What would the Gipper do?

In the devastated city of Falluja, the International Red Cross visited for the first time since the American-led military offensive last month, meeting with Iraqi engineers to discuss the city's sewage and water needs, The Associated Press reported. The Red Cross officials were unable to visit a potato-chip plant where several hundred bodies of insurgents and civilians are apparently being stored.

LI has been reading Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars: The secret history of the Cia, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001. We came across this interesting passage. Afghanistan, 1979:

A charismatic Afghan army captain named Ismail Khan called for jihad againt the communist usurpers that March and led his heavily armed Heart garrison into violent revolt. His followers hunted down and hacked to death more than a dozen Russian communist political advisors, as well as their wives and children. The rebels displayed Russian corposes on pikes along shaded city streets. Soviet-trained pilots flew bomber jets out of Kabul in vengeful reply, pulverizing the town in remorseless waves of attack. By the time the raids were finished, on the eve of its first anniversary in power, the Afghan communist government had killed as many as twenty thousand of its own citizenry in Herat alone.”

If you wonder how the Soviets justified a massacre like that, go to this article in Slate that glorifies the American war crime of razing Fallujah. It would have been right at home in, say, the columns of Pravda in 1980. Apparently the editors of Slate, who love to nitpick NYT journalists’ mistakes, swallowed this with a big piece of American apple pie and ice cream:

“… Most of the beheadings featured on the Al Jazeera news network were committed in the city, carried out under klieg lights with written instructions how and when the CDs should be delivered to make the evening news. The city's warlords, Janabi and Hadid, paid obeisance to the arch terrorist Zarqawi and competed for his favor by assassinations and bombings. They bragged their "martyr battalions" would cut to pieces any American force entering the city.

:Deciding otherwise, the residents fled the city, leaving a few thousand jihadists to their fate. In a swift offensive, American soldiers and Marines swept in and hunted them down, destroying every house and mosque where Zarqawi's soldiers stood and fought. Seventeen-thousand buildings were searched, uncovering cache after cache of weapons. The numbers were staggering: Over 100,000 explosives found in just one section of the city.”

An account that simply skips the American bombing of the city, the buildup to the assault, the American effort, announced for a month, to empty the city, the American blocking of the routes out of the city, the American culling of the males in the city, the American bombing of civilian sites in the city, the American refusal to put up any kind of refugee center for the fleeing population, the American refusal to let anybody in the now razed city except propagandists of the type that Slate favors, the American targetting of hospitals, etc., etc.

Although LI thought Reagan was a rotten president, he said something rather sweet about the Soviet war crimes in Afghanistan.

“The year 1984 was an especially hard one for the Afghans. The Soviets have become frustrated with their inability to crush the spirit of the Afghan Freedom Fighters and are increasingly turning their military might against the civilian population of the country, forcing hundreds of thousands more innocent people into exile away from their homeland.

Reports of Soviet atrocities and human rights violations are increasingly gaining the attention of the world's public. Respected organizations such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Helsinki Watch have recently released studies detailing the terror that the Soviets and the Karmal regime regularly inflict on the people of Afghanistan. Karmal's tenuous, and brutal, hold on power continues only because his rule is supported by more than 100,000 Soviet occupation troops.

All Americans are outraged by this growing Soviet brutality against the proud and freedom-loving people of Afghanistan. Moreover, the entire world community has condemned the outside occupation of Afghanistan. Six times, in fact, the UN General Assembly has passed strong resolutions -- supported by the overwhelming majority of the world's nations -- which have:

-- called for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan;
-- reaffirmed the right of the Afghan people to determine their own form of government and choose their economic, political, and social systems;
-- reiterated that the preservation of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and nonaligned character of Afghanistan is essential for a peaceful solution of the problem; and
--- called for the creation of conditions that would enable the Afghan refugees to return voluntarily to their homes in safety and honor.”

Transposing a few phrases, this accurately sums up what is wrong with the American occupation of Iraq. We particularly like the strong condemnation of terror tactics used against civilians – so civilized! So, in the name of Ronald Reagan, I think we can safely condemn as an act of American brutality against the freedom-loving people of Fallujah (wow, freedom-loving even back in 1984!), call for the immediate withdrawal of foreign, i.e. American and British and their coalition of the servile, from Iraq, as well as the creation of conditions that would allow refugees in Iraq to return voluntarily in safety and honor, with reparations, to Fallujah. We think reparations can be put at roughly 100 thou per person.

Do it for the Gipper.