Review:Are The Arabs Stupid?2003-03-31 00:00:00
“Are the Arabs really this stupid?” wonders Jonah Goldberg.
“Are the Arabs really this stupid?” wonders Jonah Goldberg.
Arnold Kling has some basic questions for the press to ask the Iraqis.
With all the hostility and skepticism the press is showing the US military, I think it’s about time some of them showed the same skepticism towards Iraqi regime spokesmen. To help them along, here are some of the outrageous things the Iraqis have done to date:
1. Iraqi irregulars have been fighting dressed as civilians. In some cases, elements of the regular Iraqi army have worn civilian clothes over their uniforms. For combatants to pretend to be civilians is a violation of the laws of war.
2. Suicide bombings are abhorrent, but wearing civilian clothes while committing suicide bombings is more so, not to mention illegal. The Iraqi vice president says this is going to be a “routine tactic.”
3. Iraqi troops have been firing on civilians fleeing conflict. At Basra, Iraqi forces fired machine guns and mortars at women and children trying to get across a bridge to allied forces.
4. Iraqi troops have been using civilians as human shields. In one incident at a bridge on the Euphrates about 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraqi forces laid explosives to demolish a bridge and then came back across it, using women and children as human shields. When one woman tried to break away, she was shot. The Iraqis have also been taking children hostage to force their parents to fight.
5. Iraqi troops have been placing military equipment in residential areas. This places civilians at risk in order to protect men and materiel.
6. Iraqi AAA and SAM fire in Baghdad and other cities has been largely undirected. The Iraqis cannot switch on their radars for fear of destruction; so they just shoot into the air. Some of these projectiles and missiles are bound to fall back to earth and cause large civilian casualties. In fact, all or most of the civilian deaths in Baghdad may be attributed to Iraqi trigger-pulling.
7. Allied POWs have been executed, their bodies mutilated and the survivors harassed, intimidated and tortured. You’ve probably seen or heard of the 12 minute video of our POWs in Baghdad, which was shown by Al Jazeera. The full one hour version is being shown on Egyptian TV. It includes the execution of POWs and the mutilation of their bodies.
8. The Iraqis have chosen to hide weapons and supplies in particularly sensitive buildings, such as hospitals, schools and mosques. At one hospital in An Nasiriyah, allied forces found 3,000 chemical weapons suits in addition to the usual cache of weapons. Other sites in cities like Basra have been used similarly.
Every unintentional Iraqi civilian death that may have been caused, despite the painstaking use and targeting of precision-guided weapons, by the allies, draws howls of condemnation from people like Kofi Annan. These same people are strangely silent when it comes to Iraqi outrages against the allies and other Iraqis, especially civilians. Where are the outraged columns and editorials in outlets like the New York Times? Their silence speaks volumes about their motives.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the dolphins that are being used to hunt for mines in the Persian gulf. I was curious about how thisworks and did a Google News search.
The picture above is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The dolphins are trained to use their sonar to find mines. When they find one, they leave a marker buoy near the mine and return for a tasty treat from their handler. I can understand a dog being trained to do something like this; but a dolphin? Amazing.
And then there are the sea lions. These relatively unsung heros hunt for enemy divers, using their excellent underwater sight and other senses. When they find one, they attach a foot cuff to him that marks him. The sea lions can even chase the diver on to land and attach the cuff. They’re more than a match for divers, since they weigh over 350 pounds. And, underwater, they can swim at 25 miles/hour and attach foot cuffs on divers who hardly realize what’s happening.
This blog is hosted at BlogSpot and they’ve been having problems for about a day, which is why my posts from yesterday and this morning weren’t showing up. Everything works fine now.
Jonathan Last gives us some perspective on the length of the war:
Remember the Grenada cakewalk? The United States invaded on October 25, 1983 and hostilities ended on November 3. If conquering Grenada (133 square miles) took 10 days, shouldn’t commentators take a wait-and-see attitude towards Iraq (169,000 square miles)? The same was true for the invasion of Panama. Begun on December 20, 1989, Manuel Noriega didn’t surrender until January 3, 1990. That’s 15 days.
