Didn't They Already Get Saddam?
Was Killing Iraqi Children Worth It?
By JACOB G. HORNBERGER
Apri1 4, 2008
A snapshot of the opening scene in the U.S. invasion of Iraq provides
an excellent insight into the immorality and horror of the entire
operation, from start to whenever it finally finishes.
According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, at the outset
of the invasion the U.S. military dropped bombs on a palatial compound
in which Saddam Hussein was hiding. The article states:
"But instead of killing the Iraqi dictator, they had killed Mr.
Kharbit's older brother, Malik al-Kharbit - the very man who had led
the family's negotiations with the C.I.A. to topple Mr. Hussein. The
bombings also killed 21 other people, including children, and the fury
it aroused has been widely believed to have helped kick-start the
insurgency in western Iraq."
Now, that episode has at least two important lessons.
First, prior to the invasion the popular mantra among U.S. officials
and many private Americans was the need to "get Saddam." But as we
often pointed out here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, it was
never going to be just a question of "getting Saddam." Instead, it was
going to be a question of how many Iraqi people, including children,
U.S. forces would have to kill before they "got Saddam."
The article doesn't state whether the U.S. military had actual
knowledge that there were innocent people, including children, in the
compound that it bombed. But it is a virtual certainty that they did
have such knowledge. After all, if their intelligence was sufficiently
good to know that Saddam was hiding in the compound, it had to be
sufficiently good to know that there were other people living in the
compound, including children.
Thus, when the U.S. military dropped those bombs, it had to be with
the full knowledge that they would be killing innocent people in the
process, including the children. And even if they didn't "know" that
there were innocent people in the compound at the time they dropped
the bombs, they knew that there were dropping the bombs in reckless
disregard of whether there were innocent people there or not.
The fact is that U.S. officials didn't care whether there were
innocents, including children, in that compound. Those children and
their parents were obviously considered a small price to pay if Saddam
Hussein had been killed at the outset of the war.
Of course, this attitude would match the attitude taken by U.S.
officials throughout the period of the brutal sanctions that were
enforced from 1991 to 2003. As tens of thousands of Iraqi children
were dying year after year from the sanctions, the U.S. attitude was
that those deaths were a small price to pay for ridding Iraq of Saddam
Hussein. That's why UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, upon being asked
whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi from the sanctions were
worth it, she replied that yes - they were "worth it." She was
expressing the sentiment of the U.S. government, a sentiment that
manifested itself again in the bombing of the compound in which those
Iraqi children and their families were killed.
Second, the killing of those children and their families is just one
example of how U.S. foreign policy has engendered anger and hatred for
the United States, which produces the threat of terrorist retaliation,
which brings about the "war on terrorism," which results in more
interventions, more massive military spending, and ever-increasing
loss of liberty at home.
Let me repeat what the Times article said: "The bombings also killed
21 other people, including children, and the fury it aroused has been
widely believed to have helped kick-start the insurgency in western Iraq."
Now, ask yourself: Why has the U.S. government been occupying Iraq for
the past 5 years? Didn't they already "get" Saddam? Hasn't he already
The answer is that U.S. officials, having "gotten" Saddam must now
"get" the "bad guys" in Iraq. And who are the "bad guys?" They're the
Iraqis who are angry over the killing of Iraqis, including women and
children, who had to be killed in the process of "getting Saddam."
As they continue to bomb all these "bad guys," they continue to kill
more innocents, including more Iraqi children and their families,
which then incites more fury, which then causes more "bad guys" to
join the insurgency. Those additional "bad guys" are then used as the
excuse to continue the occupation of Iraq, an occupation that for
obvious reasons will go on indefinitely.
To state what I consider self-evident moral truths, it was morally
wrong and a grave violation of God's laws to:
(1) attack a country whose government and citizenry had never
attacked the United States;
(2) kill Iraqis, including children and their families, in order
to achieve regime change in Iraq; and
(3) kill Iraqis, including children and their families, in order
to spread "democracy" to Iraq.
One can only wonder whether the American people, in crises of
conscience, will ever confront such issues.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
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