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Thread: Internment Camps (Changed from Concentration Camps)

  1. #1 Internment Camps (Changed from Concentration Camps) 
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    People keep saying that the only way we're going to win in a war like the kind we're fighting is if we're willing to commit genocide. And I'm wondering if maybe instead of killing everybody, we should just arrest them, and move them to internment camps (I originally said "concentration" camps) for the balance of the war. It seems to me that any political objective that can be obtained by killing large numbers of people can be equally obtained by detaining them indefinitely. It's not technically genocide.

    Unlike the Germans in WWII, I'm pretty sure we'd be able to feed everybody, so there wouldn't be a lot of deaths, just massive amounts of inconvenience for the villagers who get us mad at them. A Taliban representative tells the villagers "We'll kill you if you talk to the Americans." They can come back and say "Yeah, but the Americans will come and detain us all if we talk to you." How powerful is the Taliban's fear factor then?


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  3. #2 Re: Concentration Camps 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    People keep saying that the only way we're going to win in a war like the kind we're fighting is if we're willing to commit genocide.
    What kind of hateful narrow minded dumbass keeps saying that? It's plainly false. This is a battle of ideas, not of body count.


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  4. #3 Re: Concentration Camps 
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    [quote="inow"]
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    It's plainly false. This is a battle of ideas, not of body count.
    Exactly.

    There's also the impression that "A Taliban representative tells the villagers "We'll kill you if you talk to the Americans." The Taliban use the carrot as well as the stick to fight in that battle of ideas--it's not JUST fear and intimidation that allows them continued support by many of the Afghan people.
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  5. #4 Re: Concentration Camps 
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    [quote="Lynx_Fox"]
    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    It's plainly false. This is a battle of ideas, not of body count.
    Exactly.

    There's also the impression that "A Taliban representative tells the villagers "We'll kill you if you talk to the Americans." The Taliban use the carrot as well as the stick to fight in that battle of ideas--it's not JUST fear and intimidation that allows them continued support by many of the Afghan people.
    Very true. They do both sides. If nothing else, they offer the people order and structure, and a sense of unity. You can't get that without both sides of the stick. I think the US military already does a reasonably good job on the positive side, sending doctors into their villages to treat illness, food drops, giving them things like radios to listen to. Where we fail is that we treat everyone with kid gloves when the time comes for us to be punitive.

    You can't unite people without the punitive side of the stick. There has to be a penalty for anyone doesn't join in the group effort, not just a reward for those who do. The primary factor that's going to motivate individual villagers to decide to follow one group over another is the "everybody's doing it" factor. It's just like when teenagers say that to their parents. No matter what the rewards are, people won't follow us if they feel like they're going to be the only ones. If we say "follow us, or we'll detain you", and then start detaining whole villages who don't follow us, then the whole group is either giving in, or fighting with one accord. Giving in is only shameful if a single individual does it, while the rest of the group holds to its principles. That one person feels they've lost status, or face, with their peers. Surviving torture at Guantanimo without giving up any intel is serious bragging rights.... for an individual. But, not for a group.


    With a whole village in custody, you don't even need torture, just inconvenience will break their collective will. All it took for the Nazis to pacify the German public in WWII was to make sure the trains ran on time. That's how petty the mindset of a group is. Tell a whole village that their lives are now on hold, and will remain on hold until the war is over, and they'll start becoming increasingly interested in seeing it end. (Even with all their material needs fully met, they won't want their children to grow up there, knowing nothing of the outside world except what they read in books, and learning literacy in schools run by infidels.)
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  6. #5  
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    You can't unite people without the punitive side of the stick.
    There's a lot of history of counter insurgency that says otherwise, particularly when it comes to the entire population. There's just as much history that shows punitive measures often turn the population against the one perpetrating the violence (or inconvenience).

    You Nazi example is really poor. They weren't fighting an insurgency and they came into power by mass popularity for a variety of reasons far more involved than keeping the trains on time.

