March 1st, 2007

Strategies for children (Part II): killing them

[Part I, “saving them,” is here.]

Children are the future of any society. This makes them a double-edged sword: since most cultures are devoted to the protection and nurturance of their own children, most societies are uniquely vulnerable when those children are threatened; and therefore children can become effective weapons, tools, and hostages.

Today we see an increasing number of children used as soldiers in the traditional sense, especially in Africa. This strange phenomenon is only possible because advances in weaponry make physical strength far less necessary now than it was in the days of Achilles and Hector. But soldiering itself is by no means the only use of children in war.

Children have often been unintended victims in modern wars which (since World War II) have been fought not only on battlefields (now almost obsolete) but through aerial bombardments that have become more and more refined but still unavoidably kill many noncombatants. During World War II children were never purposely targeted (except, of course, by the Nazis when they killed disabled children and Jewish children in an effort to eliminate those groups). So, although plenty of children died during World War II, most of them were considered regrettable collateral casualties of the technique of total war that featured attacks on civilian populations.

In addition, during World War II children were never purposely placed in harm’s way by their respective countries–except for Germany and Japan, who needed to recruit younger and younger soldiers as the war went on and their populations of available young men were greatly reduced. But this recruitment was done with reluctance, and was a measure of a desperate situation rather than a decision that drafting children would be a good strategic move in and of itself. The above lithograph, made by the German graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz in 1942–the last one she ever completed–was entitled “Seed Corn Must Not Be Ground,” a quote from Goethe referencing the fact that children represent the future and cannot be cannibalized by the present if a society wishes to prosper.

But Islamic totalitarians and terrorists have gone beyond the use of children as conventional fighters, or the killing of the enemy’s children in acts of war that have other intended targets or strategic purposes. Islamic totalitarians and terrorists have not invented the practice of purposely using their own children as perpetrators and tools, to be sure; a precedent occurred during the Vietnam War, for example, when children were pressed into service to throw grenades and to lure GIs into various traps. But they have certainly raised it to a fine art.

This fact raises a terrible and ironic paradox: this phenomenon can only arise in a war against a humane fighting force. The value of using children in this way comes solely from the fact that the soldiers involved would hesitate to kill the children deliberately, and would feel terrible guilt about doing so–and he who hesitates is often lost. So, the more humanely a fighting force operates, it seems that the more likely it will be to encounter an enemy willing to sacrifice its own children in an attempt to foil that enemy.

Golda Meir famously said: Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. And if “love” can be measured as the desire to protect from harm, it could be argued that at this point Israeli society “loves” Palestinian children more than the Palestinians themselves do, since the Israelis kill them only reluctantly, and Palestinians send them and encourage them to purposely kill and be killed (sometimes both simultaneously). I’ve written about this phenomenon before, likening the Palestinians to the Pied Piper, luring their own children to seek death while promising them beautiful rewards.

It’s an almost inescapable but horrifying conclusion that if US and Israeli and other fighting forces were less intent on protecting children, fewer children would be purposely sent into harm’s way by the fanatics of the Moslem world. And, likewise, if the western MSM were not so intent on publicizing their deaths and criticizing those who kill them more than than they criticize the people who send those children out to be killed, the propaganda value in the West of the whole operation would be nil, and there probably would be less reason for the adults to put them in harm’s way. This represents a conundrum of major proportions.

Of course, their killings would still retain propaganda value in the Arab world; the deaths of children are excellent for stirring up rage against the West in the so-called Arab street; just watch al Jazeera if you don’t think so. Thus we have the strange (and, I believe, unprecedented) phenomenon of leaders who sacrifice their own society’s children in order to inflame their own populace against an enemy. This could not be done without the cooperation of the mass media in those countries.

But the violent use of children by Islamist totalitarians and terrorists is hardly limited to the above. They also know that most societies–and Israel is certainly an example of this–love their own children and are especially outraged and wounded by their deaths. And so, in recent years, Israeli children have been purposely targeted more and more in suicide bombings. My own recollection of the beginning of this particular strategy was the Sbarro pizza bombing of August 2001, in the first year of the bloody second intifada (and if you follow that link and scroll down a bit you’ll find some moving photos and short biographies of the victims of that bombing).

