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Part neighborhood police officers, part social workers, the soldiers managed to practice in Iraq what the Netherlands has come to call the Dutch approach to patrolling. Scarred by national shame over the Dutch peacekeepers who proved powerless to stop Bosnian Serbs from rolling into the UN enclave of Srebrenica in 1995 and killing thousands of Muslims, the Dutch have nonetheless managed to keep a soft touch, honed in Afghanistan and now on display in this small town on the Euphrates.
Instead of armored vehicles, the Dutch drive vehicles that leave them exposed to the people around them. To encourage interaction with residents, they go bare-headed and are forbidden to wear mirror sunglasses. Making soldiers accessible and vulnerable to their surroundings increases their security, they contend. Making them inaccessible decreases it.
If you read indistinguishably neo-con writers like Michael Totten you understand that the Dutch's
"recent experience with metastasizing violence on the Balkan peninsula knocked the ideological struts out from beneath its conflict resolution system. It can't function with warmongering dictators in its midst, nor can it handle thugs on it borders."
That's why the Dutch are being routinely blown to bits at the hands of resentful locals. The rest of it seems to insist on similar non-correlations to reality to make some sort of case about the "post-historic", whatever the hell that is.
Just another case in point: if Totten bothered to check with the polls most Europeans oppose Turkey's EU membership not out of "fear ... based on demographic trends [that] Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century" but because Turkey would simultaneously be the most populous and poorest country in the EU, the fear is of mass immigration's effect on the job market (40%), see the recent French poll, in which 63% support Turkey's entry given economic and political reforms, not the religious conversion that would be necessary here if Totten was endorsing reality. The last EU-wide poll was two years ago, and found somewhat less opposition generally but similar sentiments. It's Totten and his East-West clash of civillizations ilk, if anybody, that seem to fear the spread of Islam in general, hence the false dichotomy that "the world can't be walled off. West can push into the East. And the East can push back" - getting along isn't an option, force isn't so much implied as insisted upon. This is what we call "war mongering".
:: posted by buermann @ 2004-10-26 06:04:53 CST |