What does Greg Mortenson mean when he says the war on terrorism is a battle of "hearts and minds"?  

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fernholz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Greg Mortenson says the war on terrorism is a battle of "hearts and minds" he means we need to use both to stop terrorism. He has gone out to ask children, "How many of you have talked in great detail to your elders about depression or the civil war?" He said about 10% of hands went up, but when he asked in Afghanistan about 90% of hands went up. If we are not educated about our history we will keep making the same mistakes (mind).

Greg Mortenson started "Pennies for Peace" targeting women and children in Afghanistan. The pennies help fund schools in Afghanistan (heart). By educating people they can care for themselves and help each other. There are less deaths and people are much happier. The villagers are truly grateful for the school in Korphe. They even take their shoes off and walk 2 hours to get to school.

By helping others and becoming educated about issues affecting other countries, we can help eliminate terrorism. Those being educated will have the same advantages as we have. Greg Mortenson's has a great philosophy regarding having tea with strangers from other countries. He says,

"When you first arrive in a village you are a stranger, but once you share a meal and a cup of tea you have the chance to know more about them. By the time you have a second cup of tea with them you become friends, but if you really take the time to learn about their lives and you take the time to have a third cup of tea, then you are family and they will do anything for their family."

"Build a bridge; join us to them." Greg Mortenson


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The idea that the war on terrorism is a war to win "hearts and minds" is a common saying in discussions of how to combat terrorism and guerrilla insurgencies in general. The idea is that what you need to do is make the people of the country you're occupying like you (win their hearts and minds) rather than going in and trying to kill the enemy as you do in a regular war. The reason that you need to do that is because A) you need the people to help you know who the terrorists are (since they don't wear uniforms) and B) you need to prevent more people from wanting to become terrorists.

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