Saturday, January 5, 2013

Concrete Propaganda

   Mao Zedong wrote, "When we capture enemy soldiers...we conduct propaganda among them, and then divide them into those who want to go and those who want to stay.  Those who want to leave are given money for their traveling expenses and set free."
   Mao explained, "This concrete propaganda immediately knocks the bottom out of the enemy propaganda that 'The Communist bandits kill everyone and anyone on sight.'"
   Brandies Historian David Hackett Fischer noted that many American Revolutionaries made a policy treating British and Hessian prisoners with kindness.  Fischer wrote, "Of 13,988 Hessian soldiers who survived the war, 3,194 (23 percent) chose to remain in America.  Others later emigrated to the New World with their families."
   Dear Syrian Rebels: There is a logic to treating prisoners with kindness.  Certainly it brings honor and credit to a cause to show magnanimity to a disarmed and vanquished foe.  On a practical side, if rebels are kind to prisoners then the enemy's job becomes more difficult; he must struggle to keep his men from joining you.
   Front Committee Chair Mao Zedong, "Report of the Jinggangshan Front Committee to the Central Committee," 25 November 1928, in Mao's Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949: Volume 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927-December 1930, ed. and trans. Stuart R. Schram (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharp, 1995), page 101; David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), page 379.
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