By Edward Bernard Glick / September 8, 2014 / American Thinker
Recent events in Israel and Gaza prove that the winning-hearts-and-minds approach to ending wars and insurrections has the same success rate as getting rain by praying for it. If it were indeed the key to victory, armies would have exchanged their weapons for public relations kits ages ago.The ancient Persians conquered the Babylonians, and the Greeks the Persians, and the Romans the Greeks, and the Turks the Byzantines, and the British the Turks not by capturing their hearts and minds, but by overwhelming them with so much might that they lost their will to fight and surrendered.
Swords, not sermons, swept Islam quickly from the Middle East to Africa and the Far East. Swords, not sermons, enabled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to rid Spain of 700 years of Moorish rule. And it was swords, not sermons, that stopped the Muslims at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
During the Revolutionary War, Great Britain’s King George III did not relinquish his American colonies because General George Washington had somehow won his mind and heart. Similarly, England’s Duke of Wellington didn’t prevail at the Battle of Waterloo because he won the heart and mind of France’s Napoleon Bonaparte.
And the South didn’t surrender and end the American Civil War because Union General Ulysses S. Grant won the hearts and minds of General Robert E. Lee and his Confederate troops.
Nor did the Allied powers vanquish the Axis powers in 1945 because their brilliant propaganda and psychological warfare tactics captured the latter’s hearts and minds. Germany and Italy surrendered because they knew in their brains and their bowels that they had been beaten by slow, sustained, and superior force, applied over a number of very bloody years.
And the Empire of Japan surrendered not because US navy captain (later admiral) Ellis Zacharias, a specialist in intelligence and psychological operations, was able to broadcast our surrender terms in fluent Japanese, but because Japan had already taken the measure of America’s atom bomb.
In 1970, Canada presented an excellent, if forgotten, example of force prevailing over hearts and minds.
French Canadian terrorist separatists had kidnapped James Cross, the British trade commissioner, and Pierre Laporte, Quebec’s minister of labor. They later murdered Laporte. Instead of trying to win their hearts and minds, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, himself a French Canadian, got Parliament to proclaim a War Measures Act and suspend Canadian civil liberties. Then he ordered Canadian troops and Mounties to search the streets of Quebec house by house. They arrested 500 people and crushed the terrorists.
The Cold War did not end in the 1980s because Voice of America broadcasts or State Department exchange programs eventually got to the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. It ended because the Kremlin leadership finally realized that President Ronald Reagan, with the backing of most of the American people, was ready to use all means, including economic strangulation and military prowess, to end communist domination of Eastern and Central Europe.
On the other hand, since the Korean War was at best a draw, and the United States did not win in Vietnam, many Americans no longer accept war as part of the human condition. Instead they seek to appease with nonmilitary approaches enemies who cannot be appeased.
Israelis have to remember when a nation does go to war, it is proper, as US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew so well, for it to sacrifice one in order to save 10, ten to save hundreds, hundreds to save thousands, and thousands to save millions-and to Hell with world public opinion.
Islam does not look kindly upon infidels who lose. Israel will prevail over its enemies only when it realizes that in order to survive it must fight by the rules of the lousy neighborhood in which it lives. Its struggles will end favorably only if it follows Churchill’s dictum: “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
I cannot remember the last time Israel’s leaders uttered the word victory. Until they do and use disproportionate force to achieve it I fear for the future of the Jewish State.
Edward Bernard Glick is a professor emeritus of political science at Temple University.