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Arianna’s latest: Why is No One Talking About Casualties?

October 8, 2002
Arianna’s latest: Why is No One Talking About Casualties?

Finally, someone asks the difficult question, and it’s Arianna Huffington: Why Is No One Talking About Casualties?

But no one in the Bush administration is talking about how many of our soldiers will be sent home in body bags. And not a single reporter has stood up at a press conference — or at one of the president’s countless fundraising appearances — and asked, “Mr. President, how many young Americans are going to die?”

She then follows on with this:

And such a bloody outcome is very likely given the kind of urban warfare it’s going to take to oust Saddam. Forget about the caves of Tora Bora or the open desert cakewalk of the last Gulf War. Baghdad is a densely populated city of 4 million people — roughly the same size as Los Angeles. Picture our troops having to battle their way down Hollywood Boulevard in search of a lone madman.

“We have to be prepared to fight block by block in Baghdad,” says Gen. Joseph Hoar, the former commander in chief of the military’s central command. “All our advantages of command and control, technology, mobility, all of those things are in part given up and you are working with corporals and sergeants and young men fighting street to street. It looks like the last 15 minutes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’.” Or every frame of “Black Hawk Down.”

The possible number of casualties related to going into Baghdad are up in the air; some are saying upwards of 10,000-50,000. There are supposedly new theories and tactics that have been tested (granted, not all of them were tried at the debacle I just linked to) pertaining to urban fighting, but nonetheless, are we prepared to launch an old-fashioned siege of Baghdad, encircling the city like some 21st Century Leningrad and starving the people into ousting Hussein? This is something I’ve heard about when it comes to *new* doctrines that may be employed. If true — and let me reiterate that I’m going on hearsay — I become even more opposed to the war.

Again, let me state this: If true.

Due to Gulf War I, the Clinton strikes on Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, we’ve been lulled into thinking that war is like a Nintendo game — all high-tech with precision munitions. Collateral damage is negligible — unless it happens to be an Afghani wedding party.

What happens when the horrors shown in “Black Hawk Down” become neglible compared to a city of 4 million people defending themselves? Oh, I hear you saying, “But why would they defend the madman?”

They wouldn’t be defending him. They’d be feeling a wave of nationalism which would inspire them onward. Recent reports from Iraq show this wave of nationalism growing; while they hate Saddam, they hate us more. They blame us for eleven years of starvation due to U.N. Sanctions and embargoes, despite the fact that Saddam has taken most of the oil money he made by selling some oil and used it for his own purposes

If you haven’t seen “Black Hawk Down” and think the war is going to be a snap, I highly recommend renting it as soon as you possibly can, as it is an eye-opening experience that is relevant today.