Musing a bit over Iraq and other areas of conflict. Sadly most of these are Islam vrs. anyone and the conflicted areas grow apace.
A newscast from Iraq displayed an older woman dressed in severe black (hmmm, isn't it HOT there?) who said the government, actually the government that hasn't quite begun yet, she said that the government wasn't protecting people and so she didn't see any reason to support the new government. Chairman Mao said that this is exactly what the people would believe when a few dedicated people kept "pinpricking" the population and showing that the government could not stop atrocities from the "opposition."
Chairman Mao clearly understood the technique of oppressing a large population with a small group of highly dedicated people. Not just killers. He used teachers, brought food, supplied medical care, aided the very population that had been damaged and deprived by his group with the "other hand" and by this method took over the country with the largest population in the world and kept it under control using harsh and violent methods, applied rapidly and expansively. Hamas has learned this method and applied it with great success.
The technique worked in Viet Nam. The small group of "Charlie" working to unite with North Viet Nam and institute communist-style government were able to "pinprick" the population and force them to support communist unification or suffer and even die. Since the government couldn't (and none can) put a soldier with each family (and even that wouldn't have worked), the population was, and always will be, at risk and readily available to a fringe of dedicated opposition willing to pay the ultimate price to discredit the current government.
Where does that leave the Iraq situation? In a never-ending fight that cannot be won by any conventional means or by any means so far attempted by a government under such "Chairman Mao-style" pressure.
It is not possible to "win the hearts and minds" of the opposition (in this case, radical Islamists). It was not possible to win over and change the idealism of Chairman Mao's dedicated "freedom" fighters. It is not possible to "bring them in" to take part in the existing government any more than it would have been possible to bring the dedicated fighters of "Charley" in Viet Nam into the existing, U.S. supported government of the time. It's just mixing fire and gasoline and expecting no explosion; won't work. It's not possible to incorporate the dedicated, radical, "I'll die first," fighters for radical Islam into any government that has any hint of democracy in it. It's not possible for the population of Iraq to support any democratic government so long as the radical Islamists are able to "pinprick" the population. It's not possible to stop the ability of the radical Islamists to continue to "pinprick" the population.
Basic services to the population of Iraq cannot be made secure or, in some cases, even made available. The actions of the radical Islamists easily break the electrical, water, and communications network at will. This can happen in any country. Our electrical network is readily available and visible. How simple to disrupt such a system. Ours is disrupted several times each year from ordinary thunderstorms or the occasional hurricane. Farther north, the winter storms disrupt the electrical service all too commonly. Imagine what a few dedicated "freedom" fighters could do. In Iraq, it is even easier to get such a job done and the population quickly has learned that no one can keep their needed electric, water, communication, transportation, and so on services going. Only getting the radical Islamists to stop will work.
Under what condidtions will the radical Islamists stop the attacks on the population? The same condidtions outlined by Chairman Mao; total victory. In order for the population to get the attacks to stop, they must support the radical Islamists as the new government. After some time of these attacks and attacks and attacks, supporting the radical Islamists and their restrictive style of Islamic governance will seem the lesser of two evils.
Under what condidtion can the present government and the U.S. gain a level of security against the radical Islamic guerrilla dedicated fighters? Probably cannot be done. It would require some equally radical and dedicated method staffed by equally dedicated, ready to die for the cause, people. Possibly a new "invasion" by about a half a million dedicated "peace" fighters carrying food, water, tools, and the willing spirit to work WITH every Iraqi family and swarm over all the service connections to fix the electric, sanitation, and so on. These peace fighters would need to be ready to die and they would, in great numbers. The world would need to be ready to sacrifice another half million of our burgeoning population for peace and send unarmed and unprotected, dedicated people to their doom over and over until the radical Islamists simply wear down or get old and a bit more mellow. Other than that method, I suppose the radical Islamists could be reduced greatly in numbers by using Chairman Mao's methods of absolute brutality and not worrying about "collateral damage." All of the "inbetween" methods will probably fail. By "inbetween" I mean any method other than total brutal force and total brutal peace. Every other method seems doomed before begun.
Well, it's difficult to sort out the ups and downs of such highly charged political, social, religious, and so on, situations. Only by invoking some historical vision, some realistic appreciation, and looking without rose-colored glasses can we begin to see the truth. How far back in history to you want to go to see truth? How many Mongols did it take to conquer most of Asia and much of Europe? How large was the population these few dedicated Mongols controlled? How many Vandals invaded and conquered Rome? How large was the population of Rome at the time? Keep looking and come to your own conclusions, I did.