Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Win Hearts Not War

Some say that US policy inspires terrorists around the world. I disagree. All people desire freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. What they don’t want is apparent western materialism, secularism, and immorality; especially as depicted by American media. American media gives dictators, tyrants, and terrorist their power. Their most powerful aurgument against democracy is “Do you want your daughters to become Brittany Spears?” This is the major reason the US is called "the Great Satan."

The majority of people in Iraq, Iran and North Korea are good and honorable people with a natural sense of nationalism and love for their family, friends and neighbors. Most people from Iran or Iraq condem the actions of terrorist groups but either feel powerless to do anything about it or may even feel that the US deserves it, not necessarily because of our policies, but because they feel its the judgements of God on a wicked nation. Self-interested US policy and divisive, inflammatory language do not help. However, saying it is the root cause of terrorism is near-sighted and playing party politics.

The secret to fighting the war on terrorism is to win the hearts of the people. We have to unify all good people against those who would practice terrorism. I agree our political leaders should avoid policies and language which is inflammatory and divisive. We also must understand the nature of the conflict. This war is not a conflict of civilizations, it is a battle against civilization. Therefore we must be an example of a more civilized people.

With the good people of the earth unified on the side of civilization, when terrorist plots are formulated, people will choose to warn the innocent victims instead of standing idlely by; feeling that justice is being served. There is no better motivation than appealing to a persons sense of rightness verses injustice.

The Book of Mormon speaks about this recurring conflict against civilization in Ether 8:19-26:
"For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man. . . .And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; . . . Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain. . . Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; . . . For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, . . . Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved."

According to the Book of Mormon we need to awake and repent of our sins individually and as a nation. Then after we are an example of goodness, we can persuade (not force) our brethern to do good also and come unto Christ and be saved.

15 comments:

Curtis said...

Which hearts shall we win over? The 655,000 excess dead since the inception of the war are lost already. Can't win those hearts. The millions of people who mourn their loss are a lost cause. Kinda hard to win the hearts of those who have lost loved ones because of our invasion of Iraq. Even if many rejoiced at having Saddam removed, their joy has long since been dampened by the stench of death all around them. I suppose the 61% majority in Iraq in recent polls by the US state dept., that support attacks on US troops in Iraq, are lost as well. And the great majority who say they want US troops out sooner than later according to the same polls are probably gone as well. I don't think we will be able to win the hearts of the parents of kids who have cancer (10 times higher in some parts of Iraq since 1990, probably due to depleted uranium weapons used by the USA in the first gulf war) in Iraq, nor the parents of the 500,000 little kids killed by US driven sanctions on Iraq in the 1990's. Looks like this win the hearts thing is pretty much messed up by our actions which speak a lot louder than our vacuous promises of democracy and freedom.
The Ether 8 quote you use really applies to the US this century as we have been the ones going around taking away freedom from people all over the world as we have supported brutal dictators in oppressing their people since it is good for the pocketbooks of rich corporations to have iron-fisted rulers in poor nations. We have overthrown true democracy agains and again in places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, etc. and are currently pursuing an effort to limit democracy in Venezuela and Nicaragua and any other place where we don't like the democratically elected leader of the country or where we don't like the person leading the polls in the upcoming elections. We are the nation of 3 Nephi 16:10 which says:
10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
We need to do a whole lot more repenting than we think we do.

BRoz said...

Thank you for your comments. I agree we must first "remove the beam in our own eye." However, while actively participating in the political process; we should also be careful to "not speak evil of the ruler(s) of thy people" (Acts 23:3) and to not "steady the ark" (2 Sam. 6:6) (1Chr 13:9-10) (D&C 85:8). I find it troubling that many are so quick to call our elected leaders liars, cheats, robbers, and murderers while defending the actions of proven tyrants. The Bible gives rules about proper speech despite our countries reverence towards freedom of speech

I feel the media has misinformed us as to why we are involved in this conflict in Iraq. The story starts with the cold war and our decision to "trust" in a military buildup against the former Soviet Union and to support pro-western 3rd-world governments (read Pres. Kimball’s, “The False Gods We Worship”). Iran was always pro-Soviet while Saddam Hussein rose to power with a pretend pro-western ideology.

Through militarism, the west successfully decapitated the dragon. But as John foretells in Revelations, the wounded Hydra heals itself and spons new heads. Many conflicts, which were temporarily stabilized during the cold war, destabilized again after. Ancient conflicts in the Balkans, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan re-erupted dashing any hopes of the expected post-cold war peace dividend.

