WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- Iraqi officials are claiming, with a maximum show of outrage, that the United States, in dropping more than 1,000 bombs, has injured 200 civilians and killed three. That is a miraculously low number of casualties for so much bombing.
One would think the world's media would be praising America to the skies for its humanity. Instead they broadcast every Iraqi complaint about a civilian injury, and the American explanation, as if it were the real issue.
One would think the "peace" protesters would be giving America heartfelt thanks for its heroic efforts to spare the civilian population. Instead, many of them are calling America "the real terrorist" for the bombing campaign. Strange.
The regime is burning oil fields. It is not easy to get people to torch their own country -- not nearly as easy as it was to torch Kuwait -- but the regime has been trying. It is doing deliberate damage to the ecology and to the country's future. Yet the "peace" and "justice" and "environmental" activists are silent. Strange.
The regime is setting oil fires all around Baghdad to reduce visibility and make bombing less precise. This way, among other things, more civilians will get killed, which is useful for propaganda purpose. And meanwhile it poisons the lungs of everyone in Baghdad with the fumes. The "peace" and "environmental" people are silent. Strange.
Iraq parades POWs on TV and brazenly violates the Geneva Conventions, some of the clearest pieces of international law. The "peace" movement says nothing. It has spent the last few months looking for ways to accuse the United States of violating international law. It seems to view "international law" as something that has meaning only when used as an argument against the United States.
The "peace" movement spoke in favor of filing charges at the International Criminal Court against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein -- as a substitute for going to war against him. But then it fell silent on his crimes just as soon as the United States went to war. Strange.
The United States speaks of bringing the war criminals in Baghdad to justice for their violations of the Geneva Conventions. Now that this is a realistic prospect, not merely an excuse for opposing U.S. action, the "peace" movement no longer has anything to say on the subject. Instead it talks about hauling U.S. officials before the International Criminal Court. Strange.
America humanely explains to the regular Iraqi army how to surrender without putting their lives in danger. Thousands of them want to surrender. Republican Guard people infiltrate normal army units that want to surrender. They stage fake surrenders and start losing battles. It could even be a last-ditch effort to perpetuate the terrorization of the army by the regime, at a time when its powers to terrorize people are breaking down. It does not care how many of its own people it causes to get killed in this way.
The "peace" movement is silent on this. It shows no concern about saving lives. Despite its seemingly unlimited capacity for heaping blame on America, it doesn't really seem interested in pinning blame on actual mass murderers when it runs into them.
Republican Guard people dress in civilian clothing and commit terrorist acts, hoping to create trouble between the U.S. Army and the people, force the United States to apply repressive measures, and if it's lucky, instigate killings that can be exploited for propaganda purposes. The "peace" movement says nothing against this. Instead, it is primed to blame the United States if any such killings results.
The Iraqi regime positively wants America to kill more civilians, for its own propaganda uses. So, it might seem, does the "peace" movement, which uses every death or injury for the same propaganda purposes against the United States. Strange, that it doesn't have anything to say against the regime for its deliberate tactics for getting more people killed.
Or is it really strange?
If we simply change one assumption, all these strange things begin to make perfect sense. Let us stop assuming that the "peace" movement is about peace. Let us try out instead the hypothesis that the "peace" movement is really about enmity toward the United States and the West. Suddenly everything falls into place.
It is a typical case of false advertising. Where are the Truth in Advertising laws when we need them? Journalists should stop referring to "The Peace Movement" with a straight face. Just as they have learned to not to pass on official Iraqi claims with an entirely straight face.
(Ira Straus is U.S. coordinator of the Committee for Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO.)