethiopia , Georgia , Honduras , Hungary , Iceland , Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan

There are many more who because of fear of reprisals, are not publicly backing this effort but rather are privately supporting it.

That’s who supports our actions. As to who does not support our actions. it should not escape you that the party of big government here in America… the socialist Democrats, along with the Socialist dominated French the left in Canada, the Germans who are socialist dominated now, and have been since the fall of the Berlin wall, the Russians, and many other socialist/leftist groups should want to keep the Iraqi people from this day of liberation… instead keeping them under the thumb of their fellow Socialists in the Baath party. Indeed, all Americans should be angry about it.  American leftists are not, if we can take their louder members as any
indication.

* So, also, then, they cannot claim being loyal Americans. This by definition includes Democrat leaders, who, as a result of this action in Iraq, are in full disarray, as well.

Consider the position of Minority Leader Tom Dashiele (D- France). His earlier support of Clinton’s attacks on Iraq are now coming back to haunt him. Way back in 98, Daschle said,

“Saddam Hussein leaves us little choice” but “the use of force.” He also said, “Iraq must comply (with U.N. resolutions). There is no choice. We stand united in our determination to do whatever is necessary ..”

He also called for “immediate Iraqi compliance” or “threat by force” would be “required”.

Even more recently, he plays the same tune.

“We ought not politicize this war. We ought not politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death … We have to rise to a higher level .. It is not too late to forget the pollsters . the campaign fund-raisers . (the) accusations about how interested in national security,” different parties are ..”(Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in the Congressional Record 9/25/02).

So, his well-known recent attacks on President Bush, as regards his efforts in Iraq are nothing more than the worst kind of partisan politics.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/17/sprj.irq.congress.briefing/ [1]

And the Democrats seem to be not backing down from this matter, as if they could EVER admit they were wrong… In a recent note to the party faithful, their leadership asks them to stand up for Partisanship over what’s right and wrong… Just an hour or two before our beginning to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime, the DNC sent e-mails to its grass-roots activists that said “Democratic leaders are standing up to Bush; Make sure you stand up for them!”

The UN must be scratching their collectivist heads, as well, as they watch these reactions… to say nothing of the expressions on their faces as they watch weapons they themselves banned Saddam from having, weapons he swore he didn’t have, being launched at our troups, as they liberate Iraq.

You could just feel the red faces as the world discovered that Iraq does indeed have a downright huge Chem /Bio Weapons plant, near An Najaf, just as we’ve been saying, all along.

The poll shows that three-quarters of all Americans approve of the decision to go to war, including 60% who approve strongly. Only one in five Americans disapprove — 15% who feel strongly and 5% not strongly.

Source: http://gallup.com/poll/releases/pr030321.asp [2]

It’s interesting how the press has been by and large ignoring this report so far. (Non-partisan press, my butt.)

It’s also interesting that the day after this polling data hit the streets, that Daschle and Nancy Pelosi both used their Saturday Radio address to whine about how they are ‘behind the troups’. Here’s a link to it;

http://www.house.gov/pelosi/prSupportTroops032003.htm [3]

This is almost word for word the actual text of the address given, except that Daschle, who can’t convincingly read scripting to save himself, was obviously tacked in at the last minute. They clearly gave the impression of two errant dogs being called sternly to heel. Yet they still will not address the concept that when one supports the troups one must also support their actions.. and thereby the choices made by their commanders. If the troups are right in what they do, then so too is
their commander… President Bush. making the choices that are right.

These Democrats know no shame whatever, apparently.

The left KNOWS their positions… every one of them, as regards Saddam, and our fight against terrorism, (to say nothing of their draconian domestic policies) are the wrong ones for America, and for the world. They KNOW their constant whining about President Bush and his leadership is costing them votes, particularly when Bush
demonstrably keeps making the right choices, over their loud objections, which would have us doing exactly the wrong thing. The numbers above, suggest that the American people, as a rule, are wise to this, however much TV coverage the anti-war rioters get.

I, for one, plan to never let the left forget they stood up to be counted among those who opposed the US… the troops our President and the freedom of the Iraqi people. I hope you don’t either. But, for the rest of the world, our hearts and minds have been won by the people who have the courage to fight for what’s right.  Let us also not forget who it was who put us into this position of having to fight in
the first place:. Think back a few years, to 1992. Who was it who told us all that he had little interest in foreign policy, and was therefore better qualified to run for President? Why, Bill Clinton, of course.

With all of this said, I will make the suggestion that you offer a prayer for our servicepeople. They know better than anyone else what we’re up against. They don’t think their sacrafice a vain or idle one.

But, I hasten to add, the left does. Consider it this way: How can one claim, as the left has with some consistancy, that Mr. Bush is a war criminal, without labeling the military war criminals as well?

Perhaps that’s one more claim the left can no longer make; that they support our soldiers.