Monday, November 08, 2004

Suppose you were in charge of our assault on Falluja. And suppose you were determined, for some perverse reason, to validate the worst possible view of our conduct of the war. What might you do?

To begin with, we say we're in Iraq to help the Iraqis, and to be their friends. You want to negate this view -- to show that we view Iraqis as the enemy. You could start by saying that Falluja won't be safe for civilians:

U.S. troops urged civilians to flee Falluja on Friday and launched air strikes on the rebel city ahead of an assault seen as critical to attempts to pacify Iraq before January elections.

... and then make clear that any Iraqi male fleeing the imminent bloodbath, no matter what the circumstances, will not be treated as a civilian:

U.S. forces sealed all roads to the city and used loudspeakers and leaflets in Arabic to tell residents they would detain any man under 45 trying to enter or leave the city.

After that, of course, these guys won't see leaving the city as an option -- after Abu Ghraib, there's no question what follows detention by the Americans, and Iraqi culture is serious about putting death before dishonor. And just to reemphasize that Iraqi males who stay in Falluja because we won't let them leave are all "the enemy", you could have one of your generals say something like this to his troops:

No matter what you think about the Iraqi war or the Iraqi Government, this fight is 100 per cent about terrorists, terrorists who want to come to your home and kill you.

Of course, by motivating the real enemy troops in Falluja, by denying them a way out and putting their backs up against the wall, this guarantees a long and bloody fight -- which, if you're trying to embarrass the United States, would have to count as a bonus.

So, that would be a good first move. But more specific charges have been made against us as well. We've been accused, for instance, of targeting ambulances and medical facilities, in blatant violation of the Geneva conventions. How could you most directly validate this accusation? Perhaps you could begin your assault by seizing one hospital, and razing another to the ground, making it plain beyond the possibility of any denial that we view medical facilities as military targets.

This, at any rate, is what Dubya's crew has come up with so far. I can hardly wait to see what they think up next.


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