Christopher Hitchens on why Haditha isn’t My Lai. I’m tempted to say don’t read the whole thing because that way you’ll miss Hitchens’ spirited defense of the Viet Cong. But here’s the part you don’t want to miss:
There is no respectable way of having this both ways. Those who say that the rioters in Baghdad in the early days should have been put down more forcefully are accepting the chance that a mob might have had to be fired on to protect the National Museum. Those who now wish there had been more troops are also demanding that there should have been more targets and thus more body bags. The lawyers at Centcom who refused to give permission to strike Mullah Omar’s fleeing convoy in Afghanistan—lest it by any chance be the wrong convoy of SUVs speeding from Kabul to Kandahar under cover of night—are partly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Afghan teachers and international aid workers who have since been murdered by those who were allowed to get away. If Iraq had been stuffed with WMD warehouses and stiff with al-Qaida training camps, there would still have been an Abu Ghraib. Only pacifists—not those who compare the Iraqi killers to the Minutemen—have the right to object to every casualty of war. And if the pacifists had been heeded, then Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein would all still be in power—hardly a humanitarian outcome. People like to go on about the “fog” of war as well as the “hell” of it. Hell it most certainly is—but not always so foggy. Indeed, many of the dilemmas posed by combat can be highly clarifying, once the tone of righteous sententiousness is dropped.
Compare Hitchens’ piece to this drivel served up by Arianna Huffington, who uses the Haditha story as her latest pretext to repeat the mantra that administration policy has made America “less safe.” Huffington, of course, offers no evidence that we are less safe. Nor does she explain how it is that, if “killings in Haditha — like Abu Ghraib, like Bagram, like Guantanamo, like all the everyday, unheralded horrors perpetrated on innocent Iraqi civilians — have made America less safe,” we have not successfully been attacked at home in almost five years. Finally, Huffington does not explain how her platform of “bringing the troops home,” in other words losing a war with Islamic terrorists, will make us more safe.
The reality is that, unlike during the Clinton years, it is the terrorists who would attack us who are not safe. They now are being killed and captured on a daily basis in Iraq and elsewhere. And the five terrorists (give or take a few) Huffington and her fellow defeatists imagine are springing up to replace every one we take out don’t seem to be faring much better.