    Collecting people up is usually associated with ethnic cleaning, which is against international laws for good reason.
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  7. #6  
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    You Fools, we are fighting an idealogy namely Islam. How do you defeat that??
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    You Fools, we are fighting an idealogy namely Islam. How do you defeat that??
    To be fair, when you get right down to the core, what we are actually fighting is poverty and a lack of education. It's just that this poverty and lack of education often expresses itself as radical forms of Islam. Above, however, you seem to be talking about symptoms, not cause. Islam is not the cause of these problems, no matter how much you may have been led to believe nor how much you wish it so.

    Now, don't get me wrong... I'm a person who tends to find all religious practice equally stupid and delusional, but as a point of accuracy the problem being described here is not something which will change by "defeating Islam."
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    You can't unite people without the punitive side of the stick.
    There's a lot of history of counter insurgency that says otherwise, particularly when it comes to the entire population. There's just as much history that shows punitive measures often turn the population against the one perpetrating the violence (or inconvenience).
    Complimenting and reinforcing the history you mention are psychology and sociology.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    You can't unite people without the punitive side of the stick.
    There's a lot of history of counter insurgency that says otherwise, particularly when it comes to the entire population. There's just as much history that shows punitive measures often turn the population against the one perpetrating the violence (or inconvenience).
    The trick is to do both equally well. When the mafia wants to own a public official they offer them both a bribe and a threat.

    The Romans brutally suppressed a lot of uprisings, but they also built roads and other public works projects that made them seem like decent rulers to a lot of the common people. They appealed to the practical inclinations of the people, because knew they couldn't appeal to the cultural. Every society's cultural inclination is toward self rule.

    We need to take a lesson from them. Nobody is ever going to see us as the "good guy" in Afghanistan. Ever. Period. It doesn't matter what we do. The only side of their brains we're ever going to get influence over is the practical side. Just like the Romans, an outsider can never be loved, only tolerated. We need to get to the point of being tolerated.
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  11. #10  
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    It's nasty, and it does work.

    2004, Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah, Iraq. This was the Sunni "City of Mosques", population ~400,000 prior to the operation.

    It was determined that insurgent support ran so deep in this city, it would have to be cleared, house-to-house, each and every individual processed with extreme prejudice. A cordon was put around the city, and occupants ordered to evacuate... however males aged 15-55 were denied exit. These were suspected insurgents, trying to escape. They were told to remain in their homes during the attack. A refugee city grew outside Fallujah, housing women, children, and the elderly essentially in chain-link cages, camp-style. These people submitted to biometric identification, with matching ID tag they would wear at all times.

    Meanwhile, the operation to clear every remnant of insurgency from the sealed city proceeded under media blackout. All persons remaining inside were officially deemed loyal to the insurgency. There were reports of overwhelming air support, incendiary weapons, house-by-house "mopping up" and continual movement of bulldozers. When the operation ended, 1,052 persons had been detained, the remaining population... unaccounted for. Fallujah was empty. A fifth of the buildings had been levelled, a half or two-thirds showed obvious structural damage; however the streets had been flushed clean by fire hose. Women, children, and elderly were gradually allowed to return to their homes a month later, on condition that they wear ID tags at all times. Checkpoints and curfews maintained order in and around the city for some time afterwards.

    Nasty, and it worked. The returning residents have been remarkably passive. Human nature's funny isn't it? At some point they start kissing your hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Nasty, and it worked. The returning residents have been remarkably passive. Human nature's funny isn't it? At some point they start kissing your hand.
    It was nasty. It did clean things up...though..killing or capturing around less than 1% of the population is telling of how a small active group can shape our action. Of course there was probably wide scale support of more a passive nature, people housing insurgents, feeding them etc.

    The returning residents have Not "remarkably passive"...it rapidly returned to being, and continues to be, a problem area though at lower levels because the Sunni are more to our way of thinking than that of the Al Quida across all of Iraq etc.

