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February 18, 2015

“Hearts and minds” – from the Bible to Vietnam to the Middle East…


THE FAMOUS BIBLICAL QUOTE:

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” 
      
St. Paul 
       A famous line from his
Epistle to the Philippians, c. 62 A.D.  
       This Biblical verse from Philippians 4:7 helped popularize two famous phrases: “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” and “hearts and minds.”


JOHN ADAMS’ REVOLUTIONARY WAR QUOTE:

“The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations...This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”  
       John Adams 
       Second President of the United States
       From a letter he wrote to Hezekiah Niles, February 13, 1818


LBJ’S VIETNAM WAR QUOTE:

“We must be ready to fight in Vietnam, but the ultimate victory will depend upon the hearts and the minds of the people who actually live out there.” 
     
Lyndon Baines Johnson
       36th President of the United States
       His famous (and infamous) “Hearts and Minds” speech (May 4, 1965)


THE GREEN BERETS’ VIETNAM WAR COUNTERQUOTE:

“If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” 
       U.S. Green Berets
slogan during the Vietnam War

 


AN IRAQ WAR VARIATION:

“What have you done to win Iraqi hearts and minds today?.” 
       Headline on posters that US General David Petraeus ordered to be posted in American military facilities in Iraq in 2003. The line reflected policies in the “Counterinsurgency Manual” he wrote,
which were supposed to help to gain Iraqi support for the continued US presence in their country and to reduce attacks on US troops by “insurgents.”
     
    


AN AFGHANISTAN WAR VARIATION:

“[General] Petraeus’s counterinsurgency manual, with all its talk of winning hearts and minds, is pure Vietnam.” 
      
Jonathan Schell (1924-2014)        
       American columnist and author
 
       In
a 2009 commentary in The Nation about the “counterinsurgency” policies created by Gen. Petraeus, which were then being applied in Afghanistan.     


PRESIDENT OBAMA’S QUOTE ABOUT ISLAMIC EXTREMISM:

“We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem…Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds.”
       Barack Obama
       44th President of the United States
       In an op-ed he wrote about the recent wave of killings by Islamic extremists, fist published in the L.A. Times on February 17, 2015


A RESPONSE TO OBAMA'S QUOTE:

“Anytime I see the ‘win their hearts and minds’ as the key driver of our warfare strategy I know we’re screwed.” 
       Reader comment posted on a PoliticalHotwire.com thread titled
“Obama administration solution to stop ISIS...get them jobs!”


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