Working hard to win those hearts and minds:
ABU HISHMA, Iraq, Dec. 6 — As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire.
In selective cases, American soldiers are demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers. They have begun imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in.
...So far, the new approach appears to be succeeding in diminishing the threat to American soldiers. But it appears to be coming at the cost of alienating many of the people the Americans are trying to win over. Abu Hishma is quiet now, but it is angry, too.
In Abu Hishma, encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only.
"If you have one of these cards, you can come and go," coaxed Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, the battalion commander whose men oversee the village, about 50 miles north of Baghdad. "If you don't have one of these cards, you can't."
The Iraqis nodded and edged their cars through the line. Over to one side, an Iraqi man named Tariq muttered in anger.
"I see no difference between us and the Palestinians," he said. "We didn't expect anything like this after Saddam fell." ...
--New York Times
There are two quotes in the article that are just appalling:
"You have to understand the Arab mind," Capt. Todd Brown, a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division, said as he stood outside the gates of Abu Hishma. "The only thing they understand is force — force, pride and saving face."
"With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," Colonel [Nathan] Sassaman [the battalion commander whose men oversee the village] said.