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Shocking revelations

> The essential problem with checkpoints is that ... the Iraqis don't know what the Americans want them to do.

Is there no mass media controlled and/or authored by the occupying forces??

Something like a full-page ad in the newspapers, and propaganda^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M^M public service advertisements on television: to educate Iraqis on topics such as "what to do when you see an American soldier" (and countless other topics related to their well-being).
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 7th, 2005
Didn't they used to drop leaflets from bombers telling Iraqis what to do when they saw an American fighter jet or tank?

I'm guessing that maybe they HAVE done some PR about checkpoints, and the Iraqis don't trust it. Who knows?
Permalink muppet 
March 7th, 2005
Wow, that is scary -- and it rings true, also.
Permalink AllanL5 
March 7th, 2005
IMHO, those are both wrong answers.

Why don't we set up the checkpoints so they conform with local expectations? Instead of the double checkpoint (which has to be wholly maddening in a civilian community), work towards single checkpoints that are well signed (in arabic) and manned by Iraqis. US forces can be in a backup or supervisory position where necessary.

If people don't understand the system, changing the *people* is generally a flawed approach.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
March 7th, 2005
I've more or less said the same thing in the other thread.

I split my time betwen the country that spawned Al-Qaeeda and the country that is home to the terrorist group that has carried out the most suicide bombings in the world, and I've never worried about been shot at the hundreds of checkpoints I've gone through.The only explanation I can think of is that the American command doesn't really give a shit if lots of innocent people get shot.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 7th, 2005
Ah, Steven, of COURSE they care. Soldiers don't want to kill anybody unless there's a good reason. War is about taking and holding territory, not killing people. People only get killed when one side or both mis-calculates. And in the "peace" we have now, you REALLY don't want to kill anybody if you want to keep the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

On the other hand, you don't want to be the yahoo who let the car with the explosives get too close to the checkpoint, either.

You see this stuff in the military because either the feedback loop has been broken (no General knows the situation is this bad) or there's political issues that can't be resolved any other way. I agree it seems to make little sense to have both Iraqi and US checkpoints within yards of each other.

But you shouldn't think either side doesn't care. First of all it isn't true, and second of all that kind of bitterness makes it really hard to find workable solutions.
Permalink AllanL5 
March 7th, 2005
Modern military conditioning apparently requires "desensitization."

"That's the reality of the battlefield. Only a small percentage of soldiers are able and willing to participate. Men are willing to die, they're willing to give themselves as a sacrificial offering for their nation, but they're not willing to kill. It's a phenomenal insight into human nature, but when the military became aware of that, they systematically went about the process of trying to fix this 'problem.' From the military perspective a fifteen percent firing rate among riflemen is like a fifteen percent literacy rate among librarians. And fix it the military did. By the Korean War around 55 percent of the soldiers were willing to fire to kill. And by Vietnam the rate rose to over 90 percent."
http://www.tvp.org/video_games.html
http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/article.asp?id=325

So quite literally, we train soldiers to not care. Modern technology. This is why negligent politicians create grave consequences.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 7th, 2005
FWIW this thread is a continuation of this one:

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?off.9.89058.32

We still don't know whether the roadblock was two guys leaning against a parked truck, one stage, two stage, signed, unsigned, double-signed or full on Hollywood with zigzagged black and whites.

As I said earlier the driver obviously did not see the roadblock. The roadblock was ineffective. The troops setting up the roadblock failed to create an effective roadblock so should be deemed insufficiently trained in the difference between a roadblock and an ambush. Comes from using "weekend warriors" as police.

SNAFU.
Permalink trollop 
March 7th, 2005
I think this cartoon sums it up rather well.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/stevebell/0,7371,1432862,00.html
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 8th, 2005
> War is about taking and holding territory, not killing people. People only get killed when one side or both mis-calculates

Heh. At first I thought it was irony, but I'm not sure... War always involve killing people, to say otherwise is just hypocrisy - the whole idea of war is to solve a problem by using enough brute force, destruction and killing to make the other yield. I find it disturbing and dangerous that some people seem to think that a war is something "clean", surgical, without bloodshed...
Permalink devil's advocate 
March 9th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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