Hearts and Minds?

Cheney Was Right - Page 2 - The Daily Beast: "When people in countries like Yemen and Nigeria see America and its allies as a force for progress and dignity and al Qaeda as a force for misery and oppression, America will win the struggle against al Qaeda where it won the struggle against the USSR: on the battlefield of hearts and minds."

Carl Bildt points out in his blog that extremism has lost out in afflicted countries but that the problem of the extremists remains. Peter Beinart compares the war against terrorism, his article claims that we are back in this business, is like the cold war. I'm not sure he is right about this. There are no hearts and minds to win among the fundamentalist extremists, unfortunately. Does it not rather look like we are having a problem with a certain fraction of the world population that it is very difficult to get rid of. Calling this a war is very unfortunate. Isn't it just a level of criminality that we have to adjust for.

Peter Beinart points out in his article that the problem with military fight attempting to solve this problem is that it kills civilians. Such activities creates more problem than they solve. It is why I am very wary about the continued effort in Afghanistan--it escalates every year so far.

The head of the German 25m Protestants, Bishop Margot Kässmann, claims the war in Afghanistan cannot be justified. She has many Germans behind her but has also come under fire from senior politicians lately, who claim Germany is in Afghanistan on a UN mission. The article in Spiegel Online does not give her justification but I would be surprised if it not fairly in line with my own. A person interviewed in the radio in Sweden from the Swedish Afghan Committee, an aid organization, meant that his colleagues did not become targets in Afghanistan until they were escorted by military personnel.

Beinart wants to win his war by leveraging America's greatest assets its economic, diplomatic and ideological. Wrong again, according to my mind. Extremists could not care less and afflicted governments might be more impressed by China's way of doing business these days. However, leaving this people alone would probably lower the risk of getting terrorists on your ground. It will diminish the arguments the extremists have against their respective governments. It was local forces that made the difference in Iraq.

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