Kofi Annan's Offense

(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - Turkey's refusal to let us send the 4th Infantry Division to attack Baghdad from the north has cost us heavily. It has allowed Saddam Hussein to concentrate his defenses to the south and essentially cut in half the size of the heavily mechanized enemy he has to deal with. Even more important, we've been held back by our own scrupulousness. There has never been a conflict in which one belligerent has taken more care not to harm the civilians of the other. And it has already cost us. We know that the "irregulars" - the SS thugs whose profession heretofore had been torture and repression in the service of Hussein's psychopathic son Uday - use human shields, fight in civilian disguise and attack under a fake flag of surrender. Our restraint in choice of targets and in the treatment of those who appear to be civilians and those who appear to have surrendered has cost us not just time and territory but lives. And yet, being who we are, we do not change the rules of engagement. Kofi Annan's pronouncement Wednesday that he was "getting increasingly concerned by humanitarian casualties in this conflict" is doubly disgusting because he said nothing about Iraq's use of human shields, of fake surrenders, of placing a tank in a hospital compound - flagrant Iraqi violations of the laws of war. Nor does he denounce the parading of POWs on television and the apparent execution of American and British POWs.

2003-03-28 00:00:00

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