It’s Memorial Day, so remember this:
Today, at the end of his deployment in Diyala province, Col. Lehr, the commander of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, said he still believed in that strong-armed, high-explosive approach.
It “sends a significant message,” he said in a conference call this morning. “It’s just like if we started shooting artillery rounds into your neighborhood... It would quickly get your attention.”
The brigade fired over 11,500 artillery rounds during their nearly 14-month deployment. Col. Lehr credits the strikes with helping to bring down violence in their area, Diyala province, by nearly 70 percent.
Do you suppose that Colonel Lehr’s 70 percent reduction in violence includes the violence unleashed on random Iraqis by 11,500 artillery rounds? Do you suppose that pigs fly?
If you suppose either thing, you are probably capable of believing that only or even mostly “insurgents” were killed by those bombardments. Long distance killing is by its nature random. Even if bombs and artillery shells were really “smart,” they are not aimed by people smart enough to know which targeted structures contain “insurgents” and which contain innocent bystanders.
Nor does it matter, as Colonel Lehr seems to understand all too well. The point of raining explosives on cities and towns is to create terror among civilians by killing them. And of course it works. It worked on 9/11 when Bin Laden did it to us, and it works when the colonel does it in Diyala province. As both men employ terror, both are terrorists. However harsh this sounds, proper understanding can only proceed from proper naming.
Proper arithmetic helps, too. Here’s some:
Iraqis and Americans both being human beings, one dead American does not = 100 dead Iraqis. The correct equation is: One dead human being = one dead human being.
Keeping this equivalency in mind, let’s examine an equation that Bush used to justify his invasion of a country that only threatened us in the nightmares of neocon fools.
Bush’s argument: leaving Saddam in power would allow a brutal dictator to kill X Iraqis over the next five years. Sanity’s argument: Overthrowing him would result in the deaths of Y Iraqis over the same period.
Is Y larger than X? By how many magnitudes?
If you have trouble solving this equation, ask an Iraqi.