    I've been all over Iraq--there isn't anyone kissing our hands--unless you're holding a bag of gold or personally saved one of their lives.
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    For god's sake snap out of it already, there's no war on terror, its all fabricated and hyped to justify invading countries for resources and geostrategic reasons (and war profiteering) :?

    OBL was a CIA asset, islamic extremists were fostered, funded and armed by the US, Saddam was your man, even when he had gassed the kurds, the Taliban met to negociate at the Unocal and State Department,
    its all bullhit :P
    The Taliban said they'd hand over OBL if the US provided proof, which is what any self repsecting country would do if another country asked for deportation of someone, sure just show me the case

    please snap out of the Islam paranoia and War on terror delusion, Iraq had ZERO WMDs, ZERO links with 911, ZERO links with OBL, but had OIL, an Israeli-next-target-mark and traded in petro-EURO!
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    A cordon was put around the city, and occupants ordered to evacuate... however males aged 15-55 were denied exit. These were suspected insurgents, trying to escape. They were told to remain in their homes during the attack.
    (...)
    When the operation ended, 1,052 persons had been detained, the remaining population... unaccounted for. Fallujah was empty.
    Males aged 15-22 would have been something like a third of the total population. Are you saying almost all of them were killed? Sounds very, very.... familiar.

    Lynx_Fox, why are you saying 1% ?
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    A cordon was put around the city, and occupants ordered to evacuate... however males aged 15-55 were denied exit. These were suspected insurgents, trying to escape. They were told to remain in their homes during the attack.
    (...)
    When the operation ended, 1,052 persons had been detained, the remaining population... unaccounted for. Fallujah was empty.
    Males aged 15-22 would have been something like a third of the total population. Are you saying almost all of them were killed? Sounds very, very.... familiar.

    Lynx_Fox, why are you saying 1% ?
    I'm betting we simply didn't try and count the non-detainees, or round them up or anything. That can make it kind of sound like they're missing, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they died. The women and children exiting prior to the attack would have been counted, and of course we would count our prisoners, but the remaining males 15-55 were probably huddling in their basements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski

    Lynx_Fox, why are you saying 1% ?
    There were more than 400,000 residents when we went in. We killed or detained a tiny fraction of that.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    A cordon was put around the city, and occupants ordered to evacuate... however males aged 15-55 were denied exit. These were suspected insurgents, trying to escape. They were told to remain in their homes during the attack.
    (...)
    When the operation ended, 1,052 persons had been detained, the remaining population... unaccounted for. Fallujah was empty.
    Males aged 15-22 would have been something like a third of the total population. Are you saying almost all of them were killed? Sounds very, very.... familiar.

    Lynx_Fox, why are you saying 1% ?
    Maybe we shouldn't talk about this just now. Really the entire thread should be dropped.
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  18. #17  
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    Let's bring it back on track, then.


    I should have used the term "Internment Camp" instead of "Concentration Camp", since concentration camps are often used as a way of killing off all the residents, instead of just containing them. (I've decided to go ahead and make that edit to the thread).


    I'm thinking of something like what the USA did to its Japanese residents during WWII. We round up all the people in a village or town that is hostile to us, and put them in a quarantine of sorts, for the balance of the war.

    Ideally, the camp would be walled in, so no one can leave, and nothing would be made available to the residents that could conceivably be used to make a bomb or weapon. They'd be well fed, well cared for medically, and their children would have the option to attend some kind of school in their language. They would probably have to wear clothes that we provide to them, just to ensure that nothing gets smuggled in.
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    To what end?

    While it might be sometimes necessary under the most extreme situations, displacing people from their homes, schools, families and tribes etc is a recipe for continuing hatred. Even in Fallujah, after the battle, we were smart enough to let people resume their normal lives and get on with raising their kids, trying to feed there family, attending their traditional Mosque etc. That's far better than the expensive alternative of feeding and housing idle families who lost everything and are just waiting for an opportunity to seek revenge for their miserable lives.
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  20. #19  
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    Its quite amazing to see people justify concentration camps (and label them internment camp) I've seen it all
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    To what end?

