Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nightline Reads Names, Rosett Fills in the Blanks

They did it again: Nightline read off the names of the American servicemen and women killed this year in the WoT. It's not supposed to be political, and Koppel insisted it wasn't. However, focusing exclusively on the loss makes it too easy to forget what these brave people have done for us. Claudia Rosett to the rescue:
"OpinionJournal - The Real World: It seems fitting to add some further context. These troops did not die in the purely abstract cause of freedom. They were killed going up against enemies who also have names and faces. Here, I am not talking about the roll call of the individuals who fired the guns or threw the grenades at our troops, but about those who created the climates in which liberation is answered with terrorism and murder. In our civilized living rooms, we rarely speak of 'enemies'--but that is the unspoken context here. Who killed these troops?

In Iraq, first and foremost, that would be Saddam Hussein, who for close to two generations took Iraq down the path of fascism, terror and war. His reign created the conditions in which liberation of the many would be answered by carnage spread by a deadly few; in which Iraqis going to vote would be targeted enroute to the polls, in which police recruits would be slaughtered; in which innocent civilians would be bombed while trying simply to get on with their lives.

Much energy has been spent on the debate over whether Saddam actually backed al Qaeda, or merely spent some of his billions purloined out of the United Nations Oil for Food relief program in supporting such folks as Palestinian suicide bombers and buying the kinds of conventional weapons used to kill the troops whose faces we just saw on 'Nightline.' The larger point is that nations export to our globalizing world whatever it is they specialize in. Saddam specialized in terror. His legacy includes a roster of Iraqi dead so vast that it would take weeks if not months to read the full list of names, if anybody even knew the list. That is the kind of rule, or grotesque misrule, he brought to the international table--corrosive to all, and dangerous even to the great American superpower. Which is why, after 17 failed U.N. resolutions, our troops had to go to Iraq."
Read the rest of her excellent article.

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