Friday, June 09, 2006

U.S. Guilty Of The Same Crimes As al-Zarqawi


It seems like all the talking heads in Pundit Land are overjoyed at the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Even a lot of liberal Web sites are gleeful. I have to admit, I was a bit baffled by the Daily Kos post that happily celebrated al-Zarqawi's death. For a moment there, I thought I'd mistakenly clicked into or some other right-wing nutcase site.

Curiously, the one person you'd expect to be more grateful than anyone for al-Zarqawi's death, Michael Berg, father of slain hostage Nick Berg, emphasized Thursday that he wasn't happy at all and called it a "tragedy." Instead of expressing bloodthirsty glee, Michael was a rare voice of reason on a day when America's pampered, overpaid talking heads were expressing happiness.

"Zarqawi felt my son's breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it," Berg said in an Associated Press interview. "George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist."

Let's assume that al-Zarqawi was indeed an evil bastard who tortured people and blew up civilians. Does the U.S.--or Bush--have a moral leg to stand on in criticizing him?

I don't think we do. The fact is: our leaders are guilty of the same crimes that we accused al-Zarqawi of----and on a much grander scale. The only difference is that, instead of being inspired by religious fanaticism, our leaders are motivated by plain, old grubby money (in the form of Iraq's oil).

Al-Zarqawi was accused of being behind a wave of terror, including such acts as torture, the slaughtering of civilians and the beheading of hostages.

Hmmmm. Torture. The killing of civilians. Assassinations.

Does that ring a bell? Actually, that is something the U.S. was doing long before Bush's illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq.

You want torture? How about Abu Ghraib prison?

How about the killing of civilians? Try Haditha. And if you want to open the discussion up beyond Iraq, the U.S. has killed many civilians worldwide over the years (millions in Vietnam alone).

Assassinations? The U.S. is guilty of too many to list here. However, I will mention that ironically, the CIA once contracted none other than Saddam Hussein himself to attempt an assassination of Iraq's prime minister in 1959.

How about U.S. bombings that have killed tens of thousands of men, women and children in Iraq? The carnage from U.S. bombs dwarfs al-Zarqawi's death toll many times over.

Granted, we haven't beheaded any hostages. But we have done crimes that even al-Zarqawi never did (such as using horrifying chemical weapons that melt human flesh on the people of Fallujah).

And we've probably also done a million other things that our lazy, incompetent media has never bothered to report.

Bottom line: the U.S. has committed the very same crimes that it accused al-Zarqawi of. Instead of celebrating his death, we need to take a good, hard look at ourselves and consider whether we've sunk to the same depth of evil as our enemies.

Frankly, the likes of bloodthirsty, hate-spewers like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck scare me every bit as much as al-Zarqawi and bin Laden. The only difference is that the latter are willing to die for their beliefs, while Coulter and Beck cynically exploit Bush's "war on terror" with their hate-filled jingoistic tirades, so that they can fund their millionaire's lifestyles of luxury and comfort.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting how the most jingoistic, flag-waving public figures in our society (Bill O'Reilly, President Bush, Rush Limbaugh) ran away like chickensh*t cowards from serving in combat during the Vietnam War. When their country needed them, they were AWOL. But today, they shout the loudest that they're the biggest patriots in America.

Anonymous said...

Vietnam, After All?
Formulaic warfare.

By Victor Davis Hanson

As with the formulaic type scenes of Homeric epic, there now arises a sense of familiarity with the current outcries over Haditha.

We do not really know yet what happened in that terrorist-infected hellhole, but it seems not to matter. Those who customarily decry the supposed loss of civil liberties are now the first to rush to judgment—reminding us that it is not always principle per se that they embrace, but a partisanship to be advanced at all costs.

Like Abu Ghraib, the killings will be used to vilify the military, and, ultimately, to curtail the American effort in Iraq—despite the good news of the recent appointment of the remaining three Iraqi cabinet officials and the demise of the mass-murdering Zarqawi. Just as the public was bombarded with scenes of a few dozen naked Iraqis and dog leashes in 2004, or cries of mythical flushed Korans in 2005—never the mass graves of Saddam—so too we now hear only of a new My Lai.

Vietnam, My Lai, pullout, deadline, cutoff—all the old remembrances are returning, as the graying antiwar generation of the 1960s will not go quietly into the night. Abu Ghraib and Haditha are the new Tiger Cages and napalm; George Bush is the Johnson or Nixon of our age; and “no blood for oil” is similar to the old mythical conspiracies of why we were in Vietnam.

Yes, we know the wished-for script. As the drumbeat of hysterical criticism continues, domestic support erodes to almost nothing. The enemy becomes emboldened, taking much of its triumphant rhetoric right from the antiwar Western left. Funds will be cut-off and deadlines for withdrawal imposed.

But wait, stop! Do we really wish to continue the tired formula, since we know what follows and where it ends?