    While it might be sometimes necessary under the most extreme situations, displacing people from their homes, schools, families and tribes etc is a recipe for continuing hatred. Even in Fallujah, after the battle, we were smart enough to let people resume their normal lives and get on with raising their kids, trying to feed there family, attending their traditional Mosque etc. That's far better than the expensive alternative of feeding and housing idle families who lost everything and are just waiting for an opportunity to seek revenge for their miserable lives.
    It would be a form of punishment/intimidation. Civilians who take sides aren't really acting as civilians, but they're not armed either, so we can't just go killing them. This seems like a non-lethal alternative.

    The Taliban often threatens people with death if they deal with us. This would be our answer to that. We counter the threat of death with the threat of internment. They're still stuck between a rock and hard place, but that's better than having them stuck between a rock and a soft place (where we're the soft place).

    At some point, something will have to give. Either the Taliban will become more brutal than they already are, in order to try and out-intimidate us (which would likely cause a backlash against them), or they'll have to back off and refrain from enforcing the threats they've already been making, which would make them look weak.
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  22. #21  
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    This general idea was employed by the US and Canada during world war II to round up people of Asian decent. The scars and backwash of that segment of history are still being felt today...
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    This general idea was employed by the US and Canada during world war II to round up people of Asian decent. The scars and backwash of that segment of history are still being felt today...
    True, but in that case we were doing it to our own citizens within our own territory. I'm not sure the same expectations of civility exist in Afghanistan. They're certainly not "our own" people.

    One thing I've been considering is: how much of a difference would the conditions we offer them within the camps make? If we provided them with good housing and food, as well as better medical care than they've ever had in their life, would that help to mitigate some of the backlash? On the downside, the whole experience would still be humiliating, and their lives are effectively on hold/disrupted.

    If we set up schools for their children inside the camps, that seems like something that could go either way. Either they'd be angry at the prospect of seeing their children "indoctrinated" by American ideology, or glad that their children are learning to read. I don't know which would happen. I also don't know which language the school should be in. Pashto and Dari are the official languages, but if we taught them Arabic they could read the Koran (which might be seen as a nice gesture?) Somehow I doubt they'd be happy with us if we taught them English, though having a bunch of English speaking children would certainly help with the occupation.
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    This is way out of perspective. NGOs and NATO have enough trouble supplying blankets to all the IDPs.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum
    This general idea was employed by the US and Canada during world war II to round up people of Asian decent. The scars and backwash of that segment of history are still being felt today...
    True, but in that case we were doing it to our own citizens within our own territory. I'm not sure the same expectations of civility exist in Afghanistan. They're certainly not "our own" people.

    One thing I've been considering is: how much of a difference would the conditions we offer them within the camps make? If we provided them with good housing and food, as well as better medical care than they've ever had in their life, would that help to mitigate some of the backlash? On the downside, the whole experience would still be humiliating, and their lives are effectively on hold/disrupted.

    If we set up schools for their children inside the camps, that seems like something that could go either way. Either they'd be angry at the prospect of seeing their children "indoctrinated" by American ideology, or glad that their children are learning to read. I don't know which would happen. I also don't know which language the school should be in. Pashto and Dari are the official languages, but if we taught them Arabic they could read the Koran (which might be seen as a nice gesture?) Somehow I doubt they'd be happy with us if we taught them English, though having a bunch of English speaking children would certainly help with the occupation.
    Would you willingly leave your home if told you are being"relocated" by an opposing force? What happens after is not going to matter as the occupiers will be the bad guys no matter what is offered supplied to those imprisoned.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum

    Would you willingly leave your home if told you are being"relocated" by an opposing force? What happens after is not going to matter as the occupiers will be the bad guys no matter what is offered supplied to those imprisoned.
    At the core, the question isn't whether they'll like it. The question is whether there will be backlash, and most importantly whether the outside world will allow it diplomatically.

