The Blob

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Ironic, isn't it?

Two news items today told me a lot about the moral structure, or the lack of it, on the part of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi leadership:

1. The New York Post reported that at least one of the bodies of the four American soldiers discovered in a shallow grave was "brutalized and mutilated," Pentagon sources revealed yesterday. The corpses were unearthed in the vicinity of the "hospital" at Nasiriyah where U.S. Marines found evidence that the Iraqis had operated a torture chamber. Inside the hospital, the shocked Marines found bloodied pieces of an American female soldier's uniform. Her name badge and American flag were missing. Investigators believe that the hospital was a den of horror rather than healing and was used by the fanatical Feyidah militia as a staging area and headquarters. Inside, the leathernecks found one room that was equipped with a bed and a car battery, indicating that it was used to electrically torture prisoners.

2. CNN is reporting that the International Red Cross is not being permitted to visit coalition prisoners of war.

This is the reality of Saddam Hussein. This is why the coalition has chosen the unthinkable: to wage war. Any questions?

Are you in or are you out?

I'm continuing to seethe at the backstabbing remarks of journalists and pundits alike about the strategy deployed by the coalition forces in the opening days of the war. Okay, I'll agree on something: it ain't perfect. The coalition leadership made assumptions in their plans that are showing cracks. I'm sure the political infighting that drove this plan got quite ugly. And it was someone much smarter than I was who said that plans are great until you meet the enemy. But the media had hyped this before the start of hostilities as an antiseptic, 10 minute technowar. And from what I can tell, their assumptions are as much to blame as overly optimistic assumptions in the White House and the Pentagon about what would be required to win.

But what I see in response from many in the media, as well as far away, air-conditioned, self-anointed pundits and frustrated retired generals on fat retainers is an underlying message: We can't win. In fact, we're getting our butts handed to us. It's no use. We'll fail, so we might as well give up.


It really angers me (and that's putting it delicately) that I'm hearing this defeatist undercurrent. This is the backstabbing that can endanger the young men and women in the armed forces who have the world on their shoulders. It's the backstabbing that could lead to the torture, recriminations and executions of countless numbers of innocent Iraqis at the hands of Saddam Hussein's thugs (who the media are conveniently and breathlessly describing as the "feared" Republican Guard and the "menacing" Fedayeen Saddam - as if the coalition forces are not causing Saddam and his inner circle to worry).

But you'll probably never see that reported. The liberals and defeatists in the media will conveniently overlook that.

Which leads me to a question put so eloquently by George Clooney in Oceans Eleven: "Are you in or are you out?" Call me what you will, but when it comes to a matter of war, the time for discussion closed a while ago. At this point, I'm strongly of the opinion that arguing against the war, and suggestions, however veiled, that we withdraw, are more than beside the point. They're downright dangerous to the very people we're trying to save. The quote below says it better than I ever could:

In an Arab News report from Umm Qasr, a reporter interviewed some Umm Qasr residents:

"When asked what they thought of the US/UK plan to remove Saddam. They told me, "Now that they have started to remove him, they cannot stop. If they do, then we are all as good as dead. He still has informants in Umm Qasr and he knows who is against him and who isn’t.”

We're in this with both feet, like it or not. And the journalists and pundits have focused all of their energy on what the coalition is doing wrong, instead of what it is doing right. We should remember how long it took the Allied forces to break out of the beaches of Normandy during World War II. War is unpredictable. War is horrid. I have had nightmares on many nights. It depresses me deeply to think of the suffering of the innocents in Iraq. But to withdraw now, as the less courageous would have us do, will cause incredible harm particularly to those who we're fighting to save. And that is anything but humanitarian.

So: are you in or are you out?