Once we leave, the killing starts in earnest, not 20 or 30 per day, but wholesale slaughter of any Iraqis who taught school, or were clean shaven and wore Western dress, or fought to save Iraq. Millions of refugees flee to the West. Those who stay are killed or “reeducated.” Islamism, like Communism, is empowered with the American defeat. We can expect, as in the past, new aggression in peripheral theaters like Afghanistan or Israel. Twenty years from now expect revisionist books reminding us that the battles for Iraq, like Tet, were American victories and the enemy was almost beaten when we quit. Envision one of the late al-Zarqawi's henchmen, like General Giap, in his dotage thanking the antiwar movement.

Americans abroad will be ripe targets, since, like the Iranian hostage taking of 1979, there will be an unspoken assurance that the United States would not dare risk another Iraq/Vietnam. Here at home, we will enter an endless cycle of mutual recrimination, lose confidence in the U.S. military, and return to a neo-isolationism—punctuated by the occasional liberal call “to do something” as we watch the usual associated horrors unfold around the world.

The Left will see defeat in Iraq, as it did in Vietnam, as welcomed confirmation of its own moral superiority. And in response perhaps we will soon get another Jimmy Carter, who each year assures us that not one American soldier has died under his watch as the entire nation is imperiled. Forget that despite such smugness an embassy was stormed; Khomeinism was birthed; Afghanistan was invaded; a holocaust continued full-bore in Cambodia; Central America was in the midst of a Communist insurrection; and we were reduced to boycotting the Olympics.

So the odd thing is that the more the reality on the ground in Iraq does not resemble Vietnam, the more the opposition to it does. Note how almost all the facts concerning Iraq at one time or another have been twisted to resemble Vietnam. The trumped up Gulf of Tonkin resolution as a casus belli is supposedly similar to the faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction—except that the U.S. Senate this time around voted for 22 additional counts of action as well, and almost every foreign intelligence service confirmed the CIA’s assessment. George Bush is supposedly like Lyndon Johnson, destroyed by a counter-insurgency war—except he got reelected rather than forgoing a nomination for a second term.

The enemy has no uniformed army, as was true of the North Vietnamese. The terrorist insurgents are reactionary, not a Communist movement that so appeals to the naïve on the Left. Iraq is not, as was Vietnam, a proxy war between two nuclear superpowers. There are not tens of thousands of hardcore Chinese and Russian advisors manning missile sites and training Iraqis. And the present government in Iraq, after three democratic elections, is far more legitimate than was any South Vietnamese regime.

For our own part, we field a professional army of volunteers, not reluctant draftees. The campuses are quiet. And despite the screaming pundits and politicians, there are not mass protests in the streets demanding an end to the war. While 2,400 dead constitute a grievous loss, as of now that is just a fraction of those killed in Vietnam, about 2 a day compared to almost 20.

So why are we determined to make Haditha emblematic of a failed Vietnam-like effort to save Iraq?

Ignorance in part. We have forgotten the horrific nature of war that leaves no good choices. Current sanctimonious critics who have already tried and convicted the Marines at Haditha should go back and read, say, E. B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed, his humane but terrifying memoir of Okinawa, or recall American actions at the Bulge or on Sicily.

When tens of thousands of young men are asked to win the dirty fighting against savage enemies or terrorists, and threatened with daily extinction, in Iraq or any American war, a few can break or transgress the American code of military conduct. The only difference between Haditha—if it proves that some Marines violated standards of military behavior—and the shooting of Japanese prisoners and occasional Okinawan civilians is that today’s military, to its everlasting credit, considers an assault on non-combatants an abject crime, not, as in past wars of survival, an occasional occurrence to be seen in light of the inevitable stresses and horrors of war, and excused by the fact it was far less commonplace than was true of the daily conduct of the Nazi, Soviet, or Japanese soldiers.

For those who now associate the crimes of a few with an entire war effort, do any think that women and children were not maimed and worse when Bill Clinton—with no Senate approval and no effort to go to the U.N.—bombed downtown Belgrade on the righteous logic that the risk of collateral damage (500-1000 charred Serbian civilians?) was worth taking to stop a genocide? Do we remember that NATO planes mistakenly hit passenger trains, buses, an embassy, a rest home, a hospital, and apartment buildings?

When we see pictures of horrific starvation in Somalia and hear the liberal mantra “do something,” do we recall the hundreds of Somalis we killed to extract our soldiers from that Black-Hawk Down nightmare? Does anyone really believe that Gen. Zinni’s “Operation Desert Fox”—we were told that we killed several hundred—chewed up only Republican Guard troops busy in WMD labs?

And if we were to go to Darfur, as so many liberals now envision, to stop another holocaust, could that evil be excised without some death of innocents? After all, to fight in Darfur is not to prance in and declare victory, but to send these same now-demonized Marines into a disease-infested sinkhole, where “civilians” kill and there is no real way to distinguish friend from foe.

