Little to say for myself

Saturday, March 01, 2003  

Who are they trying to protect?

I tuned in during a Today programme interview with a US general this morning. I missed the pretext for his comments, but he was saying he thought there was too much emphasis on the avoidance of Iraqi civilian casualties in some or other battle plan.

He thought there was a danger that ground troops would be sent in early, after only a short aerial campaign (so that the inevitable consequences of carpet bombing the cities could be reduced). His concern was that they were trading off allied military lives for Iraqi civilian lives.

Presumably his logic was that the US and UK Air Forces could and should bomb away with impunity for a bit longer, killing the very people they were supposed to be "liberating", so that fewer US lives would be lost in street-fighting.

Am I the only one here who thinks that's perverse? That he'd rather see umpteen more innocent and powerless civilians killed than a few more professional military volunteers?

What if Saddam were holed up in Houston rather than Baghdad? Would he be equally happy to see masses of civilian Americans caught in the crossfire to protect the military? Of course he bloody wouldn't.

He must have an equation in his head:
1 US life = n Iraqi lives, where "n" is presumably a very large number

Having then heard Law In Action this evening, I'm sure he would be breaking the law. Military action is required by international law to minimise the risk of civilian casualties, but he's promoting a policy deliberately intended to kill more of them.

Can anyone in the US military tell me what is the value of "n"?

posted by Plig | 01:15 |

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