Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Brutality Doesn't Work for Long

Some war supporters want to bounce rubble in Iraq to win.

But that doesn't win the war. You can kill your way to sullen passivity in the locals, but winning hearts and minds really is the only way to win an insurgency for good.

Russia went postal on Chechens and snuffed out major resistance. But Russia has snuffed out major resistance periodically there for a century or so, I think.

And the locals are starting to recover from the beatings they received which did not, in fact, improve their morale. Nearby Ingushetia is showing signs of revolt:

In response to an escalation in attacks by insurgents, Moscow in late July sent in an additional 2,500 interior ministry troops, almost tripling the number of special forces in Ingushetia.

The escalation in violence shows that seven years after President Vladimir Putin came to power on a pledge to "wipe out" the insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus region that includes Chechnya and Ingushetia, the rebels are not beaten.

In Chechnya, attacks have grown rare, but the problems appear to have shifted next door.

Some people in Ingushetia draw parallels with Chechnya eight years ago. Then, after a lull in the fighting that had already dragged on for six years, troops were sent back in to respond to a wave of rebel attacks. That unleashed a new war.

Now in Ingushetia, reports emerge almost daily of gun battles or ambushes on police vehicles.

Our way in Iraq is producing an ally that fights alongside us against jihadi terrorists. Although it takes time, ultimately it won't take more time than the Russian method.

And a note to the nutcases out there, this is the difference between liberating a people and conquering them.