    Whenever we relocated a village, it would be intended as punishment. The goal is for them not to like it, but also to not be doing them any real harm. When a parent makes a disobedient child stand in a corner, they're not trying to harm them. They're just trying to get a point across. I think the closer we are able to emulate that social dynamic, the more credible we will be as a government.
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    It certainly made Sadam credible, since what you describe is what he did on a massive scale with Kurds and marsh Arabs.

    There's is almost always backlash from the moved peoples who now are pissed, are a drain on your economy and a constant source of potential crime and insurgency as they just try to get back their lands and life.

    Your postings offer no solutions just a narrow focused, short term and one-dimensional view of how the world works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    It certainly made Sadam credible, since what you describe is what he did on a massive scale with Kurds and marsh Arabs.
    I think his attempts were meant as permanent relocation, and a deliberate attempt to rob of the resources on their original lands. I doubt he supplied them with any food or supplies in their new location. He probably left them destitute.


    Your postings offer no solutions just a narrow focused, short term and one-dimensional view of how the world works.
    Mine is the Machiavellian view. I've actually been reading his book lately "The Prince".

    Here's an exerpt from chapter 3, which seems to support my view on blow back.

    Settlements do not cost much, and the prince can found them and maintain them at little or no personal expense. He injures only those from whom he takes land and houses to give to the new inhabitants, and these victims form a tiny minority, and can never do any harm since they remain poor and scattered. All others are left undisturbed, and so should stay quiet, and as well as this they are frightened to do wrong lest what happened to the dispossessed should happen to them.
    (bold added)

    Skipping a few lines:

    And here it is to be noted that men must be either pampered or crushed, because they can get revenge for small injuries but not for grievous ones. So any injury a prince does a man should be of such kind that there is no fear of revenge.
    Clearly Machiavelli is talking about starting new settlements composed of our own people, not interning the denizens of the conquered country, but the rest of what he says should apply directly. The people we relocate to the camps are not in any position to retaliate, no matter how badly they want to, and if you believe Machiavelli, the neighboring villages will not choose to retaliate. So: zero blow back. Nothing.

    I think your view is the one that is one-dimensional. You're assuming a lot of cultural traits in common between Afghan society and West European society. If you put one city of Americans in an internment camp, you're putting all Americans in an internment camp. Every American will feel the insult equally. Afghans are not united in that way. They're very tribal. Villages are just as likely to see each other as rivals, as close friends. Inter-village raiding is still an acceptable practice over there.

    It's the children who are left destitute after all these wars who grow up hateful. Children growing up in an internment camp would be well fed and cared for, even educated. The children would remember the experience very differently than the adults, so long as we do a good job on the logistics end, of making sure there's plenty of good food and the housing is well heated.
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    Read about the Operation Vistula. Another time, another continent, another bloody insurgency, same ruthless arbitrary deportation, same suffering of the innocent. May or may not have been necessary, but I am sure not proud of it as a Pole.

    Sure was effective in that its results will never be undone. Note this phrase in particular:
    The remaining expellees were resettled over a wide area (...) were they were not to constitute more than 10 percent of the population in any one location.
    You can imagine the effects a generation later, when children had grown up in Polish-speaking communities, gone to Polish schools, and often married Polish spouses.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Mine is the Machiavellian view. I've actually been reading his book lately "The Prince".
    LOL It intrigues me how one with a plainly good heart can also be a misanthrope.


    ***

    Few notes about Marsh Arabs and Kurds.

    The marshes drained had been something like the Sherwood Forest of Iraq, to put it romantically. There was also suspicion that Iranian agents supported outlaw activities based from there.

