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But better than tolling for thee is if the bell tolls for somebody else.
As it is now, we have drawn an exquisite line in Baghdad: the military, we believe, on one side; allegedly innocent civilians on the other. With precision we bomb only the side of the line behind which we believe stands the military. We bomb in this manner in an effort to protect the Iraqi civilians and hopefully only injure those Iraqis involved in the war effort, assuming, in the process, that all the Iraqis on other side of the line are good Iraqis, and no member of the military would be dishonest enough to avoid bombs by crossing the line. In so doing, we are certainly putting American young men and women, and the pilots who perform this surgical bombing, at risk. The bad Iraqis who take advantage of our policy to live to fight another day are an on-going threat to our troops. Our troops are accompanied by lawyers whose duty it is to make sure none of our targets violate the Geneva Convention. There are already 10,000 Iraqi targets that have been declared off-limits. While we create the conscience-saving device of a line of demarcation separating the combatants from the civilians, our enemies do not. Sometimes the enemy hides behind civilian skirts until our guard is down, and then strikes. Sometimes the civilians are utilized against their will but less often, we suspect, than we would like to admit.
There is another point that fits into the category of the unspeakable. People end up with governments they desire or, at least, allow to happen. There never was a dictatorship in the history of the world that sprang up by spontaneous generation like Minerva arising full blown out of the sea. Certainly, if it ever did happen, it could not sustain itself without the support of the people. From Castro to Hitler, dictators have been put in power by the people of their country. One can remember Castro’s triumphant entrance into Havana to the adulation of tens of thousands of Cubans. Similarly, some might find it convenient to forget the fact that in July 1932 and March 1933 Hitler was elected in free elections by the German people. Saddam Hussein and his thugs could not have been in power but for the will of the Iraqi people.
There are reports of unexpected stiffening of resistance by Iraqi soldiers, not just the elite guard units or the civilian clothed Iraqi SS troops. These thousands of ordinary foot soldiers could not have all supped at Saddam Hussein’s table, nor only performed their duties because revolvers were put to their heads.
Recent television images have depicted the American troops dispensing foods to crowds of Iraqis. At the same time there were interviews from rabid Iraqis who refused to take food from the Americans, preferring dead Americans to live ones, even live ones who were offering them food. Further, there are numerous stories of thousands of Iraqis who have previously fled the country now paying their own way to return to Iraqi.
Every limitation and control we place on the U.S. military has been done for humanitarian reasons, and every precision bombing that is attempted to protect the Iraqi civilians is truly translatable into added deaths of American soldiers.
What should happen in Iraq is simple and swift. Leaflets should be distributed to Iraqi civilians informing them that they have 48 hours to evacuate Baghdad. They should be informed that the coalition forces are prepared to open a safe corridor for their egress from the city. Then it becomes Saddam Hussein’s problem. He will be dealing with a Hobson’s choice: if he does not let the civilians leave the city there will be massive unrest and perhaps even forceful activities by the population directed to undermine or overthrow his regime. If citizens are allowed to leave the city because of the safe corridor, Saddam would be left in town with, basically, his own thugs. After that, the city should be leveled by the MOAB’s (Mother of All Bombs) massively destructive non-nuclear bombs that America now possesses. Perhaps this is not a perfect solution. By doing this there will weigh on America’s collective conscience perhaps dead Iraqi civilians who for one reason or another did not take advantage of our offer of safe passage. But by pursuing the present policies there will certainly be more dead Americans.
Our present war policies of humanitarian precision bombings might allow the bleeding hearts among us to go to bed with clearer consciences or feel justified in their demonstrations, but the young Americans would still be dead.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?