Operation Iraqi Freedom
Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:40:26 -0800
Robert Harley writes:
> This is what the U.S. is doing
> (warning: not for the faint-hearted)
> I guess she's free now.
Multiply that by hundreds of thousands: that's what the Baath
regime did even before Gulf War I.
Multiply that again by hundreds of thousands: that's what the
Baath regime has done since Gulf War I because it wasn't
removed from power.
Multiple that again by hundreds of thousands: that's what the
costs of leaving the Baathists in power, under any compromise
suggested by the Russians or French, would have been in the
I am impressed by Harley's level of emotions engendered by
any single death.
Yet his inability to care about the mass deaths that have been
caused by, and would have continued to be caused by, military
restraint in this matter, suggests his care is uneven, and strictly
emotional, rather than rational.
Just as the US military has been criticized for valuing American
soldiers as much as thousands of enemy soldiers or foreign
noncombatants, Harley seems to weigh a death caused by American
forces as being tens or hundreds of thousands of times more
reprehensible than deaths caused by totalitarians and terrorists.
If you are revulsed by his examples, but adopt a more reasonable
moral calculus, that all politically engineered deaths are equally
wrong, then suddenly the war policies Harley is opposing should be
seen as the death-minimizing course of action.
There may be technicalities which make the war objectionable,
such as the "honor among theives" whereby world governments
usually don't knock each other off, no matter how criminal one
or the other is, under the sham of respecting "sovereignty".
But if saving lives is your criterion, the mass-murderers of the
Baath regime have to be stopped.