Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hearts and Minds

Last week I was teaching sources to a bunch of freshmen. I asked if they could guess why the government website would not report Iraqi casualties. One of my favorite guys spoke up, "because who cares?"

This is in the Christian Science Monitor today:

By Mark Clayton| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor/ October 14, 2008 edition

Amid rampant attacks from insurgents in 2004, some US commanders in Iraq began to shift strategy to include fixing environmental problems like clogged sewer lines, growing trash piles, and polluted drinking water.

That green-warrior approach to winning “hearts and minds” seemed to help. Attacks fell dramatically in Baghdad neighborhoods when troops restored clean water. “Fence sitters” in the conflict sided with US forces.

Yet despite several such successes and a strong environmental ethic on bases in the United States, US Army commanders typically overlook environmental concerns in plans for operations overseas, says a new RAND Corporation study.

When I started following all this I was in college -- I was in college, and we were in a war -- and we went in to a whole country and we bombed the hell out of it. The word then was that there were no casualties -- it was a clean war. We systematically bonmbed the entire country's infrastructure. There were 100,000 casualties within the year.

God help us if anyone believes we are looking out for the Iraqi environment.
We set refineries on fire.
We bombed their pipelines.

Hearts and minds and everything else...
Environmental ethics my ass.

No comments: