I am glad to see that the front-pagers of the Daily Kos appear to have joined Think Progress in their headlong retreat from the charges that our soldiers used ‘chemical weapons’ against innocent civilians and insurgents. The charge was first leveled, of course, by an RAI film crew, and picked up by the usual suspects- George Monbiot, the foreign press, and credulous lefties across the United States.
In backing down, Hunter at Daily Kos* begs us to remember what this is “all really about”:
It’s worth keeping the debate in the light, because indeed, and somewhat miraculously, the more central point in the Fallujah debate is finally being poked at: whether giving Iraqis “freedom” means killing them in large numbers, and whether or not we are in the military position we are in largely because our unquestionable military prowess cannot compensate for the dunderheadedness of our truly contemptible war planning, which relied first on the Iraqis greeting us with flowers, and then when the oft-predicted Iraqi schisms arose and gave way to the oft-predicted violence, taking on entire urban centers in an effort to separate the insurgents from the civilians by way of 2000lb bombs.
This sentiment is echoed by the ‘Moderate’ Voice’s Michael Stickings (really, Joe- what the hell is going on over there?):
Dave makes a valid point: Does it even matter if WP is technically a chemical weapon? Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the use of WP as a weapon? Or, that is, shouldn’t the discussion focus on whether or not WP is a useful, legitimate, and, well, morally defensible weapon? (Or, perhaps, morality doesn’t matter on the battlefield? — if so, then say so.) Beyond this, shouldn’t we be concerned with the perception of the use of WP as a weapon in Iraq? Kos is right, after all: WP seems like a duck. How does this affect U.S. credibility in Iraq, throughout the Middle East, and around the world? Does that even matter?
A more disingenuous retreat than the two examples offered here can not be found, because pretending that the very specific charges that our troops used illegal chemical weapons against unarmed and innocent civilians is really all about the larger appropriateness of the battle for Fallujah is tantamount to accusing an innocent man of rape simply to raise the larger issue of sexual assault. This dodge does, however, add some insight into the motives of those who chose to believe and, worse still, repeat these charges, despite the abundance of evidence refuting the charges.
In other words, these posts are yet another indefensible dodge, but par for the course. I, for one, will have more to say on the whole battle for Fallujah another day, but for now am comforted by the notion that at least some on the left appear to no longer think of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as war criminals.
That, in and of itself, is progress enough for me and reason for thanks this Thanksgiving weekend.
Jeff has some related thoughts.