In truth, the good that the United States has achieved in successful wars usually has far overshadowed the horrific means used to achieve it. That is why formerly fascist German and Italian newspapers on the cheap can roast the United States today. And why upscale South Koreans are not, like their northern counterparts, eating grass; why there are not now Banzai marches in Tokyo; why there are Kosovars and Bosnians still left on the planet; why the odious Daniel Ortega is freely running for office; why Gen. Noriega is not clubbing his opponents on the streets of Panama City; and yes, why the Eastern Europeans wish to join the EU instead of being forced into the Warsaw Pact, and why the Russians use oil profits, not missiles, to get their way. In contrast, does anyone believe that Vietnam, or Haiti, or present-day Somalia is better off for our past failures?

So by all means investigate Haditha. Try and convict any who broke the rules of war, and sullied the honor of the U.S. Marine Corps.

But please spare us the scripted outrage that is simply cheap cover for wanting Iraq to end as Vietnam, as there appear ten stories on Haditha for every one about either an American victory over terrorists or help for Iraqi civilians. Any true moralist who cares for the Iraqi people should pray that this war doesn’t devolve into helicopters on the embassy roof—followed by the old predictable liberal silence when the real killing begins.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Anonymous said...

What to do with the news that a terrorist master responsible for the murder of untold numbers of American servicemen and women has been killed? Well, for many Democrats, that was a question that actually required thought before being answered.

No instantaneous rejoicing. No thankfulness that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was sent to his maker courtesy of 1,000 pounds of American-made munitions delivered via F-16. No, the first reaction of many Democrats was either worry or disdain. Worry over how to spin a response so that it brings maximum political advantage, and disdain that the U.S. military had a victory on President Bush's watch. The other reaction was incredulity. Some Democrats believe the whole story was fabricated by the military to distract from the "truth" of Bush's failure as a President.

Consider the following comments made by actual Democrats:

Am I the only one who thinks this is one big scam on America and the world, to make it look like they "killed a main terrorist" and rid the world of an evil person?"

They said they identified the so called body with his fingerprints, where did they get Zarqawi's finger prints? I know he was supposedly jailed in Jordan for a while. Do they keep fingerprints on everyone in the world? This news comes as the marriage amendment failed....again Bush's poll numbers are slipping faster then a speeding nascar. I don't buy it."
-- "Wahoo," a poster on

Understandably, there is a lot of media coverage on Zarqawi today. In all the hours and hours of coverage, has anyone mentioned that the President could have killed Zarqawi before the Iraq War but chose not to?
-- "Georgia10," a poster on DailyKos

Zarqawi was quite probably a psy ops job in the first place, so what does that make his "death"?

Keep your eyes on the prize:

Gay marriage?

Flag burning?


-- Christopher Day, a poster on DailyKos

I do not believe this al Zarqwai bullsh**, because it is all too convenient. It's another wave of propaganda from the Bush cabal. He was likely killed years ago, or is still alive. Something smells rotten.
-- "Liberalmuse," a poster on Democratic Underground

Just as the American public begins to look into Haditha, this happens.

I'm going to be interested as to how Bush's approval rating changes, as well as how long we've known where this guy was.

I'd like to think that it was just a coincidence, but it would be valuable to know all the facts.
-- "Imagine1989," a poster on Democratic Underground

One of the most interesting discussions I read was on the Democratic Underground blog. A brave soul posited that it was good that Zarqawi was dead because he was killing American GIs. The poor person was attacked, called brainwashed, was told he was living in fantasyland and was told numerous times to "wake up."

Now, maybe these folks aren't representative of other Democrats. So let's see some who are.

John Kerry, the party's nominee for president in 2004 (can't get more representative than that), said, "Our troops have done their job in Iraq, and they've done it valiantly. It's time to work with the new Iraqi government to bring our combat troops home by the end of this year."

Well, at least he believes Zarqawi (a) existed, and (b) was killed. But did he really say that our job in Iraq was finished? Yep, it's Miller Time. Mission Accomplished. Amazing. I didn't realize we'd fought a war for three years to kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "Democrats have long said that 2006 must be a year of significant transition in Iraq, where the Iraqis take responsibility for their security. The death of al Zarqawi and the naming of the Iraqi Defense and Interior Minister should bring us closer to that goal, and hasten the day when American troops can come home."

Other top Democrats were more measured, but withdrawal clearly is becoming the Democrat message. Not victory, but withdraw. The No. 1 goal will be to "support the troops, bring them home." The death of Zarqawi illustrated this quite unmistakably. The Democrats have made getting the troops home the top priority.

Sounds nice, but that is no strategy for victory, it is a strategy for surrender. The Democratic Party's goal is to end the conflict, not win the conflict, when it should be the other way around.

If the Democrats have their way and bring the troops home before Iraq is secured, then it will mean that all the coalition forces who have died there will have died in vain. It is becoming increasingly evident that the Democrats are striving for exactly that.

Anonymous said...

In response to Victor David Hansen -- I have rarely seen so much bilge in defense of something that is so abundantly indefensible. You, sir, are that unique phenomenon that would be best characterized as an educated fool. I hate to quote an avowed conservative -- but I must, because we used to have better ones. -- but, as George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I heard all that stuff you said, long ago, way back when in the Vietnam years. You are moronically repeating it. It still doesn't pass muster. You are a world-class fool, and apparently proud to be one.