TAMED BY THE EMPIRE; 200 Years of Bloody Colonial Struggle Taught Us How to Win the Hearts and Minds of the People We Conquered. If Only the Americans Could Do the Same

By James, Lawrence | Daily Mail (London), April 5, 2003 | Go to article overview

TAMED BY THE EMPIRE; 200 Years of Bloody Colonial Struggle Taught Us How to Win the Hearts and Minds of the People We Conquered. If Only the Americans Could Do the Same


James, Lawrence, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: LAWRENCE JAMES

LAWRENCE of Arabia once warned that the 'foreigner and Christian is not a popular person' anywhere in the Middle East. Nevertheless, he believed that historical suspicions could be overcome by tact, humour, patience and a sensitivity towards local culture.

Above all, said Lawrence, it was essential to preserve the self-respect and dignity of the Arabs: 'Go easy just for the first few weeks. A bad start is difficult to atone for, and the Arabs form their judgments on externals that we ignore.' It was good practical advice from the best source and, as we have seen this week, it is being followed to the letter by British servicemen in southern Iraq.

Royal Marines made a conscious decision to undertake foot patrols wearing berets instead of helmets in the port of Umm Qasr. In Zubayr in the south of the country, the Marines have been playing football against a local team.

They are distributing water and ration packs and helping local doctors, while support troops work to restore water and electricity supplies.

And it is evident that, after some early setbacks, this approach is beginning to generate confidence, respect and even affection among the Iraqis.

T.E. Lawrence's words were the embodiment of British imperial wisdom: without the goodwill of those you had to govern, there would be nothing but trouble.

This wisdom, however, appears unknown in Washington. From U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld downwards, the Americans are becoming increasingly highhanded. Nerves may be fraught and tempers shortening, but Bush's liberators are beginning to sound and act like conquerors.

There have been reports that U.S. troops in Umm Qasr sprayed the words 'Assassins' and 'This is for the NYPD' on their tanks and armoured vehicles in the initial battle for the vital port.

And the picture this week of a U.S. serviceman with the words 'Born to Kill' emblazoned on his helmet was the bleakest indicator yet of the attitude of Americans in this war - an attitude they may well have cause to regret in the long term.

THE extraordinary differences in outlook and approach between U.S. and British forces that have manifested themselves this week have their roots in their very different military histories.

From the mid- 18th to the mid- 20th century, imperial Britain fought wars to enlarge and defend its empire.

Like the present conflict in Iraq, these campaigns were hybrid affairs. On one hand, they were wars of territorial conquest and, on the other, a prelude to emancipation.

For the defeated, peace would mean enlightened, openhanded imperial government which gave its subjects the chance to prosper in safety.

At the same time, they were invited to step into the modern world; after the army came roads, railways, medical services and schools.

America, on the other hand, has fought very few wars of this nature. Its military tradition may be seen in the monuments at the centre of Concord, Massachusetts, where the War of Independence began. There are memorials to the men who died resisting George III's redcoats, the hundreds who died saving the Union during the Civil War, the handful who fell seizing Spain's colonies in 1898 and the far greater numbers who died in two world wars.

Revealingly, there is no memorial to the local men who died in the intermittent campaigns against the Plains Indians. Throughout the 19th century, the U.S. Army expelled them from their lands, herded them into reservations and sometimes massacred them.

Generals such as Custer cleared the ground for settlers in imperial wars for land and power. They did so pitilessly ('the only good injun is a dead one') and their cruelties were glamourised by Hollywood.

Critics of Bush and his administration have detected a 'cowboy-and-Indian' approach to the Middle East with its crude characterisation of 'good' and 'bad' guys. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

TAMED BY THE EMPIRE; 200 Years of Bloody Colonial Struggle Taught Us How to Win the Hearts and Minds of the People We Conquered. If Only the Americans Could Do the Same
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.