At the time, it seemed an odd and ominous–and puzzling–turn of events to target a pizza place, where families and children were likely to congregate. Now, of course, we’ve lost whatever innocence we had back then about the intentions of an attack such as this, or its frequency; it now seems to be business as usual, losing none of its horror but most of its surprise through frequent repetition.

What’s the point of such an act? The point, or course, is terror; there are few things more heartbreaking to a society than the loss of its children, and it can demoralize a country.

But terror of this nature—or any nature—is a double-edged sword. The London blitz during World War II, for example, probably served more to stiffen the spine of the British than to cause them to lose heart and think about giving up. The more implacable and heartless an enemy seems to be, the more hated it can become, and the more the public might become mobilized and energized to fight that enemy.

Although aerial bombardment of civilians occurred prior to World War II, it came of age during that conflict and was heavily used by both sides. Some of the bombardment was strategic and aimed at military and industrial targets, but some (on both sides–and the extent of this is on our side a hotly contested issue) was definitely aimed at weakening the will of the civilian population to fight (and see this, an interesting discussion of how the factor of civilian expectations play into this calculus). But no aerial bombardment specially targeted children. At any rate the technique of aerial bombing now has become so refined now that casualties are relatively limited compared to the bad days of World War II.

It appears that modern warfare of the insurgency/terrorist variety, particularly in the Arab world, has brought new features to the use of children’s lives as pawns and consolidated some old ones. Advancements in the humaneness of warfare by the West have had the paradoxical effect of leading to a war in which that morality is turned on its head and used against those countries who attempt to practice it.

What’s the answer to the dilemma? There is no good one, I’m afraid. The desire to be humane is at odds with the waging of war itself, it would seem. But even that answer –the answer given by pacifists, which is to avoid war–is no solution at all, and allows the strong and immoral to dominate the weak and moral (see this for my thoughts on the subject). Even the international rules of war are designed for a different place and a different time, and for an enemy playing a different game.

68 Responses to “Strategies for children (Part II): killing them”

  1. Wild Rice Says:

    Make a citizen’s arrest…“:

    No need because, “We live under the Rule of Law”.

  2. Some Guy Says:

    The reluctance to use children on the battlefield is something of an historical aberration. Clausewitz was, after all, thirteen when he first saw action against the French. Most armies throughout history employed children in some manner or other; the big question is not “why now?” but rather “why again?”

  3. TalkinKamel Says:

    Children are life, and, therefore, the terrorists hate them, since they hate life. No wonder then, that they slaughter them, their own children and everybody else’s.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    TalkinKamel: Yes, there is a psychological and nihilistic component too, I believe. This is also part of the current Iraqi campaign against university students, in my opinion.

  5. Trimegistus Says:

    Even the Muslim terrorists wouldn’t bother using children as weapons and shields if they weren’t guaranteed the collaboration of Western media. If our news media didn’t run the terrorist propaganda there would be no value in getting kids killed, and the terrorists wouldn’t bother.

    This war isn’t between Islam and the West. It’s between the Western liberal media and Western civilization; Islam is just the latest proxy army recruited by the Left in this long struggle.

  6. stumbley Says:

    Neo, war is hell, to echo a famous quote. The way to end war is to wage it unmercifully—to break the will of the enemy, and to convince him of the futility of continued fighting. The reason that terrorism works as a tactic is that it degrades the will of the terrorized before it depletes the will of the terrorists, precisely—as you’ve stated—because of the morality of the terrorized populace. I’m afraid that the only way to win a “war on terrorism” is to become like the terrorists in their disregard for the sanctity of life; to punish the populations that harbor them such that the terrorists are unwelcome anywhere.

