Context is vital in all news reporting, because without it one cannot make reasoned judgments about the importance of any event. Sadly, context is almost always lacking in coverage of both the Iraq conflict and the War against Terror (or, more accurately, Islamo-Fascism). As the events surrounding Haditha or future such incidents unfold, the public will be subject to countless impassioned harangues from commentators and reporters. Far too many of these efforts will fail to provide a context to understand the events in question.
What makes incidents like No Gun Ri, My Lai and perhaps Haditha noteworthy is not the scale of death, but that such incidents are so very rare. The US military takes its obligations under both the Rules of War and its own Rules of Engagement very seriously. All personnel are accountable, unlike our current enemies, for upholding these standards. Those who do not, a remarkably tiny number of people, will face consequences ranging up to criminal punishment. This accountability is painful to watch and even provides succor to both our enemies and our critics. These groups however fail to grasp the fundamental truth: today the US holds itself to a high standard of conduct. Whenever violations occur the US is moving to ensure that the resolution is swift and transparent.
The same cannot be said of our enemies: the Islamo-Fascists and rejectionist Bathiststs (pro-Saddam Sunni Arabs in Iraq). Contrast the US incidents, which were committed by isolated groups without policy sanction, with those committed by our enemies. These groups target as a matter of policy and procedure innocents and often random noncombatants. Consider the weapons that are the hallmark of our enemies: IEDs, blades, and passenger planes.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), hundreds and hundreds of IEDs, ranging from car bombs to homicide bombers to roadside bombs continue to be used in Iraq and around the world. Despite the method of delivery high explosives are indiscriminate killers. Indeed, many thousands of Iraqis: men, women, children, and elderly have been killed, maimed, and traumatized by the IEDs of our enemies. These IEDs have created a toll of carnage vastly exceeding the US troop losses, which is a fact only very rarely noted in media coverage of the conflict.
Blades are yet another weapon of choice for our enemies, but not for combat. They employ blades for the torture and murder of their prisoners. Our enemies butcher, there is no other word for it, they butcher their prisoners The Islamo-Fascists not only behead their prisoners as a matter of policy, but broadcast the grisly spectacle on the internet and film for a worldwide audience. Note the pride of our enemies in this activity and contrast that with the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib incidents, where those responsible are facing judicial proceedings. A simple question: By which group would you rather be held captive the worst of the Americans at Abu Ghraib or the leaders of the Islamo-Fascists?
Any of you remember 9/11? The Islamo-Fascists hijacked 4 passenger planes, which contained scores of noncombatants, and used them for their kamikaze attacks. Reflect for a moment on the cold blooded planning and equally cold blooded execution which was required to carry out this plan. Years of preparation and sizable, for Al Qaeda, commitment of resources went into this terrorist plan. The result: nearly three thousand dead noncombatants and our enemies only regret, that many more thousands of noncombatants were not killed.
These and many other factors should form the basis on which to evaluate events occurring in our continuing struggle against Islamo-Fascism and the Bathist rejectionists. -- Kevin Frei