Winning Their Hearts and Minds With Home Invasions

by James Glaser
November 18, 2003

In the United States it is said that a man's home is his castle. If the police want to come search your home, they must have, not only a good reason, but also a court order signed by a judge. Well, that was true before President Bush came to office, now with the PATRIOT Act, all bets are off and now Washington and government police have the free rein to search anything they want.

In Iraq, the country we are bringing "freedom" to, American forces are kicking down castle doors every night. Homes are invaded in this new land of the free much like they were under Saddam Hussein. Different troops, same tactics.

Think about how you would feel if foreign soldiers broke down your door in the middle of the night. Foreign troops that can't even speak your language. If you are the man of the house or even an male teenager, they slam you to the floor, put your hands behind your back, and cuff you. You must lay there while the women in your home are searched by young soldiers. Pissed? You bet! Well that is what we are doing to many homes in Iraq every night.

I don't know the reason why, but even up here in Northern Minnesota I know that putting your boot on an Iraqi man's head or body is a major taboo. On the nightly news I have seen our troops standing there with their boot on the neck of some man, hands cuffed behind his back, on the floor in front of his family. Like I said, I don't know why they have this taboo, but if you want to totally humiliate a man in Iraq, you do just what that soldier was doing. In front of his family makes it worse

I have been in the same situation as our troops in Iraq are in. In Vietnam we were an occupying force in a foreign country. I was young, scared, and angry, just like our troops are in Iraq. We destroyed people's houses, we humiliated men in front of their loved ones, heck we killed over a million civilians, We did every rotten thing you can think of to the Vietnamese all in the name of winning hearts and minds. It didn't work there and these same tactics will not work in Iraq.

Washington and the Pentagon will talk on and on about all the good our troops are doing for the Iraqi people. I buy none of that. Our troops are highly skilled and highly trained killers. These killers are losing friends every day now. American troops are pissed, they want to come home, but they are torn by the loyalty they feel for the others in their unit. That is what it has gotten down too in Iraq. Your platoon or maybe only your squad against the world.

Don't be too surprised that I call out troops killers, because that is what we train them to do. Yes, we do have troops that work in civil affairs, that are trained to work with the civilian population of the country we have attacked, but they are in the minority in Iraq. Most of the troops there are the same ones that fought their way to Baghdad. These are the best combat troops in our Army. Trained for killing, not for winning hearts and minds.

Monday, at a Baghdad gun market an Iraqi tested a weapon by firing it in the air, probably a common practice before we attacked, but a dumb thing to do now. American Soldiers heard the firing and opened up killing three, including an eleven year old boy. That is what they are trained to do. Shoot first, ask questions after. You start losing friends and the safety comes off while on patrol. Your training tells you to react, don't sit there and try and figure out what is going on, let your training take over.

Every "raghead" in Iraq is the enemy. They are killing your friends so you are going to show each and everyone of them, who is the boss. Our generals have this same attitude now and you can listen to them on the news talking about this very thing.

"The 4th Infantry Division and Task Force Iron Horse has launched a series of combined arms operations to include air and ground strikes against identified targets," a statement from U.S. Central Command said, "along with precision raids against non compliant groups and individuals focused on neutralizing paramilitary, former regime loyalists, foreign fighters and other extremist and subversive elements."

This operation has the catchy name of, "Operation Ivy Cyclone." What do you think "neutralizing" these elements means? Who are the non compliant groups and individuals? Couldn't that mean everybody? Our intelligence has been horrendous all through this war, so who is going to finger the people we attack? Could our informants be doing it for money or revenge? Maybe one tribe is informing on another. How many totally innocent people will we neutralize?

In a U.S. Central Command report it was said that, "Strikes in Ad Dwar, a town north of Tikrit, destroyed several buildings, including several homes of those believed to be involved in the November 7 downing of a U.S. Helicopter."

I think you look like the kind of guy that would shoot down one of our helicopters, so I am going to destroy your home. Yes that is the kind of rule of law and freedom we are bringing to Iraq. Heck that is what Saddam did, why should America be any different?

Every time we make a mistake and every time we humiliate someone in front of their loved ones, we are making an enemy for life.

Young American Soldiers and Marines can be the cruelest, meanest, thugs you ever imagined kicking down your door. Washington will bull shit the American public into believing that everything we do is above board. Americans wear the "white hats," we are the good guys, but let me tell you, every young American in Iraq is now slipping down into Hell.

The more troops we lose, the more hate we will be showing to the Iraqis. This goes both ways. The more Iraqis we kill, maim, humiliate, the more houses we destroy, the more our troops will be attacked.

You can kick a scared dog until it is almost dead, but no matter how scared it is nor how big you are, it will reach a point that it will jump up and bite you. Iraq is starting to bite us.

The Iraqi people are the same as every one else in this world, they want some basic respect and we are doing everything we can to stop them from getting any. Saddam treated his people like shit and now we are doing the same. We had best walk away now, before we run away, like in Vietnam. We are not going to win this one because the amount of hate on both sides is now too strong. Having over a hundred and some thousand trained killers trying to win hearts and minds does not work. We should know better.

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