WILL IT BE OVER IN A FEW MONTHS?: WEIGHING THE COSTS OF HEARTS AND MINDS VERSUS BLOOD AND GUTS

Open Access
Author:
Edwards, Nicholas B
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Douglas William Lemke, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • counter-insurgency
  • insurgency
  • state building
  • naiton building
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
Abstract:
The American strategy in Iraq and the Soviet strategy in Afghanistan both attempted to accomplish state making missions in countries with active enemy insurgencies. Both efforts hinged on separating the insurgency from their base of support in the population. The United States was able to do this in Iraq by providing security, infrastructure and other basic goods to the population thus lowering the population’s incentive to support the insurgents. The Soviets attempted to separate the mujahedeen from their support through terror tactics targeted at civilians. Yet, the Soviet strategy actually increased the support for the mujahedeen groups once an influx of foreign aid strengthened the mujahedeen’s position militarily. While both strategies would have eventually worked, the American strategy for winning the hearts and minds had much lower cost than a strategy of in which terror is used to suppress the population.