During Gulf War I, Colin Powell called off the "March to Baghdad" because Saddam was a necessary evil to maintain stability in the Middle East. Although, a cease-fire was declared in Iraq, there was no official end to Gulf War I. After the cease-fire, Saddam attacked the Kurds and Shiites, which necessitated the formation of the Northern and Southern no-fly zones and continued US military presence in Iraq. Many Iraqi’s came to the US with stories of Saddam’s plans to obtain nuclear weapons to add to his existing arsenal of biological and chemical weapons. The UN sent inspectors to account for fermentors, centrifuges and other specialized equipment sold to Iraq by the US and Europe used in WMD production. The UN inspectors’ efforts were frustrated at every turn.

The UN threatened Iraq to cooperate with UNSCOM and disclose all WMD activity or face military action and regime change. Everyone was convinced Iraq was a threat to world security (Dems. and Reps.). There have been several misrepresentations of the war by the media.
1. The war was pre-emptive. The US was enforcing international law and the consequences set forth by UN Resolution 1441.
2. Pres. Bush declared war without legislative approval. Pres. Bush didn’t need another declaration of war because there had never been a truce signed after Gulf War I. Bush could act against Iraq under authority of the original declaration of war.
3. The US acted without worldwide support. It has recently been discovered that France, Germany, and Russia, the very countries who undermined the US’s attempts to gain UN approval to enforce UN resolution 1441, had been violating the “Oil for Food Program.” These countries were not only violating UN sanctions but also were constructing underground labs and headquarters in Iraq to evade US surveillance abilities. So, it turns out France, Germany, and Russia were the ones after Iraqi oil and not Bush.
4. The US thought Saddam was connected to 911. The Bush administration has never made this claim. What they said was that in a post-911 world, we cannot allow brutal regimes, like Iraq, to maintain power while threatening the West with WMD’s. The fact that no significant WMD’s have been found is inconsequential. Iraq was a brutal, corrupt regime, they threatened the West with WMD’s, they violated international law, and the US enforced international law. Bush was criticized for not pre-emptively dealing with Bin Ladin, he would have been even more criticized for not dealing with Iraq had they made good on their threats. This is what Bush means when he says we live in a “post-911 world.” He is not saying Saddam had anything to do with 911.
5. The US is responsible for the civil war in Iraq. The Kurds, Suni’s and Shiites have been at war for hundreds of years magnified by the fact that many middle-east countries are emptying their prisons by giving inmates one-way tickets to Iraq to fight the Americans (According to my Egyptian neighbor). The Book of Mormon warns nations who allow secret combinations to overrun their country. I hope the violence ends soon.
6. The US should have addressed Iran and North Korea before Iraq. The US addressed Iraq first because we already had a declaration of war, military on the ground, UN resolutions, and failed diplomacy. A free Iraq would be strategically important in dealing with Iran. The US has not exhausted all diplomatic avenues with North Korea. The US still hopes pressure from China and UN sanctions will work with North Korea.
7. There has been no progress in Iraq. All my military friends I talk to tell me that there is a lot of progress going on in Iraq. Not to mention the successful elections of a Prime Minister, Parliament, and ratification of the Iraqi Constitution.
8. The US is a more dangerous place since the Iraq war. There hasn’t been an attack on American soil since the re-start of the war. The frontline of the war on terror is currently in Iraq. Better there than in the US.
9. The terrorists would leave us alone if we leave Iraq. The terrorists have declared war on us. They will be anywhere we are. If we are in the Balkans, they will fight us in the Balkans. If we are in Somalia, they will fight us in Somalia. We happen to be in Iraq trying to establish a representative democracy in the heart of the Middle East and so that is where the terrorist are.

Dan said...

Broz,

I find it troubling that many are so quick to call our elected leaders liars, cheats, robbers, and murderers while defending the actions of proven tyrants.

You're not winning my heart over by claiming I defend the actions of proven tyrants because I criticize Bush's actions here. The issue of winning hearts and minds is very delicate, (I'm certainly not winning over Republicans who frequent my blog). This point you make here is a straw man. No American who criticizes Bush supports or defends Saddam Hussein.

I feel the media has misinformed us as to why we are involved in this conflict in Iraq.

It is not the media that executed the war, nor the media that ordered the commanders to start the conflict. It is not the media that advocated for this conflict. Please put the blame on misinformation where it belongs: the Bush Administration. If Americans were misinformed, the blame goes on them for not informing Americans accurately.

Through militarism, the west successfully decapitated the dragon.

I'm sorry to say, but I'm rather troubled by this revisionist point that conservatives keep bringing up. No, we did not win the Cold War by military means. We never fired a shot at the Soviet Union. It was not our military that won the conflict, but rather our economy. Soft power. If we had gone to war with the Soviet Union, we would have lost, maybe not the actual military conflict, but we would have lost the hearts and minds we were winning over in the Soviet Union because we did not resort to military action against the Soviets.

