So if that was to be the case there was only one way to do the job: Round everyone up, send them to reeducation camps, and free them on a strictly limited basis over a lengthy span of time. Malefactors wouldn’t need to be rounded up, because everyone would already be corralled together. We merely wouldn’t ever release them. And we’d do it as humanely as possible rather than hire low-rent trash who’d sexually humiliate our war prisoners while their friends photographed it.
Given use of our ample indoctrination methods such as subliminal television programming and psy-ops techniques, one scarcely need use physical torture. The slave who doesn’t know he’s a slave is the most loyal of them all.
The first thing unloaded from Navy amphibians those years ago should not have been anti-mine gear but television antennae. Get the fanatics sitting on the divan, and they’ll forget all about Dervishing their way through a column of troops. Eventually most of the populace could have their thinking reordered for them. Certainly we could have picked up some trollop off the street and transformed her into the next Middle Eastern Snooki.
My colleagues were incredulous. Why, the public would never stand for such an outrageous policy.
I agreed. I had not said what we could do, merely what we should do to be successful. War is a despicable business, but if engaged it must be won.
Quickly the conversation moved away from my incendiary suggestion. In politics there are realities which cannot be spoken even in private. Some topics are off the table even in the backroom.
As it is, we didn’t do any of those things. No detention camps, no mass indoctrination, no nothing. Nothing but bombing, big and small. And all that did was leave several types of holes.
What do we have now in either Afghanistan or Iraq? A few new “embassies” waiting to be bombed. A few hundred thousand of our own people with severe psychological trauma and trained to use high-powered artillery. A few million more enemies than when we arrived.
The whole thing is cracking at the seams as the troops begin to crack themselves. Who can blame them? I deplore the killing of 16 allegedly innocent people. But I’ve read of massive “collateral damage” that makes 16 seem insignificant. I’ve seen reliable reports of intentional slaughter with trophy-taking. That’s by us, the “good guys.”
I wonder at the stresses of the common soldier on his third or fourth tour, his home being foreclosed upon, friends killed before his eyes, and in the midst of a throng of natives for whom he has risked his life but who scream at him that he’s a murderer. Perhaps such soldiers think to themselves, “So I am sacrificing everything to help you, and I’m still a ‘murderer’? As I have nothing left to lose, perhaps I’ll show you how a real murderer behaves.” Unlike most, I won’t judge him for what aloof politicians forced upon his psyche.
We’ve wasted over ten years trying to give higher principles of governance to people who can’t even read. They largely have no idea why we are there. Their lifestyle, despite its electricity and other accoutrements, is a prehistoric one. Half-measures were never going to work with them.
We ought to have avoided the entire swath of backward people, or we ought to have gone all in to dominate them and used soft-authoritarian measures to pacify them into submission. We did neither.
Americans are now bored from these wars with nothing to show for them. Had we been willing to go Boering from the very beginning we might have spent that money and time on creating something worthwhile. Or at least something compliant and innocuous.
Such a merciless proposal may seem ridiculous. But far more ludicrous is the path we wound up pursuing.
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