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The Pentagon reports that Muslims hate our policies, not our freedom

By Aldanatech ·
According to the Christian Science Monitor, late on the Wednesday afternoon before the Thanksgiving holiday, the US Defense Department released a report by the Defense Science Board that is highly critical of the administration's efforts in the war on terror and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies [the report says]. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.'

The Pentagon released the study after The New York Times ran a story about the report in its Wednesday editions.

The Defense Science Board, reports Disinfopedia, is "a Federal advisory committee established to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Defense."

'The current Board is authorized to consist of thirty-two members plus seven ex officio members': the chairmen of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Policy, Ballistic Missile Defense Advisory Committee, and Defense Intelligence Agency Science and Technology Advisory Committee. 'Members, whose appointed terms range from one to four years, are selected on the basis of their preeminence in the fields of science, technology and its application to military operations, research, engineering, manufacturing and acquisition process.'

China's Xinhuanet reported that the board's report criticized the US for failing in its efforts to communicate its military and diplomatic actions to the world, and the Muslim world in particular, "but no public relations campaign can save America from flawed policies." The report also takes the administration to task for talking about Islamic extremism in a way that offends many Muslims.

In stark contrast to the cold war, the United States today is not seeking to contain a threatening state empire, but rather seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western Modernity ? an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'War on Terrorism,' [the report states].

MSNBC notes that the report, in a comment that directly goes against statements made by President Bush and senior cabinet members, says the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have united otherwise-divided Muslim extremists and given terrorists organizations like Al Qaeda a boost by "raising their stature."

In fact, Wired News reported the board as saying, the US has not only failed to separate "the vast majority of nonviolent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists," but American efforts may have "achieved the opposite of what they intended."

Al Jazeera reported Thursday that the board called for the creation of a strategic communication's "apparatus" within the executive branch and "an overhaul of public diplomacy, public affairs and information dissemination efforts by the Pentagon and State Department."

If we really want to see the Muslim world as a whole [the report states], and the Arabic-speaking world in particular, move more toward our understanding of moderation and tolerance, we must reassure Muslims that this does not mean that they must submit to the American way.

As columnist Thomas Freidman of The New York Times wrote Monday in an opinion piece, the lack of planning and a 'clear channel of communication to the Muslim world' means that the US is losing the PR war to people that "saw off the heads of other Muslims."

Wars are fought for political ends. Soldiers can only do so much. And the last mile in every war is about claiming the political fruits. The bad guys in Iraq can lose every mile on every road, but if they beat America on the last mile ? because they are able to intimidate better than America is able to coordinate, protect, inform, invest and motivate ? they will win and America will lose.

The New York Times reported last Wednesday that although the board's report does not constitute official government policy, it captures "the essential themes of a debate that is now roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire United States government."


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by gralfus In reply to The Pentagon reports that ...

It doesn't help to say we are doing it wrong and not say how to do it right. It is akin to stating that doctors just need to find a cure for cancer. It is easy to say, and some researchers are making headway, but no one has a cure at this point, so the deaths continue to mount.

Most of the terrorists are willing to exploit freedom (the hijackers enjoyed strip clubs and such), but their aim is to institute a theocracy. The American Way is more than democracy, it is a fabric of underlying rights. In the Islamic countries, you may very well want to watch TV, but your fanatical neighbor has no problem dragging you into the street and stoning you to death for it. The system of law we have comes from years of civilization in England prior to our colonization. Iraq and Afghanistan are going to have a much harder time of it. Especially when the system is in constant flux.

They are used to being ruled from ancient times, not to ruling themselves. Once the ruler was toppled, they naturally gravitate to finding a new ruler, thus the constant use of brutality. (Even the Bible has some nasty details about how Nebuchadnezzar treated enemies, and how his kingdom fell to the Persians). Their whole culture is steeped in traditions and thought processes that are truly foreign to the Western mind. So rebuilding their country is going to be a nasty drawn-out affair. There is no quick solution.

Hating our policies is fine and dandy, but flying jets into our buildings is a bad way to try to change our policies. But it is distinctly middle-eastern, and shows the pattern of using force to get your way. In some ways we haven't been forceful enough for them to believe we mean business. We take a few steps and draw back, and that is a sign of weakness to them. We don't want to be dictators, but that is what they are used to. We really are in a bad place now. Even if we do get a government set up, they aren't bulletproof.

