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November 05, 2003

Hitchens & The No-Fly Zone

How can you not love a guy who wrangles out paragraphs like this:

Meanwhile, the no-fly zones managed to protect the Kurds and Shiites from a repeat performance of the mass murders of 1991 and earlier but did not prevent, for example, the planned destruction of the largest wetlands in the Middle East, home to the 5,000-year-old civilization of the Marsh Arabs. The smoke from this drain-and-burn atrocity was visible from the space shuttle. I shall leave open the question of whether "we" had any responsibility to prevent this and other mutilations and tortures of Iraqi society, except to say that the meltdown and trauma of that society, now so visible to all, were always inescapably in our future and would in any case have had consequences beyond themselves for the wider region. The continuation of this regime was indeed an imminent threat, at least in the sense that it was a permanent threat.

I find almost no anti-war partisan today who weighed in against the no-fly zones in the past. The entire argument about the inflammatory nature of an American military presence in the Middle East producing a wave of 'baby Bin Ladens' had no basis in the face of the fact of the effective grounding of the Iraqi Air Force by daily flights by US fighter jets in the region.

The no-fly zones have always been a considerable US expense and always accepted as effective in protecting ethnic Iraqis from Saddam's helicopter gunships and other aerial terror. Let's try not to forget that.

Posted by mbowen at November 5, 2003 02:35 PM

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