The fight for hearts & minds

I remember that phrase coming up a lot over the past few years as the media discussed the conflict in Iraq, but what did it really mean, and what does it mean today ?
We all know who the real victims of the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, to save our own hides from the percieved and real threats from overseas terrorism, we sacrificed the populations of other countries. We exported the war, and the real victims are the generations who are too young to understand, fight or object; children.

That fact hits home again this month as another bombing in Sadr City shatters the lives of thousands of people.
The photo that really made me pay attention is one of the school that was targeted:
(Photo courtesy of the linked Washington Post gallery above, number 4)

Bombing Education

The young people in these countries are suffering not just pain and fear in the here and now, but thier futures are being ripped to shreds when schools become debris piles.
I don’t know who is responsible or what faction is inflicting this on who, but its like these people want to keep thier country in the dark ages, that is the only possible motivation I can see. You don’t get an occupying force to simply leave when you start bombing courts and schools, all that is going to do is lengthen any kind of conflict.
Its almost as if this act was a direct response to President Obama’s statement on Afghanistan; as if to say, wait a minute, before you can call Afghanistan the important war and say you’ll be pulling out of Iraq, we’ll go ahead and remind you this war is going to continue for a very long time.
Its going to continue longer than anybody, even terrorists and politicians realize, because its been going on longer than any of them realize. The generations that grow up in war will hesitate less to turn to conflict when thier lives are threatend, or their freedom encroached upon; bomb the schools today and reap a tide of dissafected youth unable to find work who will turn to militant extremism faster than you can send more troops.
These wars are here to stay as long as we let terrorism into the hearts and minds of these children.

I firmly believe that these wars are fought over the power of the future of the country (or other darker motivations, oil, opium etc… but thats a whole other post) and that future is its youth. Is one way to win a war to completely steal the impressionable generations away ?
Many may rail against spending money overseas when our country is barely recovering from economic trouble, but it must be the price we pay for exporting our wars for our own security; we must build a stable country for these youth to grow up in, that means rebuilding the schools and more.
The ideal situation would be to physically remove many hundreds of thousands of sensitive age groups and relocate them to the US where they could be integrated. Of course that is a fantasy, but one which would seem fitting remuneration for starting a war which has ripped apart thier native land.

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