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Thread: Anoying a hostle population

  1. #1 Anoying a hostle population 
    Time Lord
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    Montagu and Darling wrote of Mussolini:
    "
    Mussolini may have done many brutal and tyrannical things; he may have destroyed human freedom in Italy; he may have murdered and tortured citizens whose only crime was to oppose Mussolini; but ‘one had to admit’ one thing about the Dictator: he ‘made the trains run on time.’"

    Now there is some historical debate as to whether the trains really ran on time, or were just painted that way by some very persuasive propaganda, but it makes the point that a government's ability to prevent a minor annoyance can affect people's attitude toward it more than they care about its overall political direction.

    It reminds me of how you break a wild horse. My father, who actually used to do this tells me that it's just about persistently staying on its back long enough. You don't beat it cruelly or try to scare it. You just sit there and impose yourself until it gets tired of resisting you.

    In a place like Afghanistan, there really aren't a lot of trains, but it seems like there would still be a lot of ways we could annoy or harass the population in areas that are still loyal to the Taliban (or some other form of leadership), making it clear that the harassment stops when they join us. The trick is to choose something that is not life threatening, or life changing, or religiously offensive, but just bothersome. Something mild enough that one doesn't really feel the desire to kill over it, but frustrating enough that it affects the quality of life.

    The part is: mild annoyances are not human rights violations.


    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    For example: closing major travel ways at odd times, and justifying it by saying the enemy in the region keeps using this travel way to smuggle rocket launchers through.

    Jimbob the Afghan farmer sets out to attend his cousin's wedding in a village a few miles from his, gets two days into the journey, and runs into an American roadblock, and told he has to turn around and go back. Did we kill him? No. Did we threaten him with bodily harm? Not unless he intends to run the barricade. Is he really really really mad? Yes. Is her murderously mad? Probably not.

    Will he blame us, or the local insurgents? I don't know, but local insurgents are the ones he can express his frustration toward, if only indirectly, by telling everyone how mad he was about missing his cousin's wedding, and wanting them to do something about it. .... of course there's not much they can do. The distant threat of death (at least people will convince themselves it is distant, and "won't happen to them") doesn't do nearly as much to motivate discontent as when the trains stop running. Anyway, discontent is what motivates people to become impatient for a war to end. They'll start wanting to take more direct action rather than sit back and plant roadside bombs all day, and that is a good thing. The enemy's principle advantage is patience.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Bellerophon's Avatar
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    Yeah...

    You might want to ask the Israeli how that strategy is working for them in Gaza...
    “All this science I don't understand. It's just my job, five days a week.” -RocketMan

    "Sometimes an ashtray is the only way to get a point across" -Thomas Kuhn (not really, but close) via O'Connor
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellerophon
    Yeah...

    You might want to ask the Israeli how that strategy is working for them in Gaza...
    He's not suggesting we do anything as brutal as bulldozing homes.

    In Iraq we did some of what he suggested. We'd close a road, bridge or market area for example after it became clear it was being used to transport explosives; we'd use a bulldozer to clear a used car lot set up a city street after warning the owners of the business that we needed to clear the road; we'd imposed strict hours for fishing or boat traffic along the major waterways in Southern Iraq to deny the enemy access for moving people and armaments.

    If not done carefully and for clear reasons circulated in every tea shop and village elder it can make things worse.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman Bellerophon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    If not done carefully and for clear reasons circulated in every tea shop and village elder it can make things worse.
    I guess that's the difference between imposing order and harassment.
    “All this science I don't understand. It's just my job, five days a week.” -RocketMan

    "Sometimes an ashtray is the only way to get a point across" -Thomas Kuhn (not really, but close) via O'Connor
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  7. #6  
    Time Lord
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    I definitely had this concept backwards. Lynn Fox seems to have rescued it from my silliness. He' right. It's about making ourselves seen as the ones who are trying to make the trains run on time, and casting the terrorists as the great annoyance that keeps forcing us to close roads, always explaining our reasons clearly. It sounds like the military has been doing a very good job at that for some time.


    I think local people will never voice a serious grievance over the Taliban killing people. It's too much of an affront on their honor to admit that it concerns them. It's like admitting cowardice. They'd rather sound really cavalier about it, but admitting to being annoyed over some trifling matter doesn't make you sound weak.

    There's kind of an example in this book preview Finger linked to me on another thread: The Osama Bin Laden I Know On page 323, where Mir talks about what was wrong with the Taliban leadership, the "for instance" he gives is:




    I had one friend who was stopped at the Kabul airport with a bottle of shaving lotion and it was taken off him by the Taliban. He asked "Why are you taking my shaving lotion?" They said "Because you don't shave." He was going out of the country. He wasn't coming into the country.
    I'm reading that and thinking: Honestly? That's the peoples' biggest objection? The worst "for instance" of Taliban brutality that comes to mind? Or.....maybe it's just the worst thing they feel free to discuss.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    " harass the population "
    Good idea. When a war criminal scumbag empire posing as scoundrelous con-artist self-proclaimed liberators invades and occupies land halfway across the planet, what you want is piss off the population that has lived there for generations even more. Afterall these people are living the good life in the opulence of their mudhuts, unlike the poor CEOs of Haliburton or Cheney with his eleveth mansion or weapon manufacurers shareholders who really need those millions to make ends meet, these Afghan people should be oppressed just a little more, thats whats needed, add a little insult to injury, killing civilians every other week just isnt enough what you want is to annoy the man whose family was killed by a predator drone or covert assassins, that will do the trick, he'll be throwing roses at the self-proclaimed liberators in no time I'm sure.

    (I kind of feel sorry when I hear americans being raped by Wall Street the way other people have been for over a century and flailed alive by the though love of reactionary basket-cases, but when I read militarist comments and justifications for the War Racket it makes me wonder. Its like hearing Nazis complain about something when they invade Poland and stick to the justification story, it takes a bit of extra effort to feel sorry)
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  9. #8  
    Time Lord
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    Actually I am kind of coming from the perspective of trying to learn from some of the Nazi's mistakes. Hitler always had a doctrine of punishing 10 of the citizens of an occupied area for every one of his men who came to harm. It was severe, and..... worst of all... it didn't even work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardeatine_massacre
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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