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12/03/2006

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bg

I think there is another dimension to this, not everything is done "politically" for domestic politics. When the administration refuses to admit defeat or even negative progress to the American press, the administration understands that the target audience is not just the American people, but instead they may be the Iraqi people we are trying to support, or the very people we are trying to defeat. Isn't it possible that much of what is said in Washington is said in order to not appear weak to our enemies?

Sure, the argument can be made that our enemies don't believe anything we say anyway, but I can tell you this for sure. If we show weakness (which to the Arab mind is defined as anything other than steadfast, emotional determination and hyperbole) that weakness will be exploited, that weakness will embolden further actions. It is a little harder for our enemies to exploit active denial.

I am not making excuses for anyone to be in denial of what is really going on in Iraq, but I hope that perhaps I am offering another perspective as to why our leaders sometimes say the things that they say. You always have to ask, who is the real target of the rhetoric?

FYI, many Iraqis that I know do not believe their country is in civil war. Their leaders are not declaring it a civil war, so why should we? How would President Bush calling it a a civil war improve the situation? It could only have a negative effect. It is a simple risk vs. reward argument, there is zero upside to call it a civil war, and considerable potential downside for calling it a civil war.

Denial. Sure, at least publicly.
Political. Definitely. As we know, counterinsurgency is a political war, so why should politics not be involved? But I don't think we can assume just domestic politics and denial to deflect bad sentiment. There is a much bigger picture.

elementaryhistoryteacher

I appreciate your comments and I believe you are correct. Unfortunately many people in Iraq don't feel about freedom the way we do....they've never really experienced it. In their way of thinking their priorities are God, tribe, and family in that order. The idea of country loyalty is very far down on the list.

Skyler

If we show weakness (which to the Arab mind is defined as anything other than steadfast, emotional determination and hyperbole) that weakness will be exploited, that weakness will embolden further actions. It is a little harder for our enemies to exploit active denial.

First of all, this idea that Arabs only understand strength is just racism. It stems from "The Arab Mind" a long-discredited academic book from the 60's the US military uses. Arabs are humans.

Secondly, they exploit active denial just fine. They laugh at us and call us stupid and liars.

subadei

"In their way of thinking their priorities are God, tribe, and family in that order."

I think the current prelude to civil war in the Palestinian territory demonstrates this rather clearly. While the PA uses, technically, a democratic vehicle to foment their government the social failings (no stabil middle class, mass unemployment, disparate loyalties) have effectively dismantled any democratic headway and led, instead, to near civil war. This despite the very real presence (and aggression from) a common enemy (Israel) is demonstrative of the ineffectiveness of "democracy" in a society with no established social strata to support such.

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