Wednesday, July 02, 2008

How to Win the Iraq War

I found this article to be interesting. It’s cool to hear some positive stories about what’s happening in Iraq, first of all. But it’s also cool to hear about the story behind those positive stories. I mean, I like that violence is down. But I also like that traffic and commerce and interaction is up. I also like to read about what’s causing it.

It’s pretty easy to simply say that the troop surge is taking hold. Yeah, us! Go, Team! But there’s more to it than just that. As I read the article and saw the list of things that the forces are supposed to be doing, I smiled.

  • "Serve the population: give them respect: gain their support."
  • "Live among the people: you can't commute to this fight."
  • "Walk: stop by, don't drive by: patrol on foot and engage the population."
  • "Promote reconciliation: we cannot kill our way out of this endeavour."

I’ve heard these things before. Sure, with different words, and different specifics, but the same sentiment and approach. Where was it that I heard these things? From my mission president, twenty years ago, in Honduras.

Could it be we were doing something right way back then?

Mark Hansen


  1. Your link doesn't work.

    There's very little good news that comes out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Good news doesn't bleed enough for the press. Michael Yon's online magazine: is great for the straight scoop from Iraq. He's spent a lot of time in one of my old stomping grounds in Mosul and knows what he is talking about.

    A lot of this fight will be won through "hearts and minds", certainly. But it isn't easy, and it's far from safe. When you leave the vehicle and walk the streets people tend to shoot at you. But it may be worth it.

    As I prepare to depart to Afghanistan, I'd like to think that there will be more interest back home by people who don't have a personal investment (spouse, son or daughter) in the war, but alas, I don't anticipate this being the case. The war will not only be won (if we are allowed to win it) by the above "hearts and minds", but also from support back home. Unfortunately, most people "back home" don't really know we are at war. Oh, some have a "I Support The Troops" magnet on their car, but that's about it.

    As the handwritten sign in a US military facility in Ramadi, Iraq read, “America is not at war. The Marine Corps is at war; America is at the mall.”

  2. It's true that we are way too complacent. In the minds of most people, it's very distant.

    I wonder if groups like are getting involved in the mirco-loans and grants, too.

    I'll be praying for you in Afganistan, too.

  3. hhhmmm.. interesting points you posted here, mark. i think this simply proves that the gospel is the answer for all the problems we have.



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