March 28, 2003

Fight or Die...

Posted by Scott at 03:39 PM

There are reports of women and children being used as human shields, reports of bullets being fired from hospitals, reports of fake surrenders that lead to attacks. Now add the latest news: Iraqi Soldiers Say It Was Fight or Die: (NYT registration, blah blah)

One Iraqi prisoner after another has told captors a similar tale: that many Iraqi soldiers were fighting at gunpoint, threatened with death by tough loyalists of President Saddam Hussein.
"The officers threatened to shoot us unless we fought," said a wounded Iraqi from his bed in the American field hospital here. "They took out their guns and pointed them and told us to fight."
On the roadside, the Iraqi prisoners huddled together. Only a few had uniforms; most wore tattered clothing and battered shoes. They did not seem like men who lusted for battle. American marines guarding the prisoners said they had complained that their own officers had shot at them during the battle. "I have four children at home, and they threatened to hurt them if I did not fight," another one of the wounded Iraqis said. "I had no choice."

I pray for our soldiers, the Iraqi civilians, and the Iraqi's conscripted against their will. May casualties for all three be minimal. I believe, though, that if we pulled out, more Iraqi's would die under Saddam. Our weapons aren't perfect. Unintended people will die -- on both sides. Saddam has shown no unwillingness toward sacrificing his own population. With Saddam in place, negotiations, sanctions, diplomacy, etc has had no traction. The sooner he and his loyalists are removed, the sooner we have any chance of achieving peace. I don't believe peace will be automatic with his removal, but I don't believe it can happen with him in power.

Is it callous of me to appear to accept that some innocent will unintentionally die? How callous is it for so many to accept that over three thousand unborn children intentionally die every day in the US because that's the price of "a woman's right to choose"? Some consider no innocent casualty in Iraq as tolerable, yet when an order of magnitude more die here daily and have done so for the past thirty years since Roe v. Wade, our concerns are squelched. "Shut up!" they say. "The Court has spoken, now move on!" It aggravates me.