  7. DeShawn Q. Williams Says:

    Who is a “child”? Less than a hundred years ago, in civilized, Victorian England, orphaned children were put to work in factories, for retrieving small objects that fell underneath machines (because their limbs were suitably small) — and they often lost their hands doing so.

    The notion of “childhood” as something sacred is very recent, even in our own (western) societies.

    And here in the USA 47 million people right now are without health insurance. Many of them are children. What are we doing about that?

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Thanks for trying to tacke this issue, Neo. I think Grim produced some more solution orientated themes, when I read his post about the same subject, which a lot of people simply could not understand what he was talking about.

    You are not going to like this.

    On the demonstrable virtues of not caring if children die, on hardening your mind for war, and other things we can no longer avoid discussing.

    Beware that you are ready before you pass this seal.


    “Not so,” I answer. “Consider: when the enemy seeks to kill our child to motivate us to surrender to his will, is it not because he believes that the danger to the children will move our hearts?”

    “It is,” she must agree.

    “And when he hides among children,” I add, “why? Children do little to deflect artillery. Must it not be because he knows that we — we ourselves — fear for the children, even his children?”

    She nods, silently.

    “Then it is proven,” I say. “It is our love of these innocents that endangers them. If we did not care if children died, they would be in little danger.”

    “That cannot be,” she replies in anger.

    “But it is so,” I contest. “If we did not care if our children died, they would not be targets. There would be no reason to target them, because we would not be moved by their deaths.

    “If we did not care if their children died,” I add, “there would be no reason to clutter military emplacements with their presence. If it were not that we are horrified by the deaths of children, the enemy’s children would be clear of all places of battle — because they are, except for the fact that we love them, a hindrance.”

    She bites her lip.

    “Of course, we cannot cut out our hearts,” I tell her. “Nor should we — as we wish to remain men, and good men, rather than monsters. Yet it is our love that is the chief danger to the innocent now — to our own innocents, and theirs also.”

    Be sure to read the rest for the conclusion.

  9. Lee Says:

    While Hitler did not “intentionally” target children, he did introduce “terror bombing” against civillian targets(Rotterdam the first example). The British retaliated in kind. In fact, there are some parallels to the current conflict in Iraq. When the Battle of Britain did not bring about the desired result of U.K.’s surrender, he(Hitler) shifted from bombing military to civillian targets. When Al-Qaeda warned the population of Iraq it would see participation in elections as “collaberation”, it’s targets shifted from military to civillian as well. The only difference was Hitler wanted to demonstrate that “resistance was futile”, while with the terrorists, it is because the populace has “defied the will of Allah”, and thus deserve their fate.

  10. Lee Says:

    What an impotent god. “My” God doesn’t need me to bring about “His will” on earth.

  11. Lee Says:

    And DeShawn, what are YOU doing about all the uninsured?

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    He’s just changing the subject to his home turf. Sun Tzu tactic.

  13. Zendo Deb Says:

    Actually, I always thought that it is only lately we have come to view the under 18 crowd as “children.”

    Take the civil war for example, while the minimum age for enlistment was 17, thousands younger than that served on both sides. And there was no age limit on drum and bugle boys before 1864.

    In the eighteenth century the Royal Navy encouraged boys as young as nine to enlist as ‘servants’ (the lower age limit was raised to 13 in 1794). They acted as cabin boys to officers and senior seamen, but they were also apprentice seamen, ‘learning the ropes’ (literally) as they underwent sail training on the rigging. During battles they were made to carry water and gunpowder, earning them the nickname “powder monkeys”.

  14. Senescent Wasp Says:

    Historically, childhood, and the later term “teenager”, are relatively new concepts and depend upon a number of socio-economic and class factors to be expressed.

  15. Lee Says:

    In fact, I can’t remember where, but someone said Rock and Roll “created” teenagers.

  16. Lee Says:

    It should be so obvious that the “old” tell the “young” that the greatest glory is to die in “Allah’s cause”, while the “old” get “older” and the “young” get “killed”.

