By Kings made quiet
And priests made wise
They love better the heat of their hearths
Than the light of her eyes
What threatens Iraqi society is not Vietnamization but Somalization. Recall Operation Restore Hope, in which an international force, led by Americans, disembarked in Mogadishu in 1993, seeking to ensure the survival of a population that was starving and being massacred by rival clans. After losing 19 in a horrific trap, the GIs left. The rest is well known. An angry President Clinton swore ânever again,â and a year later refused to intervene in Rwanda, where 5,000 blue helmets would have been enough to interrupt the genocide that wiped out as many as 1 million Tutsi in three months.
The Somalian model has spread across the planet, from the Congo to chaotic East Timor to Afghanistan, where the Taliban have violently resurfaced, to Iraq. Populations are taken hostage, terrorized, and sacrificed, the spoils of wars by local gangsters. Under various pretextsâreligion, ethnicity, makeshift racist or nationalist ideologyâcommandos contend for power at the point of AK-47s. They fight against unarmed populations; most of their victims are women and children. Terrorism is not the prerogative of Islamists alone: the targeting of civilians has been used by a regular army and by militias under the command of the Kremlin in Chechnya, where the capital city of Grozny was razed to the ground. Where the killers appeal to the Koran, it is still primarily Muslim passersby who suffer. Algeria, Somalia, and Darfur (at least 200,000 dead and millions of refugees in just a few years, with the Sudanese government, protected by China and Russia, acting with impunity) are live laboratories of the abomination of abominations: war against civilians.