The first Gulf War was no easier. The allies began the air campaign on January 17, 1991 and didn’t reach a cease-fire until February 28–43 days. And if you back up a few months, Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. In an invasion that spent no time on the niceties of war which the United States insists upon, Saddam’s forces didn’t secure their small, militarily inferior neighbor until August 8. It took Saddam 7 days–and loads of civilian casualties–to conquer a neighbor with only 2.1 million people.
You say that’s ancient history, that we’re in a new era? Okay. How about this: In Afghanistan the United States started bombing on October 7, 2001. The last Taliban forces didn’t leave Kandahar until December 7–a 63 day campaign.
Today, each of these military actions is considered a rout and, with the exception of Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait, each took longer than the 8 days which now seem to have been allotted to the allied commanders in charge of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Still not convinced? Consider the greatest military collapse of modern times, the infamous French fold at the start of World War II. Germany invaded France on May 10, 1940, didn’t get to Paris until June 14, and didn’t get a French surrender until June 22.
Even the French–the French!–were able to hold out for 44 days. If Saddam prolongs the fighting for another 5 weeks, all he will be doing is rising to the level of military competence set by France.
I said “embedding” journalists with the military is a lousy idea and I stand by that claim. Finally, someone else is saying the same thing. Karl Zinsmeister says in NRO:
Alas, many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A significant number are whiny and appallingly soft. Most club together, passing far too much of their desert sojourn gossiping with fellow reporters, mocking military mores in snide jokes and wise-guy observations, chafing at the little disciplines required by the military
I’m amazed at the defeatism in the media, especially the print press. For instance, here’s yet another article in the NY times without a single optimistic paragraph about the war.
I would have thought the press would have waited at least three weeks before using the phrase “Vietnam-like Quagmire.” After all, that’s how long they waited in Afghanistan. Instead, they’ve begun using the phrase in week one of the war. There’s talk about “mounting casualties” and “stiff Iraqi resistance.”
Those “mounting casualties” are still less than those in Afghanistan and about a tenth those in the first Gulf War. As for the “stiff Iraqi resistance,” it consists of irregular troops with AK-47s charging M1A1 Abrams tank. The Abrams has an armor so tough that RPGs bounce off it. When the Abrams fires its depleted uranium shells, they cut through the armor of just about any vehicle the enemy has, including his tanks. If this is “stiff Iraqi resistance,” I’d like to know what “light resistance” looks like.
The “mainstream” press is showing its George McGovern-loving, ultra-liberal, wannabe-hippie true colors. They hate this war and are desperately hoping we’ll lose it. Despite all their scare mongering and defeatist propaganda, they won’t get their wish.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer thinks the media “could use some lithium.”
UPDATE 2: Victor Davis Hanson wonders “Have these people any intelligence or shame?” In his must-read piece, he points out:
All these people need to calm down, take a deep breath, and read their history - computing the logistics of fighting 7,000 miles away and considering the hurdles of vast space, unpredictable weather, and enemies without uniforms. And? In just a week, the United States military has surrounded one of history
Like The Onion? You’ll love The Lemon.
From the Bush-Blair press conference today:
Q And, Mr. President, can you help me understand the timing of this war? You talked yesterday that it will be – we’re far from over. Today you said, it’s going slowly, but surely we’re working our way to our end goal. Given that the resistance has been as strong as it’s been in the south, and that we have what you call the most hardened, most desperate forces still around Baghdad, are we to assume that this is going to last – could last months and not weeks – and not days?Thank you, Mr. President. This is not going to be another Mogadishu. We’re winning overwhelmingly and we’re going all the way.
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll answer that question very quickly and then get to his. However long it takes to win. That’s –
Q – take months?
THE PRESIDENT: However long it takes to achieve our objective. And that’s important for you to know, the American people to know, our allies to know, and the Iraqi people to know.
Q It could be months?
THE PRESIDENT: However long it takes. That’s the answer to your question and that’s what you’ve got to know. It isn’t a matter of timetable, it’s a matter of victory. And the Iraqi people have got to know that, see. They’ve got to know that they will be liberated and Saddam Hussein will be removed, no matter how long it takes.