  17. BattleofthePyramids Says:

    The solution to this dillemma is simple and direct. We must become more brutal, more ruthless, and more bloodthirsty than the terrorists. we must, in simple terms, out-terrorize the terrorists and the populations and countries that support them. That is the only way to win.

  18. DeShawn Q. Williams Says:

    Lee wrote: It should be so obvious that the “old” tell the “young” that the greatest glory is to die in “Allah’s cause”, while the “old” get “older” and the “young” get “killed”.

    Yeah, rather like President Bush (who was gambolling in Texas during the Vietnam War) is sending our country’s young soldiers to a quagmire of a war.

    All for the greater glory etc. of course.

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    Yeah, rather like President Bush (who was gambolling in Texas during the Vietnam War) is sending our country’s young soldiers to a quagmire of a war.

    We live under the Rule of Law. Is that too inconvenient for you?

  20. Lee Says:

    In fact, DeShawn, Bush did exactly what the lefties of the time “expected” him to do: avoid service in an unjust and illegal war.
    Go to Canada, go to jail, get into the reserve; otherwise, YOU are the baby-killer(like John Kerry). At least he took his chances. Guard units were routinely rotated in and out of Vietnam(in fact, the Colorado ANG flew more sorties and dropped more tonnage than ANY Air Force unit, regular, reserve, or guard in it’s tour). Unlike Bubba, who didn’t serve AT ALL. In fact, people like you said that’s what “civillian authority” was all about. Right, hypocrite?

  21. Lee Says:

    I didn’t hear you say anything about Clinton’s hypocracy for sending troops into harm’s way(Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Somalia).

  22. Wild Rice Says:

    We live under the Rule of Law.“:

    If we lived under the Rule of Law then President Bush, among others, would be under indictment for war crimes.

  23. Lee Says:

    But Wild Reich, the fact that we do live under the rule of law is PRECISELY why Bush is NOT indicted. He HASN’T violated any law.

  24. Wild Rice Says:

    He HASN’T violated any law.“:

    Are you denying that, on March 20 2003, the United States invaded Iraq?

  25. Lee Says:

    And which law, specifically did that violate, Wild Reich?

  26. Lee Says:

    Not that it has anything to do with wether Islam uses it’s children as human shields and soldiers; but I’ll indulge you for a while.

  27. Lee Says:

    Take your time, Wild Reich, I have to go, but I’ll be back.

  28. Wild Rice Says:

    And which law…“:

    A prima facie case exists (i.e. that the invasion of Iraq occurred is indisputable) under Chapter I of the UN Charter. The UN Charter was incorporated into US law on July 28 1945.

    Although a case exists under Chapter I of the UN Charter I suspect that a good prosecutor could find many other violations of US law.

  29. DeShawn Q. Williams Says:

    Lee wrote: I didn’t hear you say anything about Clinton’s hypocracy for sending troops into harm’s way(Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Somalia).

    Of course Clinton is an unprincipled hypocrite. Bush at least has principles (although they are wrong principles), whereas Clinton had no principles at all.

    But Clinton is no longer president of the country. He no longer poses a danger to our country’s principles. Currently, Bush is president, and he is undermining the principles our country is founded on. So, why should I waste my time criticizing Clinton, who is no longer in a position to do any damage? (I don’t waste my time criticizing Richard Nixon or Ulysses Grant either).

  30. Lee Says:

    My point, Deshawn, is that you didn’t criticize Clinton AT THE TIME. And today, the very arguments you use against Bush are the VERY SAME arguments people used in DEFENSE of Clinton. And Wild Reich, if the invasion of Iraq violates Chapter I of the U.N. Charter, why did the U.N. authorize such invasion?

  31. Lee Says:

    U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, in case you need to look it up.

  32. Lee Says:

    By the way, I needed to look it up, too.

  33. Tom Holsinger Says:

    The appropriate solution to this is the one we would have adopted had the A-Bomb not convinced the Japanese to surrender – kill them all until the survivors change their minds. See my old Strategy Page article – When A Democracy Chose Genocide.

