Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Tikrit home destruction

The Americans are now destroying the homes of 'suspected guerrilla fighters' in Tikrit. Women and children are given five minutes to evacuate into near-freezing temperatures, and then their homes are destroyed with artillery fire, using tanks and a wide array of aircraft, including F-15's, F-16's, AC-130 gunships, A-10 attack planes, and Apache helicopters. I've already mentioned the war crimes the United States has been engaging in, including taking of hostages, destruction of date palms and citrus trees, and the random firing at homes of those 'suspected' of being in the resistance. These things tend to slide down the slippery slope, and the Americans are headed for the abyss. This latest outrage resembles the Israeli tactic of destroying the homes of those accused of being suicide bombers, and thus has a certain resonance in the Muslim world. Jamel Shahab, a 41-year-old farmer, said:

"This is something Sharon would do. What's happening in Iraq is just like Palestine."

The surrounding of the town of Awja (or here) with razor wire reminds the residents of the Gaza Strip. Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said:

"I think that as commanders, we might have been a little bit reluctant previously to use aerial gunships AC-130 or U.S. Air Force aircraft and precision guided munitions. Now there's no-holds-barred on what we use. We use what necessary capabilities and combat power that we need to use to go ahead and take the fight to the enemy and also minimize collateral damage."

and, asked if the United States risked alienating the Iraqi population with such heavy-handed tactics:

"I like to remember what Viscount Slim said during the Burma Campaign. He said use a sledge hammer to crush a walnut, and that's exactly what we will do. We will use force overwhelming combat power when it's necessary."

I imagine he likes the smell of napalm in the morning too. I can't emphasize enough what a huge development this is. The Americans, whose support enables Sharon to do the evil that he does, have had a bit of a free ride over what has been going on in Israel. The Europeans, who should know better, said that they thought Israel was the main threat to world peace, when actually Israel is just a proxy for the United States. Even al-Qaeda has concentrated more on getting the Americans out of the Islamic holy lands, and less on its role behind Israel. Now the United States is getting its hands dirty with the type of slaughter and destruction it used to leave to the Israelis, and the Muslim world immediately notices. I am certain that there will be a significant number of Americans dead in terrorist attacks as a direct result of the American decision to play the full Israeli role in Iraq. You would think that even if Americans were too stupid, lazy, and uncaring to worry about the war crimes being committed in their names, the massive increase in the risk of terrorism to American targets caused by these new adventures would trouble them.