we are better than this

Jim Henley has a powerful moral argument against the recent attack on a "desert caravan" which was purported to have killed Saddam. We still don't know if Saddam's remains will be found, but we do know that :

At about 1:30 a.m., as the four trucks burned, the first of about five missiles struck Hamad's brick house, he said. Although everyone was sleeping outside, debris killed his sister-in-law, 20-year-old Hakima Khalil, and her daughter, Maha. Khalil's husband, Mohammed, was wounded in the foot. Hamad, his 24-year-old brother Mahmoud and his mother, Rasmiya Mishaal, 62, were also hurt. Mahmoud suffered the severest injuries, with deep cuts to his back and face.

Jim notes that Maha was one year old. Is this how we win the peace? But whether or not we actually killed Saddam in this attack is irrelevant. Jim writes:

...we're doing too much of this. Blow it up first, then see if the corpses are the specific people you were aiming for.
Bomb first, swab later. It reduces the risk to American infantrymen at a known cost in lives of innocent foreigners. No surrounding the convoy and demanding surrender, no up close and personal. Hit them with a Hellfire or a helicopter autocannon. Act on "intelligence" that you lack the knowledge and experience to vet. Pick through the cinders to see how you did.

This is wrong. It is the callous policy of an evil government. This was not a wartime operation to capture a strategic crossroads. This was, supposedly, an effort to detain specific fugitives in a country where "major combat operations have ended." In that context it is not moral to kill strangers because one or two of them might be in your deck of cards.

It is callous - and immoral, because (exactly like the IDF in the West Bank), this policy denies all moral responsibility for causing the deaths of innocents. Collateral damage is an immoral and callous concept.

There's another word for this policy besides "callous" however - it is also cowardly. And we as a nation are better than this.

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