Everyone was convinced Iraq was a threat to world security (Dems. and Reps.).

Not everyone. I certainly wasn't, and I've got evidence that Americans (including Clinton) wanted war with Iraq, even though there really was no need.

I'm only going to go through some of your points, but most of them are not actually factually correct.

4. The US thought Saddam was connected to 911. The Bush administration has never made this claim.

Actually the US did not think Saddam was connected to 9/11. The CIA never saw a connection, nor any other intelligence agency in America or the world. And Bush and his supporters pushed the claim that 9/11 and Saddam were one and the same. He had to. That was the only way he could get the support needed for the war. Have you seen polls showing that up to 75% of Americans thought that Saddam was behind 9/11? Why would they think that? I can also, if you like, do a Lexis-Nexis search for the past five years to show you all the times Bush has said 9/11 and Saddam in the same sentence. While never explicitly saying Saddam was behind 9/11, his intent was to muddle the two just enough so that most Americans would think there was no difference between the two.

7. There has been no progress in Iraq. All my military friends I talk to tell me that there is a lot of progress going on in Iraq. Not to mention the successful elections of a Prime Minister, Parliament, and ratification of the Iraqi Constitution.

No one doubts there has been "some" progress. But that's like saying, yeah at least I'm batting .200 and not .000 in baseball. What does it say about our "progress" if we're only winning 2 out of 10 times on issues in Iraq?

Dang, gotta get going.....i'll get to the rest later.

BRoz said...

Dan,

Thank you for your comments. I agree, when I said the US won the cold war with the Soviets through militarism, I ment through our military build up (economy). We outspent them.

About criticizing Bush. I'm not calling anyone a Saddam lover for criticizing US strategy or policies in Iraq. I recignize we need a new strategy in Iraq. My original post was ment to be a constructive contribution of ideas for such a new strategy. I do have a problem with anyone who personally attacks the president of the United States in the way similar to how Hugo Chavez did at the UN. I am sorry you took my comment personally.

I agree that the Bush Administration does a terrible job and verbalizing the issues. However, I can't trust the significance of a pole that says 75% of the population thinks Saddam was behind 911 when those same 75% can't locate the Pacific Ocean, cannot recignize a photo of Al Gore, etc. This proves we are an educationally challenged country which is vulnerable to misinformation.

When I said "everyone was convinced Iraq was a threat to world security (Dems. and Reps.)." I ment a morjority of politically important people on both sides of the isle.

Curtis said...

A very brief reply to a few of your points. First of all, thank you for your civility. I see enough of these conversations spiral into brawls and I appreciate your tone. On the other hand, there is definitely a place in a democracy to criticize government and hold them accountable.
Reply to point #1:
War was not part of 1441. As you recall there was no support at the UN for a resolution authorizing force at the last moment.
#2
Was there a declaration of war for Gulf I then? Regardless, I'm sure our Congress would have given him approval for a declaration of war at the time.
#3
You fail to point out how he was acting with the world's support. He most decidedly was not acting with the support of the vast majority of the world with huge majorities opposed to the invasion even among Iraqs neighbors including Turkey and Kuwait!
#4
Dan answered that one well enough above.
#5
Responsibility for the civil war only goes as far as we have allowed a format for the war to be fought within. Saddam, who ruled with a brutal hand, kept sectarian tensions below the surface. What we have done is to directly or indirectly be responsible for 655,000 deaths in Iraq since the inception of the war.
#6
I have nothing to say here. North Korea has legitimate beefs with the US as does Iran. There is not a single shred of evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Guess where nuclear weapons programs are found alive and well though? In Israel for one, an undeclared nuclear power. And in violation of the NPT, the USA, which has pulled out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty as well.
#7
See the front page of the NYTimes today. US Central Command has said that Iraq is less than a hair's breadth from pure chaos. Doesn't sound very good to me. The progress you mentioned is meaningless in the face of such widespread insecurity and anarchy.
#8
In the first place, there were no terrorists in Iraq until the US went there. In the second place, the threat of an attack against the US has gone up drastically since our stirring up of the hornets nest over there. That there has been no attack on our soil is true, but there have been plenty of attacks on US ally territory such as England, Spain, and Israel to name a few. To get to the US is just a matter of time.
#9
The terrorists wouldn't have a reason to exist if we left them alone. We have radicalized the middle east. People who are moderates hear of our soldier's violating muslim women in Abu Graib and an extremist is born every minute. When you say the terrorists will go anywhere we go, why don't we try staying home then? Our military would be much more useful protecting our homeland than to be abroad creating new enemies.

