Wednesday, March 26, 2003
As cold as it might seem, the Coalition forces need to bomb a few schools, hospitals and mosques. Not for the sake of doing so, but rather because doing so would shorten the war by demonstrating to the Iraqis that there are no safe harbors from which they can attack Coalition troops with impunity.
These Iraqis are not on suicide missions. They're doing what soldiers everywhere do, seeking a protected area from which they can inflict casualties upon their enemy (yes, I know that not all soldiers seek to hide in hospitals). Our stated reluctance to attack certain sites is inviting the Iraqis to use those places as a safe harbor.
Should the Coalition forces instead demonstrate that these sites were in fact not a safe place to hide, then - once again acknowledging my lack of military experience - I believe the Iraqis would stop trying to hide there.
After all, how many Iraqis will take shelter in a hospital in order to attack the coalition forces, knowing that those very same coalition forces would destroy the hospital? Not many Iraqis would attack from inside a mosque if they knew that their doing so would lead to the destruction of the mosque, and more importantly to them, their own death.
Once again, our enemy is viewing us as weak. This perceived weakness is emboldening our enemy and leading to a longer struggle and more casualties than is necessary. As I've said in previous posts, while it certainly is admirable to have a goal of minimizing the deaths of Iraqi civilians, our primary goal should be the protection of American and British lives. Our commanders have to decide whose lives they're looking to protect - our soldiers or those of the Iraqi civilians. They can't do both.