Those who know me understand that I am not exactly prone to exercise. How then do I get in the 20 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise that doctors say is essential? I read the op-ed page of the New York Times, of course, and sit back and relax while my blood pressure rises. As always, this Sunday’s column by Maureen Dowd did not fail to give my ticker a week’s worth of exercise. Here’s a little taste of the article:
We’re shocked that the enemy forces don’t observe the rules of war. We’re shocked that it’s hard to tell civilians from combatants, and friends from foes. Adversaries use guerrilla tactics; they are irregulars; they take advantage of the hostile local weather and terrain; they refuse to stay in uniform. Golly, as our secretary of war likes to say, it’s unfair.
No, Maureen, we’re not shocked by these actions. We know that we are dealing with a ruthless dictator. We know that he doesn’t care that he is deliberately putting civilians in harms way. We know that nothing would please Saddam more than a huge death toll among his own peaople. Rather, we, as an American people, are not shocked but are pleasantly surpised that we live in a country where we conduct such a moral war that we are willing to endanger U.S. troops rather than unduly harm civilians. In any other country, if the military dressed like civilians, the response would be to shoot first and ask questions later, but not here. And in any other country, if the enemy began waving white flags of surrender as a ploy for ambush, the response would be "take no prisoners," but not here. Thus, we are shocked, and happily so, that our country cares more about the safety and well-being of the Iraqis then their own leadership does. We are immensely proud of the work of our fine men and women overseas, and we will not be confused by the ploys of those, like you, who seek to make weak analogies to Vietnam.