Real solutions will take involvement of their way of doing things, some change, and most of all acceptance in the hearts of the people along with a willingness to defend their new freedoms and rights. I wish I knew how to accomplish that.

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Now would be a good time to find it

by Aldanatech In reply to Solutions?

You're right. It doesn't help much to point out a mistake without finding a way to resolve it. That is why this discussion is here; to try to figure out what we can do about this issue now that it was pointed out by the Pentagon. So any relevant suggestion or comment is very much welcome.

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And the Pentagon wants 10,000 more troops in Iraq, by the way...

by Aldanatech In reply to The Pentagon reports that ...

Faced with the problem of protecting upcoming elections and securing former insurgent stronghold, the US military tells NBC it will need between 10,000 and 11,000 more troops in Iraq. NBC-TV reported Monday night that this will "temporarily" bring the total number of US forces in Iraq to 150,000. As a result many soldiers and marines who were scheduled to leave Iraq this month will have to stay longer, while other troops will be sent to Iraq earlier than scheduled.

NBC-TV also reports on the difficulties these 10,000 new troops would have in order to protect all 9000 polling places in Iraq. In an interview with USA Today on Monday, Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of US Central Command and the top solider in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that US forces are not stretched too thin around the world, and warned countries like Iran and North Korea not to think they could take advantage of the situation. But in an opinion piece for Knight Ridder, senior military correspondent Joseph Galloway says Army planners tell him that, "Army and Marine commanders already have used up most of their bag of tricks to find troops for the usual rotations to Iraq."

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Army is hard pressed to find enough officers for staff jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan and will double the length of their tours in those countries from 179 days at present to a full 12 months. Other extraordinary steps ordered or under consideration include pulling officers out of military schools or delaying entry into such programs. They could also curtail family oriented programs such as the one that allows soldiers to extend their tours at a stateside base so their children can finish their senior year in high school. The Army is struggling to fill hundreds of staff jobs for majors and lieutenant colonels in war zone headquarters and in the past month began stripping majors and lieutenant colonels from their Pentagon billets and ordering them to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday on the new kind of training that those enlisted in the Army receive, including those who are in non-combat jobs. Basically, the Times reports, the idea of a non-combat job is not longer relevant in the kind of wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the recruits, it wasn't exactly what they expected when a bus deposited them at the gate nine weeks ago. The plan for many had been to learn an Army trade, to make an important contribution and still keep a safe distance from enemy lines. Instead, before they knew it, they were learning to avoid landmines, survive an ambush and spot roadside bombs disguised as cans of Coke. 'They go from being a high school kid to a soldier on the ground in Iraq, and if they get ambushed, they have to know hand-to-hand combat,' said retired Army Gen. Randall L. Rigby, a former deputy commandant in charge of training. 'The old chestnut that only the infantry takes the blows is gone.'

One of the biggest problems the military faces, Mr. Galloway reported in his piece above, is how to keep enough soldiers in places like Fallujah in order to prevent insurgents from coming back, while still pressuring them in other places in Iraq. There is also some confusion over the number of daily attacks since US troops entered Fallujah, with interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi saying the attacks have dropped to about 50 a day, with other sources, like Galloway, saying they have doubled to more than 100 a day.

Regardless of the number of daily attacks, the number of US troops killed in Iraq in a single month is approaching the highest total since March 2003. The death of three more US soldiers who died in attacks Monday, the total for November stood at 134. The highest previous total, 135, came last April, when fighting flared in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Fallujah.

Although fighting there is less intense than earlier this month, firefights still continue in the city. An Associated Press reported Monday quoted International Red Cross officials as saying that the Iraqi Red Crescent has established a relief center in Fallujah, but "continued fighting between US-led forces and insurgents makes it impossible for doctors and nurses to move around and treat the wounded ..."

Meanwhile Mideast Online reported Monday on the difficult job the US military is having convincing Iraqi contractors to come and take part in rebuilding the almost completely destroyed Fallujah. Most contractors say they will not return until the security situation in the city improves.


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Antidote for a Simple Target

by olprof67 In reply to The Pentagon reports that ...

It is not the United states that is "seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western Modernity"; it is the natural play of market forces, and it is underway in all advancing societies, eastern and western alike. The jihadists will lose the battle because their absolutes are out of step with the most basic of human desires. The United States is simply too easily linked to the most base displays of Western culture, and thus makes an easy target.

The brightest minds in the Arab world know they have to change. Here's a link to one who's understood that ... for a long time.

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