    Destroying the society which so uses and destroys its children, like mad dogs are destroyed, eliminates the threat, protects the innocent in our own and other countries, and has an almighty deterrent effect on other bad actors.

  34. Sally Says:

    … I suspect that a good prosecutor could find many other violations of US law.

    Found any good prosecutors lately, Ricey? Hmm? What’s that you say? Nothing?

    Thought so. Riceroni has been trying to play a lawyer here for a while, and thinks that using phrases like “prima facie case” impresses anyone. The obvious proof of the sheer, empty stupidity of this fantasy is that in all of the US not a single such “good prosecutor” can be found.

    That’s all right. He can always fall back on his news clippings, from the New Pravda, etc.

  35. colagirl Says:

    A fascinating post, neoneocon. You’ve very neatly described the truly agonizing dilemma terrorism forces on the humane. You also neatly pointed out this dilemma wouldn’t be quite so nasty or have as much “teeth” as it does if the mass media did not (willingly?) make themselves available as a transmission vector. The media has, at the very least, been often blind to the way it has allowed itself to be used, and the ends to which it lets itself be put. Does that make them partly culpable? I don’t know….

    I look forward to your move to the new blog.

  36. Sergey Says:

    The best way to eliminate the need to wage conventional warfare is using covert actions to destabilaze and change enemy governments. To do it smoothly you need train and educate alternative leadership from political refugees, execute targeted assasinations of enemy leaders by special task forces, then occupy the territory and establish military rule for several years, as was done in Germany and Japan. Any resistance should be quelled with utmost cruelty immediately, with public executions of offenders and collective punishment of supporting neiborhoods. (For example, taking hostages from elders and most reverend community leaders, as Brits did in Palestine during first Arab intifada.) Complete disarmamement of population with shooting at spot for having arms. This all is nothing new and was successfully used in colonial warfare. And this will keep kids out of war more surely than any other tactic.

  37. Wild Rice Says:

    U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441…“:

    Resolution 1441 not authorize any country to invade another. President Bush is free to use this Resolution in his defense but, I suspect, if he does so with no other elements then he will be convicted.

  38. Senescent Wasp Says:

    The child combatant problem is especially bad in Africa.

    The Western middle classes, in the last hundred years or so have romanticized and extended childhood. Compare and contrast this to some oriental cultures where filial piety allows children to be used as a sort of investment capital for living social security.

    BTW, Wild Reich, as has been pointed out so often here, there is no such thing as “international law” outside of agreements regarding contract law. This is evidenced by the fact that there are no international police with extra national powers to detain or use force.

    But, hey, no one is stopping you from putting on a cereal box badge and strapping on a cap pistol and doing the job yourself. In fact, get some friends to go along. The Secret Service protection detail will be understanding when you tell them you’re a international posse enforcing “international law”. Watta putz.

  39. Wild Rice Says:

    …there is no such thing as international law…“:

    I have not mentioned international law. I am not talking about international law. I am talking about US law. I take it that you do agree that US law exists.

  40. Senescent Wasp Says:

    What’s the point of your dumb back linking?

    My point still holds. Make a citizen’s arrest if you’re so sure. Get your friends together, it’s called voting and electing, and enforce the law then. But, for cripes sake, stop whining and grow a spine.

  41. Sally Says:

    I am talking about US law.

    No he’s not. No doubt he wishes he were, but he’s just talking about his own fervent imagination. Trolls are quite shameless about that sort of thing.

  42. Ariel Says:

    So where is the impeachment for High Crimes? He can’t be prosecuted until after the impeachment. Hope he doesn’t perjure or suborn perjury.

  43. Wild Rice Says:

    He can’t be prosecuted until after the impeachment.“:

    If you cast you mind back to the Watergate grand jury you may remember that it was not clear that the the indictment of the president needed to be preceded by his or her removal by Congress. In the event the proposition was not tested.

  44. TC Says:

    Interesting and generally well written article, Neo.

    I have to take exception to the part about Israel loving Palestinian children more then they do themselves, which I think is patently ridiculous.

