Posted on February 18, 2003


Saddam's Stooges

Human shields know they're siding with evil


Daniel Clark



Hundreds of activists, many of them from the United States, have set off for Iraq, where they intend to serve as human shields against American and allied bombing. Their professed purpose is to defend innocent Iraqi civilians. How they mean to achieve that is not readily apparent.

"None of us is saying that we're going to support Saddam," assures organizer Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe. "We're going to be with the Iraqi people." O'Keefe is the founder of the Universal Kinship Society, which has launched a project called "Truth Justice Peace Human Shield Action." A veteran of the Gulf War, he claims that experimental drugs administered by the Army caused a child of his to be stillborn about seven years later. He also believes the war exposed him to depleted uranium dust, which is widely believed to be the cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Like a comic book villain, O'Keefe starts out being motivated by grievances to which most people would be sympathetic, but then he goes way, way outside the socially acceptable channels for seeking redress.

Saddam: the accidental beneficiary

The UKS website prominently displays an endorsement from venomously anti-American academic Noam Chomsky, who writes, "Dear Ken, I'm very impressed to find out about what you are doing, and would like to express my strongest support and encouragement for these brave actions." (Actually, Noam, your strongest support would be to join him. Please do.) The site lamely pictures George W. Bush next to Adolf Hitler, juxtaposing completely unrelated quotes from the two, as if they were somehow eerily similar. It dubs Bush a "global terrorist." on a page dedicated to advising Americans on how to renounce their U.S. citizenship and become "World Citizens." O'Keefe considers himself to be a citizen of the "Hawaiian Nation," which he calls "the Tibet of the Pacific."

He even believes that U.S. citizenship is itself unconstitutional (according to the "organic Constitution," that is). Therefore, he views the Fourteenth Amendment, which defines "citizens of the United States" as an instrument of tyranny.

O'Keefe reveals his latest delusion when he says he's not supporting Saddam Hussein. That's no more realistic than the claims by so many people who attended the Million Man March that they weren't supporting Louis Farrakhan. The man and the mission are inseparable.

These American and European "anti-war" activists are going to serve Saddam in the same way that millions of people unwillingly have since Iraq first invaded Kuwait in 1990. During Operation Desert Shield, Saddam rounded up American and British citizens in Iraq, and pronounced his intention to use them as human shields. Their release was negotiated about a month before the war began, but that didn't mean the Iraqi dictator had given up on the idea. Not only did he use prisoners of war to protect military installations, but he endangered his country's own civilian population with abandon. An especially costly example of this occurred when U.S. and allied bombers struck an Iraqi command bunker, killing in the process an estimated 400 civilians who had been packed into the top floors of the building.

Saddam claimed that the structure was really a civilian air raid shelter, with no military importance at all. However, his pattern of behavior has revealed a determination to intertwine civilian and military populations, for the very purpose of causing tremendous losses of innocent life. According to a report released by the White House early this year, Saddam has been keeping his tanks and anti-aircraft guns in schoolyards, and in close proximity to hospitals, mosques and markets. It also reveals that he ordered civilian buses and taxis to be painted to resemble military vehicles. Just before the last round of U.N. weapons inspections, American intelligence learned that Saddam had ordered government officials to hide components of his chemical and biological weapons programs in their homes, endangering their families, and those who lived around them.

These "peace activists" are condoning those deplorable tactics by helping to carry them out. Their actions are absolutely indefensible, as is evident from their pathetic attempts to defend them. Volunteer John Rosse is quoted in a recent Reuters article explaining, "I am an American human shield on this trip to Baghdad to try and stop this war. I ask American troops headed here ... not to come. They have no business being here. They do not make good ambassadors. They are here to kill, murder, devastate the civilian population of Iraq."

visualizing peace

If you believe that one, you probably also believed Peter Arnett's white jumpsuit with the English words, "BABY MILK PLANT -- IRAQ" ironed on the back. What Rosse says is a lie and he knows it, otherwise he wouldn't be a part of the mission in the first place. If American troops were actually targeting civilians, then Saddam would keep civilians as far away from his military apparatus as possible. It is precisely because the U.S. wants to minimize civilian casualties, and because Saddam Hussein has no conscience about thrusting innocent people into harm's way, that voluntary human shields would hope to have any impact at all.

If it's possible to give a more feeble justification than Rosse's, Mr. O'Keefe is game to try. "I don't think anyone will be happy about bombing somewhere they see being protected by North Americans and Europeans," he says. For someone who bases his opposition to the coming war on his own participation in the last one, that statement is remarkably ignorant. Iraq used captured Americans and Englishmen as human shields in 1991, and the British and U.S. governments knew it at the time, but didn't let it deter them from winning the war. We are not about to give greater deference to American traitors than to innocent Iraqi citizens, let alone to American and allied soldiers who remained loyal to their countries. Any sanctimonious activist who expects Western racism to spare his life is doomed to die one of the stupidest deaths ever recorded.

The importance of fulfilling the objective of the war is not the only reason not to be deterred by the deployment of human shields. There's also the danger of encouraging their future use. If we were to give these activists their wish, by calling off the war and allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power, the use of human shields would prove itself an effective tactic. Moreover, it would gain the appearance of humanitarianism. In totalitarian states, whose government-sponsored rallies are routinely depicted as spontaneous outpourings by the American press, all citizens' service as human shields would be deemed "voluntary."

These volunteers are traveling to Baghdad with the knowledge and approval of Iraq's ruling Baath Party, which says that it will place them at "vital and strategic installations." This must mean one of the following: either (a) the Iraqi government has arranged to give these traitors special treatment, and would only trot them out to potential bombing targets for photo-ops; or (b) these activists are just giving themselves to Saddam to use as he wishes, meaning that their service to him will no longer be voluntary, once they've handed themselves over.

Whichever is the case, these anti-American activists have willingly become tools of an evil regime, led by a sadistic butcher -- a man who's not just an enemy of the United States, but an enemy of humanity. Even they are not too obtuse to get all the way from here to Iraq without realizing that.



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