Recently, Colin Powell intimated that one of the possible benefits of the tsunami relief efforts was that it would change the hearts of those in the world that look unfavorably on America and American values. There is a belief that our outpouring of generosity will put an end to terrorism around the world once and for all.
“What it does in the Muslim world, the rest of the world, is give an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action. America is not an anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim nation. America is a diverse society.”
US involvement and cooperation “is in the best interest of those countries and it’s in our best interest”, he said. “It dries up those pools of dissatisfaction that give rise to terrorist activities. Under such circumstances we think it’s less likely that the terrorists will find fertile ground. That supports not only our national security interests, but the national security interests of the countries involved.”
This attitude is similar to the one that is causing us the most pain in Iraq now. Planning or acting with this thought in mind; that we are trying to change the opinions of the people who hate the US. Unfortunately, as history has shown, this does no good whatsoever. Of course we should be helping those hurt by the tsunami, but not to convince potential terrorists that we are good and should be left alone, but because it needs to be done and we can afford to do it.
The problem is that we are not hated by these people because we are not generous enough, or not polite enough, etc. We are hated because of religious doctrine. Most terrorists know little if anything about the US other than what they are taught by religious instructors and government supported terrorist groups. Opinion based upon religious doctrine is much harder to alter, just look at the US society and it’s grappling with homosexuality, abortion and stem-cell research. These issues are almost un-debatable because of people’s religious beliefs.
Because of these attempts to “curry favor” as it were, we have put ourselves, and our fighting men and women, in harms way. We have not tracked down terrorist groups, such as al-Zarqawi’s, because they were hiding in mosques and we did not want to offend muslims who do not want to see these harmed in any way. As a result, we have caused more American deaths than could have occurred.
We could also have been bombing more than we have been, instead of doing as much door-to-door combat. This would have most likely saved more American lives at the expense of Iraqi’s, however this would have been unpopular to the Iraqi citizens and could have caused public sentiment to be more anti-American than it already is. In addition, the thought is that we would “change the minds of the enemy” and eliminate terrorist activities by helping them become free.
And, while they are thankful for that I believe, they are not happy in any way that we are still there. IMO, the best way to have gotten out of there would have been to use maximum force to root out the insurgents, showing progress in more decisive manners, and then left instead of meandering on as has been the course of action the past year and a half. The reality is that they would have respected, not liked, us if we had. And this is a more effective way to move from occupation to freedom for Iraq.
I’m not sure this administration is going to get it any time soon. They seem hell bent on trying to win everyone over that they are losing the war in the long run. Hopefully during the next election someone who has a political backbone will present themselves, willing to take the fight to the terrorists but being more concerned with winning instead of making friends.
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