    Yes the practice of using children as weapons is immoral and should be rejected regardless of the pretext(resistance to occupation), but the IDF are generally cold and callous towards Palestinians and their children. The occupation is brutal and the IDF cannot and should not be viewed as ‘restrained’ in their treatment of the Palestinians.

    And yes there has been the purposeful targeting of children by the IDF – documented and ongoing.

    Yesterday the BBC reported the death of a 12 year old Palestinian by the IDF….

  45. TalkinKamel Says:

    My own impression is that the Western Middle-class, of late, romanticizes teenagers (a very recent development, by the way) and tends to degrade, or denigrate, actual childhood, and children. The drive this point in time seems to be to push children into teenagerhood as quickly as possible, and encourage adults to stay there as long as possible. We’re losing both the idea of real maturity, and childhood innocence.

    I do agree with you, Neo, that there is something nihilistic and life-hating in the Islamists’ use of children, far more so then the West’s use of child soldiers in the past. And the Industrial Revolution was certainly hard on many children, but we no longer force 10 year olds to work in factories, or send out small boys to assist soldiers and sailors on the front.

  46. TalkinKamel Says:

    That’s very touching, the BBC’s report of the Palestinian boy’s death, TC.

    When Israelis are murdered by a homicide bomber, even if the majority of them are children, the report will be something like “16 Israelis died in an explosion earlier today.” No mention of names, ages, and nothing like “Hamas killed 16 Israelis in a playground today, 10 of whom were under the age of 8.”

    And aren’t the palestinians just a wee bit callous and cold towards their own kids, when they encourage them to strap on bombs and blow themselves to bloody shreds in order to become martyrs? And what about the ghoulish Palestinian “entertainment” industry, that urges kids to become shaheeds, and promises them Paradise if they’ll just blow themselves up, taking a few Jews along with them? Remember, this is these kids’ own parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, teachers urging them to do this, not cold and callous IDF agents.

    The evil of this is, to me, beyond mere words.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    And yes there has been the purposeful targeting of children by the IDF – documented and ongoing.

    Yesterday the BBC reported the death of a 12 year old Palestinian by the IDF….
    TC | 03.02.07 – 9:56 am | #

    Clueless, neo, quite clueless. I guess some people can’t wrap their heads around the notion that the Palestinians want the IDF to kill their children, that is why you have these “reports”. Which are not indicative of IDF targeting of children, since why use guns when you can use bombs and artillery to kill them on a mass scale? Except we see one here, one there, a Qana if the Palestinians aren’t seeing enough dead children.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    Bush was already tried as a war criminal. You just have to get him.

  49. TalkinKamel Says:

    So, all those who want to get Bush should simply go out and make a citizen’s arrest, as Senescent Wasp suggests (heh, heh, heh, I’d like to see that.)

    And if they don’t want to do that, they should just stop complaining.

  50. TalkinKamel Says:

    Ymarsakar, some people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that the Palestinians might, just possibly might, be responsible for their own troubles. They’ve acquired such an iconic status on the Left they can no longer be criticized for anything.

    And given the BBC’s notorious anti-Jewish bias, a report from them doesn’t really convince me of anything.

    The Palestinian cult of sacrificing kids as “martyrs”—backed up by education, “pediatricians”, and their whole, horrid entertainment industry (Cartoons containing doe-eyed characters, musical videos, popular songs, etc.) all glorify the idea of death, and murder. As I said earlier, for me, words don’t begin to describe such evil.

  51. TalkinKamel Says:

    I’d also just like to point out that the Hamas, and Hizbollah, honchos don’t sacrifice their own kids—gee, why not, if bloody martyrdom is so wonderful for the little ones?

    Arafat’s daughter lived like a little princess in Paris with her mummy, in a swanky Parisian hotel, doubtless paid for by the vast amounts of money Arafat stole from Palestinian foreign aid, as he was urging Palestinian kids to go out and kill Jews.

