November 19, 2004 [LINK]

Bloody mess in Fallujah

The apparent killing of a wounded Iraqi fighter by U.S. Marines was shocking and appalling, and some worry that it indicates a breakdown in discipline. Like most things in wartime, all this must be seen in proper context. Other U.S. soldiers have been killed by bombs strapped to dead and dying Iraqi combatants. As Clauswitz wrote, war leads to a limitless escalation toward ever-more awful forms of violence, which in our day means that forces fighting terrorist movements are under growing temptation to respond in kind for the lawless brutalities inflicted upon them. For an on-the-scene perspective, see "A Marine Writes Home" at powerlineblog. Lest anyone forget, any pretense about "winning hearts and minds" in the Sunni Fascist heartland is in vain. The die-hard Baathists there will hate us for stripping away the privilege they once enjoyed, no matter what. For the near term, the best we can hope for in that part of Iraq is that there be a respectable turnout in the upcoming elections. No easy task.