Marc Estrin: Hearts and Minds : A Valentine’s Day Love Offensive

Israeli school children are shown writing messages on shells meant for targets in Lebanon. The incident took place July 17, 2006, near the northern Israeli border. The messages reportedly included hearts, a star of David, and the words “From Israel with Love.” Photo from AFP.

Hearts and flowers, hearts and minds:
Valentine’s Day love offensive

By Marc Estrin / The Rag Blog / February 14, 2010

Today is February 14th, so let me wish you a happy Firebombing of Dresden Day… whoops, no, I meant to say Valentine’s Day, and I hope you all have sent your sweeties messages that will win over their hearts and minds.

That’s what this lovely young Israeli girl is doing for her Lebanese friends. “From Israel with love,” she is writing. That’s what Gen. Stanley McChrystal is currently doing in Marjah as you read. His 15,000 troops have blocked off all roads so that no messages will get lost, and pre-valentines have been dropped instructing the population not to try leaving.

The idea behind this largest love-offensive in a decade is to win the hearts and minds of the local Afghanis, so that the Taliban can be replaced with democratic leaders sent in from Kabul. Even Hallmark couldn’t match that.

And speaking of Dresden, I’m sure many of you have read Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse Five. If not, grab a copy right away. You won’t forget it. It’s a riot.

But even Kurt — who was there — didn’t really understand why all those people were getting burned and suffocated to death. An excellent article backgrounding the affair appeared recently on the Global Research website.

It seems there was almost no military necessity for this enormous operation by February, 1945. Rather, the barbarous wiping out of the population was directed at our allies, the Soviets, to warn them not to get too uppity with their post-war victor claims. The Russkis needed to witness the application of this kind of air-strike by the US and Britain which could just as easily be turned on them.

Six months later, the US alone would put on a similar show at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The cover story would be the same — we need to do this to end the war — like the massive final blasting at our own fireworks displays. But the real story (victims aside) was to intimidate our Soviet friends with our love-power and solidarity.

Hearts and flowers, hearts and minds. May our beloveds beware.

[Marc Estrin is a writer and activist, living in Burlington, Vermont. His novels, Insect Dreams, The Half Life of Gregor Samsa, The Education of Arnold Hitler, Golem Song, and The Lamentations of Julius Marantz have won critical acclaim. His memoir, Rehearsing With Gods: Photographs and Essays on the Bread & Puppet Theater (with Ron Simon, photographer) won a 2004 theater book of the year award. He is currently working on a novel about the dead Tchaikovsky.]

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1 Response to Marc Estrin: Hearts and Minds : A Valentine’s Day Love Offensive

  1. RogerB says:

    This Guardian article describes the near impossibility having anything positive come out of our latest military efforts in Afghanistan:

    “Another hyped-up push in Afghanistan

    Operation Moshtarak is more a battle against time than against the Taliban, and risks displacing the problems facing allied forces..”

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