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View Diary: Fear Really IS the Mind-Killer. Look at How Everyone Around Here is Freaking! (107 comments)

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  •  fear keeps you on your toes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Infected Zebra, DeadHead, orestes1963

    Even the military doesn't try to render soldiers incapable of fear, because they know that'll instead make soldiers and officers take stupid risks or just get careless.  You have to master fear - to keep it from making you freeze or run - but you cannot delude yourself into thinking there's no threat and that you can do what you want without having to fight for it and pay a price.

    War Nerd has written about this many times.  Very long story shot, we thought Afghanistan was going to be the hard war - that the Taliban was going to do to us what they did to the Soviets in the 80s - so we went in prepared for that.  Even if we ended up with a self-fulfilling prophecy and created an unreliable or hostile population by treating them as hostile, the fact remains that Afghanistan rarely made the news precisely because there was always comparatively little bad stuff happening there.  There was little or no "nation-building" nonsense about how much the Pashtuns want office jobs and Starbucks (they don't); just a straightforward search-and-destroy mission. Our fear didn't stop us from going in, but it did make us smart.

    Conversely, we went into Iraq thinking that was going to be the easy war.  Gulf War I showed us how pathetic (in terms of equipment and training as well as morale) the Iraqi Army really was, especially considering that flat desert terrain (versus Afghanistan's mountains) is ideal for air warfare.  Furthermore we convinced ourselves that everybody and their mother hated Saddam and wanted him gone, and that once he was gone, freedom would ring because that's what freedom does.  Our lack of fear made us stupid, and we ended up not only getting our asses kicked by - surprise, surprise - people who were actually loyal and willing to fight and die, but we also ended up turning the whole country upside-down and inside-out because despite all the "nation building" rhetoric, we really didn't think we had to do that, because once the oppression was gone, civil society would break out like it was the most natural thing in the world.

    Politics is the same way.  If you go in expecting your enemy to be insane and/or pathetic and that of course the people are on your side and are just waiting for you to show up with an alternative, you're going to fail, if only because you didn't really try.  If you go in expecting a brutal fight against a tough and motivated opponent who really believes the shit that comes out his mouth, with the people either on his side to begin with or who are just going to pick the side they think is stronger, you're far more likely to succeed.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 12:44:26 PM PST

    •  The difference.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Visceral, rsmpdx, Wordsinthewind

      There's an important different between rational decisions shaped by concerns stemming from fear, and being overwhelmed by fear.

      •  Exactly, which is why I don't understand where (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you're coming from with this diary.

        I asked you upthread, in so many words, where you're getting this idea that people are "overwhelmed by fear."

        It certainly can't be coming from this website, as your title seems to imply that it is.

        So, can you be more specific about what prompted this diary?

        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

        by DeadHead on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 03:24:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's simple, really (0+ / 0-)

          Just reading the comments in innumerable other diaries gives me a defeatist vibe. Just like after that first debate last year. Such defeatist attitudes MUST be shed. They've plagued the Democrat side for FAR TOO MANY years. GOPhers always peacock about as if they're 100% in the right, and those who oppose them can't afford to look concillatory.

          •  I see. (0+ / 0-)

            Nothing specific then, just some nameless comments you choose to recall in order to support the narrative put forth in your diary.

            As I suspected.

            Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

            by DeadHead on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 05:30:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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