Thursday, February 27, 2003

Human Shields or Crash Test Dummies?

The Media Research Center has an article about ABC's coverage of human shields. ABC reporter Dan Harris said:
But human rights lawyers say if the Pentagon bombs places inhabited by human shields that too would be a war crime.
I'm sure Emperor Misha would have a few choice words to say about this, but suffice it to say that if bombing human shields is a war crime and if it is prosecutable, then dictators can do whatever they want whenever they want; because said dictators can always find useful idiots to be their crash test dummies. Kim Il Jong should think about stocking up now before the holiday rush.

Pardon me while I have a strange interlude:

[First there is only mist; and then slowly the mist fades, revealing a Dantesque scene of several men submerged up to their necks in a foul-smelling conglomeration of garbage, bovine waste, hog swill, and corpses.]

Hitler: That Saddam is a wunderkind! We tried to overcome our enemies with blitzkriegs, purges, and gulags, when all we needed to do was to cull a few useful idiots from our enemies' own citizenry.

Stalin: I know; it makes a dictator sick just to think about it. Come to think of it, I should of used some German citizens as shields when you came a-calling.

Hitler: Yeah, like that could've happened. The German people would never allow themselves to be used as human shields. Now Russians on the other hand ...

Stalin: Never! The Russian people would never consort with the enemy, you addle-minded fascist kraut.

Hitler: Listen, you peasant commie ...

Mao: May I interrupt!

Hitler and Stalin: [In unison.] No!

Mao: [Continuing anyway.] Do you know that I never brushed my teeth? Why? Does a lion brush his teeth?

Lenin: Crikey Mao, you've mentioned that about bajillion times already. Yes, lions do brush their teeth--by chewing on bones, you twit. Seeing as we're going to be in this muck for a really long time, can't you say something else?

Mao: [Hemming and hawing.] Um, what about tigers?

[Lenin jumps Mao and they struggle in the muck. Stalin jumps Hitler and they do the same. A faint voice can barely be heard ...]

Chamberlain: It's good to see that we have peace in our time ...

[Strange Interlude ends.]

Harris worried about how the human shields "are facing" the "problem" of "how to avoid being tools of the Iraqi government" when the regime is providing food and housing.
Ah yes, the eternal problem of how to avoid being used a toady when you are one. Spicoli, er, Sean Penn never did figure that one out.
Ryan Clancy, a 20-something human shield volunteer: "This seemed like a very direct and a very meaningful way to take action and to dissent."
And Saddam thanks you son.
Harris to Clancy: "So are you saying that you're prepared to die?"
Clancy: "Um, nobody here has a death wish, I mean, I don't think any of us want to die."
Considering that Saddam now has a vested interest in killing you, you've made a slight error in judgment. Let's reason that out for the reason-impaired:
  • Take one dictator, known to murder family members and his own citizens.
  • Add one human crash test dummy, supported by the Iraqi government.
  • Now add the premise that if the said crash test dummy dies, Saddam at the very least can use the dummy's demise as a propaganda tool. At the most, he can accuse the U.S. of war crimes.
  • Conclusion: Saddam has a vested interest in killing the dummy.
QED.

Harris concluded: "He says he's not here to protect Saddam Hussein, just the Iraqi people. Dan Harris, ABC News, Baghdad."
This is a beautiful example of what Ernie and I call the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth fallacy. That's the fallacy of pretending either that you don't have an agenda--when you do--or that your agenda is pure and noble and for the sake of the childrenTM--when it's not.

P.S. In the above, I made invidious comparisons between humans shields and crash test dummies. This is deeply unfair to crash test dummies, and I humbly apologize to crash test dummies all over the world, who bravely serve the human race by making sure that our consumer products are safe.