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Anti-PC League

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Monday, September 26, 2005

In Defense of Cowardice?

This week, the British media outlet The Independent has featured another poster child for the anti-war movement:

former American soldier who served in Iraq and filed for conscientious objector status has given an extraordinary insight into the war's dehumanising effects - an insight that helps explain why the British and American public has turned sharply against the occupation.

On the eve of large anti-war demonstrations in Washington and London, Hart Viges has told how indiscriminate fire from US troops is likely to have killed an untold number of Iraqi civilians. Mr. Viges, 29, said he was still haunted by the memories of what he experienced and urged President George Bush to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

"I don't know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds," Mr. Viges, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division, said during a presentation this week at American University in Washington. "In Baghdad, I had days that I don't want to remember. I try to forget," he added
.



The first thing that grabs me in this piece is the use of words like "dehumanising", "occupation", "indescriminate", "haunted", which basically hides no feelings for the author's view of the war.

Not since August 1968, the high point of the opposition to the war in Vietnam, has there been a majority of people in America who believe that an ongoing conflict was wrong. That historic turning point in public opinion came seven months after North Vietnamese forces launched the devastating Tet Offensive, as the divided Democratic Party Convention in Chicago was choosing Hubert Humphrey rather than Eugene McCarthy as its presidential candidate and 10,000 anti-war protesters fought pitched battles with police in the streets.


This is the obligatory comparison to Vietnam that those with a political stake in the anti-war movement are trying to convince Americans of. What the do not tell you however, is that there are veterans that have served in both wars, and say that Iraq isn't another Vietnam:

"In Vietnam, I don't think the local population ever understood that we were just there to help them," says Chief Warrant Officer James Miles, 57, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who flew UH-1H Hueys in Vietnam from February 1969 to February 1970. And the Vietcong and North Vietnamese were a tougher, more tenacious enemy, he says. Instead of setting off bombs outside the base, they'd be inside.

"I knew we were going to lose Vietnam the day I walked off the plane," says Miles, who returned home this month after nearly a year in Iraq. Not this time. "There's no doubt in my mind that this was the right thing to do," he says...

..."There was a lot more action in Vietnam than there is here," says Chief Warrant Officer Herbert Dargue, 57, of Brookhaven, N.Y.



Yet the article parrots an obligatory statistic for those who seek to discredit this war:
Yesterday, US forces in Iraq announced two more of its troops had been killed west of Baghdad. One was killed by a roadside bomb between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, the other by small arms fire in Ramadi


One thing this article neglects to mention, other than the 131 enemy captured or killed on the same day, is that never have the terrorists in Iraq won an engagement against U.S. forces of squad-size (6-9 men) or larger.

Then there is the repeat of on of the biggest lies against the war:
The latest casualties add to a total of US deaths in Iraq that stands at more than 1,900. No one knows precisely how many Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of the war but a report published last year in The Lancet suggested that up to 100,000 may have lost their lives.


The report, BTW, was reported in the Lancet (a British newspaper) and thoroughly debunked almost as soon as it came out.

"The authors of a peer-reviewed study, conducted by a survey team from Johns Hopkins University, claim that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war. Yet a close look at the actual study, published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet, reveals that this number is so loose as to be meaningless.
The report's authors derive this figure by estimating how many Iraqis died in a 14-month period before the U.S. invasion, conducting surveys on how many died in a similar period after the invasion began (more on those surveys later), and subtracting the difference. That difference—the number of "extra" deaths in the post-invasion period—signifies the war's toll. That number is 98,000. But read the passage that cites the calculation more fully:

We estimate there were 98,000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000-194 000) during the post-war period.

Readers who are accustomed to perusing statistical documents know what the set of numbers in the parentheses means. For the other 99.9 percent of you, I'll spell it out in plain English—which, disturbingly, the study never does. It means that the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.)

This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board.


Then there is the final pull on the heartstrings of British and Americans alike:

Hart Viges' own journey into the chaos and violence of Iraq started on 11 September 2001. The day after he watched al- Qa'ida terrorists fly airliners into targets in New York and Washington he quit his job as a waiter in Seattle and signed up for the US Army.

Deployed to the Middle East in early 2003, he saw action in Baghdad and Fallujah, among other hot spots.

Despite his growing horror with what he was experiencing, it was only when he watched Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, that he decided to file for conscientious objector status. "I consider myself a Christian and I thought Jesus wasn't talking smack," he told the American-Statesman newspaper, in his current home of Austin, Texas.

Mr. Viges visited Washington this week as part of an anti-war protest organised by Cindy Sheehan, the mother who camped outside Mr. Bush's ranch at Crawford, Texas, over the summer to protest against the war in which her son was killed.


What Viges describes in this report is nothing different that what any infantryman can (and has) seen in war. Viges did not witness any unique atrocities, but the reality of war as seen seen by the brave veterans down at your local VFW, and the tens of thousands of U.S. Army soldiers that have chosen to re-enlist, including 98% of the 82nd Airborne's eligible re-enlistees this year.

I doubt anyone in his unit will be buying him a drink anytime soon.