Human shields

A fervent segment of the anti-war coalition claims that the U.S. shouldn’t use military force in disarming Iraq. Military force, they say, will take a heavy toll on innocent civilian lives when the U.S. moves in to remove Saddam Hussein. To insure that this type of human catastrophe occurs, dozens of anti-war protesters have ascended on Iraq and have asked their hosts to place them at strategic points throughout the country as “human shields.”

Of course, Saddam is glad to take them up on their offer since this means he can use less of his own people for the same exact purpose. This international group, which left England last month, is led by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War. Some of the protesters have been assigned positions along bridges crossing the Euphrates River while others are at weapons facilities and power plants some of which were hit during the 1991 attack on Iraq.

If any of these protesters get their wish and perish during a bombardment, will the deaths count as those of “innocent” civilians? There’s a difference between an activist who places daisies in the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle at a student protest and the activist who stares into the barrel of a gun in the middle of a war zone.

Of course, if the CIA had any initiative, it would have already infiltrated this group and waited for the Iraqis to place him or her at one of their hidden chemical weapons facilities. From there, a call could be made to Hans Blix.

These activists who claim their sacrifice is made in the pursuit of peace could have “shielded” other dangerous places if they really wanted to practice what they preach.

Where were the human shields on Sept. 11, 2001? We could have used some in the Pentagon or at the World Trade Center. Human shields would also be welcome at street side cafes in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or in the Gaza Strip.

These “human shields” must realize that war and violence are not exclusively American made.

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