BRoz said...

Curtis,

I agree that our actions have contributed to the radicalization of many in the middle east. People have innate nationalism. The election of Hamas by the Palistinians is evidence. That wouldn't have happened if we weren't in Iraq. However, at the time, both the Dems. and Rep. thought Saddam was a threat. Now the Dems are playing politics with the war.

I am shocked at how many Americans consider Bush duplicitous. Look at Kerry's recent remarks. Obviously, that's how he really feels about our military. Too bad Ol' Kerry can't blame his comments on booz or ambien.

BRoz said...

Curtis and Dan,

Look, here's how I look at politics in the US. On most issues we tend to go to the extremes on one side or the other. Neocons on the Right, Radical Liberals on the Left. Each side pointing at each other's faults as proof of their rightness (logical falacy). When the majority of us are are in the middle. We love our country, families, freedom and prosperity.

So, how do we take back the goverment from the radical left and radical right. How can we address political issues with constructive ideas instead destructive criticism, personal attacks, and spin.

I think there is no such thing as constructive criticism. Critics are not builders. I welcome ideas.

Curtis said...

Right now, the country is controlled by the radical right. There is not really any good representation of the radical left out there. Kerry is definitely not that far to the left. If the country were more lefty, you'd see people like Ralph Nader or Kucinich gaining more popularity.

Criticism is good if it is done with purity of intention. The criticism we see in today's government is mostly inspired by desires for political gain and is not worth much. That is why I stay aloof from both major parties. I feel they are much the same.

You want some ideas? Ok, here's a few. For starters, let's get out of Iraq and bring our soldiers home to guard our nation. Next, let's send Condoleeza Rice to Tehran to have a discussion with Ahmadenijad and then we can resolve the current issue without speaking of "all the options." That is what diplomacy looks like in my book.
Next, lets start by cutting the defense budget in half. Stop with the new generation of tactical nuclear weapons and work toward a serious reduction in our own arsenal. Then we might start to carry the moral authority that we now lack in guiding the international community on this issue. We should also press Israel toward a nuclear weapon free middle east.
We should set up a living wage for the poor and move towards more equity in the distribution of wealth among our workers. We should stop talking about destroying social security which will be a great safety net for decades, and instead make a few tweaks in the system to keep it solvent forever. Raising the lid on the amount taxed, getting state and federal employees to pay into s.s. instead of the accounts they currently pay into etc. We should seek fair trade practices, designed to benefit the people rather than those designed to benefit huge corporations while often times hurting the people.

Just a few ideas. There are more where those came from. Feel free to criticize.

Curtis said...

Hey, you're a medical student? I'm a Pathology resident at UCSD. Where do you find the time to blog? Let it be known that path residencies do leave a little time for blogging (and family for that matter). Take care.

BRoz said...

Curtis,

I am a 2nd-year EM resident at MCG. I've been married for 7 years and have 3 kids. Im in the PICU this month. I fun a residency blog and website to fulfill a residency administrative project.

Curtis said...

Cool. EM is a great field to go into. You will be a very useful person to society. EM means, "electron microscopy" in my field though! Good luck to you.

LDS Patriot said...

Broz, thanks for the post. Your right about the epithet “The Great Satan,” made famous by Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iranian Revolution. Satan in not an imperialist. Satan is a tempter.

Islamists are sexually puritanical, to the point that dances at churches are all the evidence needed to convict the West to hell, and sufficient justification for militant jihad. Sayyid Qutb, Islamists icon, wrote in the 1950s’ of church dances, “where people of both sexes meet, mix and touch …who even go so far as to dim the lights to facilitate the fury of the dance … (T)he dance is inflamed by the notes of a gramophone (and) the dance hall becomes a whirl of heels and thighs, arms enfold hips, lips and breasts meet, and the air is full of lust.”

Sayyid Qutb writings are one of the main references for jihadists today.

http://ldspatriot.wordpress.com/

Curtis said...

Patriot,

Satan buys up corrupt armies and rules the earth with dictators, blood and horror, and you say he is not an imperialist?

BRoz said...

Satan has many names because as King Benjamin says: "I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them."

However, the Proclamation to the World on the Family says, "the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

Michael said...

Its time to pull out of this war is when bookies are starting to make Big money on how many american soldiers are dieying per day, per week, per month and how many injured including civillian casualties. Exe on september 20, 4 U.S.A k.i.a 6 injured 24 civillians killed 2 terroris dead. Now this is really imorral!!!