Because I Have To Say It
This is one of those posts that has been stuck in my head, and it’s preventing me from moving on.
A day or two after the US Military dropped two 500-pound bombs to kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Prezmadent George W. “Bowsprit” Bush made a statement regarding a US withdrawal, or turning over responsibility for policing Iraq to the Iraqi Government. This is not a direct quote, but it went something like, “We’re not going to leave a handful of murderers in charge.” Murderers like you George? Or like Rumsfeld? Or like Dick Cheney? When you are responsible for decisions that cause the death of thousands, many of them non-combatants, is the blood not on your hands?
I realize that by saying this I invite the comments of armchair warriors and Jingoists, who will no doubt point out that “they” started it by flying planes into the World Trade Center. “They?” The doctors? Merchants? Children? Or maybe the bigots will accuse me of not supporting the troops, or not being patriotic, - from the relative safety of their living rooms. I have sent packages to troops in Iraq, and not just baby wipes either. I don’t show my support by putting a stupid yellow magnet on my car and fooling myself into thinking I’ve done something. A wise Journalist recently commented that we did not need to put “Proud to be an American” bumper stickers on our cars in the 1960’s and 70’s and 80’s and 90’s because the whole damn world knew we were proud of our country, and politically active, and proud of our form of government. This was true no matter what side of an issue you were on. We didn’t have to go around convincing each other that being an American was still something to be proud of.
I am disturbed by the demolition of Zarqawi. How is sucker-punching a house full of people with 1000 pounds of explosive any different from the IEDs the insurgents are using on our troops? I mean, just because we have more expensive and impressive toys, does that make the method any different? I understand the logic behind the decision. He was most likely not going to let himself be taken alive. He was a self-proclaimed murderer. He had been tried in absentia and sentenced to death. Doubtless any attempt to arrest him would have resulted in bloodshed. What about the other occupants of the building, or the neighborhood for that matter? These missiles do malfunction occasionally; there was a risk. Pretend your next-door neighbor keeps to himself, and you don’t know him very well. He turns out to be John Dillinger, and somebody blows the crap out of his house while he is in it, and you are having lunch. How do you feel about it as you dive under the table and your windows shatter? When is a gangland-style execution ethical?
I know that honor on the battlefield died in a hail of machine-gun bullets sometime around 1914, but I wonder what a typical WWI soldier would think about the way we conduct field operations these days. Would such a man see the remote-control killing as an act of cowardice, or would he look at it the same way as say, killing an ant hill? At least one soldier-author of that war saw fit to comment that he was moved by the fact that retreating German soldiers killed en-masse by an artillery barrage did not stand a chance.
Oddly enough, I am less affected by the death of Zarqawi’s “Spiritual Advisor”. I guess there’s a piece of me that believes he deserved what he got for giving such bad advice.
And what has transpired since this disgusting man met the consequences of his actions? Here are the top three hits from Yahoo:
Bin Laden to issue tribute to al-Zarqawi
Jordan Islamists stay in jail over Zarqawi sympathy
It seems that US gunship diplomacy has created another martyr to the cause. The press is unwittingly (or perhaps knowingly) feeding this fire by holding Zarqawi up as a role model.
Taliban chief outdoes Zarqawi in cruelty
That last link has some very annoying pop-ups. Fair warning.
On a marginally lighter note, law and justice have not been completely supplanted by this colossal and deadly pissing contest.
The Impact of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Frankly, I could care less that Zarqawi is dead. He will be replaced; there is no shortage of self-righteous fanatics. What concerns me is the message sent by the method of his execution. Are we to be respected because we are the biggest bully on the block, or hated?