Saturday, March 29, 2003

City Limits

Simon Jenkins writes on whether or not Baghdad will fall, and he thinks not. I'm suspicious of journalists who hold themselves out as military experts (John Humphreys is another example) and I suspect that a lot of the commentary is based on his belief that cities are better than the country. However there are a couple of interesting snippets:

Geoff Hoon yesterday called the defenders of Baghdad “dastardly” for involving civilians. Wars in cities always do. They are always dirty wars. Mr Hoon cuts off Basra’s water and power and lobs shells into populated areas, knowing full well that this will kill bystanders. With life thus cheapened, it is small wonder defenders fortify schools and hospitals and fail to wear identifying uniforms so Mr Hoon can shoot them.

Not to get on a humanitarian high horse, but we are cutting off the water supply to Basra until they revolt. What do we expect them to do, drown us. If we get some silly fool of an international lawyer trying to find something to try British (but not American) troops on for war crimes do you think cutting off the water supply to a city of a million people will look good?

Another point (which I think is his get out clause if the regime falls in the next couple of weeks):

But history says Baghdad will fall from an act of politics or treachery, not an act of war.

Expect that to happen. In the past few days its been easy to forget that Allied troops are in fact only a few miles from Baghdad.


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