    As for Kurds: before, during, and after the Iran-Iraq war Kurds were used extensively by both sides, within both countries, as proxy fighters, saboteurs, political agitators. There were dozens of clandestine radio stations declaring free Kurdish homeland here, there, another place. Some militant/mercenary groups managed to get on the payroll of multiple secret services, including CIA in a few fiascos. That is understandably intolerable to a sovereign state. The Ba'ath party made clear their fight was with separatist towns (i.e. flying the Kurdish or Iranian flag), not Iraqi Kurds, and did grant Northern Iraq autonomy... after referendum IIRC.

    So Saddam acted more by political and legal necessity than a nazi-esque genocidal motive. After the Branch Davidians declared sovereign state in USA, we don't call the government response anti-Christian.
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  31. #30  
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    Oh, you can win a war

    How can you win a peace?????

    Call fireman after there is a fire. What if you prepare for unnecessary fire?
    Maybe never play fire in your bedroom?
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Read about the Operation Vistula. Another time, another continent, another bloody insurgency, same ruthless arbitrary deportation, same suffering of the innocent. May or may not have been necessary, but I am sure not proud of it as a Pole.
    I think it's important to be clear that the USA is in a very different situation economically than the Polish government was at that time. It's unlikely that the deportations would be seriously brutal, or involve any shortages of food. The US military doesn't have any trouble supplying basic necessities to its soldiers. It wouldn't be any more difficult to supply interned civilians. If there is one thing the USA never runs short on, it is food.

    I also doubt they'd be beaten or anything like that, since their status is still basically a civilian status. Worst case, some people suspected of terrorism would be removed from the group and deported to Guantanimo.



    Sure was effective in that its results will never be undone. Note this phrase in particular:
    The remaining expellees were resettled over a wide area (...) were they were not to constitute more than 10 percent of the population in any one location.
    You can imagine the effects a generation later, when children had grown up in Polish-speaking communities, gone to Polish schools, and often married Polish spouses.
    This is quite a concern. I'm starting to think that you are right that it would be naive of me to think that we could just send them back to their villages after the war is all over. If the war lasts enough years, there would be marriages, and then there's the problem of squatters moving into their village while they're away.

    One advantage, however, is that the people in the camps, and anyone who cares about those people, would have quite an incentive to want the war to end as quickly as possible for their sakes. That takes the advantage of patience away from the Taliban. Just as the American people experience war tiredness, so also the Afghan people would start experiencing war tiredness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    This is way out of perspective. NGOs and NATO have enough trouble supplying blankets to all the IDPs.
    I think the USA is very different from Nato as a whole in this respect. Usually a task like supplying blankets is subcontracted out to a private corporation. If the military doesn't buy enough of their product, they send lobbyists to congress to cry bloody murder over it. Congresspeople fearing for their jobs then call the military, and by the end of the month, the facility would probably have thousands and thousands of blankets laying around unused.

    It's only massive budget things, like getting good body armor to the soldiers, things so expensive they could actually break the budget, that get neglected in things run by the US government.. Why do you think we have such a massive deficit?
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  33. #32  
    Time Lord
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    At the core, I just think it's more humane to round people up and cart them off to a safe place, where they'll be unhappy, but not uncomfortable, rather than engage in gunfights outside their villages and have them getting shot and killed. Or, having them get caught talking with a US soldier and then find their corpse a week later after Taliban agents have caught up with them and decided to execute them.

    Putting them in a camp takes them from being caught between a rock and hard place, and puts them in a cage with lots of soft pillows inside.
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  34. #33  
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    ....Wow. You know, I've been looking at this all wrong. Why not just make internment an option instead? Tell them the whole village will get proper nutrition, decent medical care, and basic education for their children for as long as they stay there (I'm sure we can deliver fully on those promises), but the whole village must agree to all go together, or nobody can go.


    It would be a convenient way to cut off enemy supply lines. If I'm not mistaken, they get most of their food from collecting tribute from local farmers. If we think a village is the primary food source of a local illegal militia, then we can just walk in and make them an offer. If we eliminate/move the village, we eliminate the food source. What are the odds they'd refuse?


    ....Accordingly I am starting a new thread to discuss this. "Benevolent Scorched Earth"
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