  52. Richard Aubrey Says:

    As more than one commentator has mentioned, the use of western human shields in the ME presumes, on the part of the shields and those who employ them, that our morality is superior to the locals’. Shielding wouldn’t work if we didn’t give a bleep about those morons.
    When the poseurs went to Iraq in 2003, they wanted to shield such things as orphanages. Saddaam’s planners knew orphanages already had shields–known, technically, as “orphans”–and wanted the shields to stand in front of military targets. Even western human shields could see what that meant and went home.

    The same goes for the use of children as home-grown shields. They wouldn’t work if we gave a bleep. And, not working, the logistical difficulties of getting them on site would be worthless. Hence, as neo points out, fewer would be killed.

    The left loves children, particularly if they’re dead at the hands of the west in some fashion. If there aren’t enough of them, our enemies fake it. See Mohammed al Dura. But mostly they manage to hide among the children and be sufficiently militarily annoying as to demand an attack, thus succeeding in giving the left what it wants, children dead at the hands of the west. Or, if the western soldiers hesitate, the left gets the next best thing, dead western soldiers.

    As regards children dead in war, leftists are like those who bought slaves. They create the market. Nobody would have gone to the trouble of capturing slaves if there was nobody who would buy them. And the enemies of the west wouldn’t bestir themselves to get children killed if the left weren’t so delighted in the prospect and skilled in making political hay from it.

  53. Terri Says:

    Without getting into whether is was a good plan or not, I think it’s only fair to note that the US DID target children in terms of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 100,000 civilians died immediately. We knew there would be children there and did so purposefully.
    I am by no means equating those casualties to your main point just suggesting that it needs to be part of the conversation.
    A good post none the less!

  54. Ymarsakar Says:

    No, Terri, what Neo means, and what targeting means, is that when you target children, you are doing so for a percieved military gain.

    If it was possible to evacuate Hiroshima of all children without a concurrent negative military loss by the US, we would have done so. Because the bombs weren’t designed to kill children, they were designed to kill adults and war material.

    Purpose is the act of achieving a goal. The goal was to make Japan surrender and thus spare both sides from more death, the goal wasn’t to kill more children. Get that clear, at the least.

    People tend to confuse the target with the means.

    Thus the purpose of terrorists is to win, and they see children as a military advantage. If you want to save the children and prevent them from being killed, you can either surrender as Japan did. Or you can defeat the Islamic Jihad, which would stop their targeting of children. Or you can remove the military gain of human/child shields, which removes the reason behind the the Islamic Jihad targetting of children.

    The US did not target children in Japan. There was no military gain, no purpose, no goal, and no rhyme or reason to do so. In point of fact, as seen on Saipan, it was the Japanese propaganda that caused Japanese mothers to throw their children to their deaths on the rocks below. Not American targeting of Japanese children.

  55. Richard Aubrey Says:


    Yeah. The term “target” as a verb means intent.
    That somebody is hit by an action is taken as meaning the intent was there.
    This obfuscation is deliberate. People like Terri aren’t stupid enough to do this in ignorance.
    She wanted to imply that we made a decision that killing children for the sake of killing children was a good idea.
    Not true, of course, but the current insouciance toward actual words and actual meanings is a big help in misrepresenting facts.

  56. TalkinKamel Says:

    Seriously, Teri, I think Neo is talking about stuff such as the deliberate recruitment of children as homicide bombers, sending them into Pizza parlors and malls in order to kill other children; or putting them (willing or not) into your army, in hopes that they’ll act as human shields for the adult soldiers, or encouraging them to, attack soldiers on the other side by throwing rocks, etc.

    The US wasn’t deliberately attacking the children of Hiroshima; it was trying to end the war, and prevent having to mount an invasion of Japan, in which not only a lot of American soldiers, but a lot of Japanese, including children, would have died.

    Again, while we’re playing the moral equivalence game, the Japanese themselves killed a lot of Chinese children, in such atrocities as the “Rape of Nanking”, and they can’t claim that that these kids weren’t targets, or the atrocities they committed just part of trying to win the war.

    The Nazis did, deliberately target Jewish children from a eugenical standpoint, since they wanted to wipe out the Jews; young children and pregnant women were almost invariably sent to the gas chambers, since they were considered useless for work. And, after the allies won WWII, the Russian army was notoriously cruel to the German populace, raping children and young German girls. And, again, they can’t plead the excuse that these innocents weren’t really targets, they were just faceless civilians in a battle to win the war.

    This should be part of the conversation too.

  57. Ymarsakar Says:

    That was me up above. I think that Terri is right ONLY in the sense that the US accepted the collateral and unintended damage of the nuclear bomb because the US believed that there was benefit to ending the war if the bomb was used in the way it was used and in the target (city) that it was used on.

    This, of course, is not Neo’s main subject for her post, although she perhaps might have mentioned it peripherally.

  58. Lee Says:

    It should also be noted that leaflets were dropped warning the population. While not very effective for obvious reasons, it does show we at least did as much as possible under the circumstances to avoid ANY civillian deaths.

  59. Lee Says:

    And Wild Reich, you are ALWAYS insisting Bush has violated U.S. law. Cite the statute. Present your case before a Federal judge. This IS The United States of America, and here we live by the rule of law. If your case is solid, it will proceed.

  60. Lee Says:

    To paraphrase: “Any number of good prosecutors could make a case.” Line them up and march them into court. If it’s so “open and shut” as you insist, why hasn’t it happened yet? There sure is enough animosity toward the guy(Bush) lately. “Scooter” all you want?

  61. stumbley Says:

    Lee, WR has repeatedly insisted that the UN Charter is part of US law because “treaties” become part of US law based on language in the Constitution. While it’s a stretch, I don’t believe the UN Charter actually qualifies as a “treaty” (even though the State Dept. has it listed as such on its web site). In any event, that’s what WR is referring to when he insists that the US is breaking “laws”. Again, as has been pointed out repeatedly, and probably because of that, needs no further elucidation—since there’s no way of enforcing said “law”, it really has no effect, other than in WR’s fevered imagination.

  62. Lee Says:

    Yeah, stumbley. W. Reich’s problem is that U.N. resolutions aren’t worded so 2nd graders can understand them. Since resolution 1441 doesn’t “specifically” say: “Bush, you and your coalition go to Bagdhad and get Saddam Hussein”, he thinks it’s not a clear authorization for the coalition to use any necessary means to enforce other U.N. resolutions and the cease-fire agreement. Note he never gives us HIS interpretation of resolution 1441. He just says it “doesn’t” say what “we think” it says. Then why did the Security Council go to a whole lot of trouble just to say “Now we’re really, really, REALLY mad!”

  63. Wild Rice Says:

    …since there’s no way of enforcing said law…“:

    Of course there is. There is a system of federal courts. Have you not noticed?

  64. stumbley Says:

    “There is a system of federal courts. Have you not noticed?”

    What I’ve noticed, WR, is that no one except you is noticing.

    “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

    “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

    “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

  65. DeShawn Q. Williams Says:

    Lee wrote: My point, Deshawn, is that you didn’t criticize Clinton AT THE TIME. And today, the very arguments you use against Bush are the VERY SAME arguments people used in DEFENSE of Clinton.

    I did criticize Clinton at that time. I hope you’re not assuming that I supported Clinton or the Democrats. I did not / do not.

    In both the 2000 and 2004 elections, I volunteered for the Ralph Nader election campaign. Just so you know.

  66. purchase dalmadorm Says:

    purchase dalmadorm…

    neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Strategies for children (Part II…

  67. Jay McKee Says:

    Just an attaboy for a job well done, ms neo-neocon.

    You have vaulted up my list of most interesting and must-see things to read

  68. Vince P Says:

    The first bomb attack on Benzar Bhutto was via the use of an INFANT as bomb. They tried to get Beazar to hold the baby but through their behavior they raised the concerns of people around them and the Benaziir did not get killed when the baby exploded.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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