Jewish World Review April 16, 2003 / 14 Nisan, 5763

Edward I. Koch

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The doves were proven wrong. Instead of conceding defeat, they are throwing another political tantrum | I will never forget the words spoken by our troops who stormed the hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, where Private Jessica Lynch was being held captive: "Jessica Lynch, we're United States soldiers, and we're here to protect you and take you home!"

Like many Americans, I wept when the scene was recounted at a press conference. Jessica Lynch's rescue reminds us of the bond that should exist between us and our government, a bond that requires our government to come to our rescue whenever and wherever possible.

The successes of our government in "Operation Iraqi Freedom" have been extraordinary. The war, opposed by many Democrats in the Congress led by Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd and Charles Rangel, has been won in fewer than four weeks. The opponents, including well-known journalists and editorial writers, while conceding victory, are unwilling to admit their errors in judgment made at the onset of the war when they blasted General Franks' plan and predicted thousands of American casualties in a Vietnam-like quagmire. Now the critics have shifted their attacks to the mopping up and the future Iraqi government.

They point to the rioting and looting by Iraqi civilians captured on television and blame U.S. military forces for not putting down these disturbances. The explanation is simple. U.S. troops are still fighting the Iraqi military and other Saddam Hussein loyalists. And military forces are not trained to be police officers. Military personnel are trained to kill on the battlefield. Police officers, on the other hand, are trained to restrain mobs and looters, and to do so without the use of lethal force whenever possible.

Police tactics call for engaging a mob only if there are sufficient numbers of cops to control the rioters. After the New York City blackout of 1977, when Abe Beame was mayor and looting occurred, I asked Police Commissioner Bob McGuire why the looters had not been arrested or shot when they did not submit to police authority. He responded, "If we don't have enough cops to arrest them without shooting them, we will retreat. Remember, Mayor, if the looters were arrested and convicted, they are not subject to the death penalty, and the police should not execute them. We will be back when we have sufficient numbers to arrest them."

And that is what U.S. troops are doing. They should be applauded for their restraint and not harangued as they have been by those who were wrong to oppose the war in 1991 and now.

I am unhappy with how the press, here and abroad, has covered the war. On Fox's Hannity & Colmes show, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger revealed the following New York Times effort to manage the news:

Eagleburger: "If you'll give me 30 seconds, I can give you a specific example. About 10 days ago, I was approached by The New York Times to write an op-ed piece. To make it very short, when I talked to them about it, I was told what we want is criticism of the administration.

Hanity: "They told you that?

Eagleburger: "Right out. Flat out. He told me we want criticism of the administration. Needless to say, I did not write the op-ed piece."

The BBC news, shown every night in the U.S., displayed a strong bias against the U.S. I recall a recent interview when an anchorperson complained to a defender of the war that U.S. troops had the previous day shot and killed the occupants of a car who had refused to stop which they thought was driven by suicide bombers. The car did not have explosives. The interviewee replied that was true, but in an earlier similar situation, U.S. soldiers lost their lives when they did not shoot at a car driven by a suicide bomber that would not stop when ordered to do so. The interviewer said in apparent horror, "You are saying their prime concern is their own safety?" The interviewee replied, "Yes." I say amen. I should note that the crew on the British flagship naval vessel, Ark Royal, successfully petitioned the commander to turn off BBC because it had a "pro-Iraqi bias."

The press should realize that what it decides not to report can have serious consequences as well. CNN's chief news executive, Eason Jordan, in a recent New York Times op-ed article, confessed that CNN had not publicly reported a conversation he had with the son of Saddam Hussein, who told him he was going to assassinate three people. Jordan wrote, "I knew that CNN could not report that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, told me in 1995 that he intended to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law who had defected and also the man giving them asylum, King Hussein of Jordan. If we had gone with the story, I was sure he would have responded by killing the Iraqi translator who was the only other participant in the meeting."

The two brothers-in-law were, in fact, murdered as announced. Isn't Eason Jordan morally responsible for their deaths, not having warned them by making the interview public?

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.

04/09/03: As the world churns
04/03/03: Gulf War II: The misleading media does it again
03/18/03: Have the courage to admit it, Pat: You're a classic anti-Semite who gives conservatives a bad name
03/12/03: "There they go again"? Not quite!
03/05/03: Making the case for war on British TV left some panelists stunned
02/20/03: Death penalty=racism? Don't confuse them with the facts
02/12/03: History is now repeating itself --- why don't the American bashers grasp it?
02/05/03: As the world turns
01/30/03: Why are sports exempt from racial diversity and universities encouraged to engage in racial preferences over individual academic achievement?
01/23/03: We absolutely can't back down
11/13/02: President blunted the Ted Kennedys of Democrat party --- good for him!
10/23/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate is no private citizen and his 'defenses' are idiotic
10/01/02: Congress is not doing its job
09/26/02: Confronting pathetic Americans in a post 9-11 world
09/19/02: Don't be fooled by Saddam
09/05/02: Necessary or not, getting congressional approval for war is common-sense
08/28/02: In defense of terrorism
08/22/02: Saddam Hussein is extremely popular in "Arab street," so why attack him?
08/15/02: My potpourri
08/09/02: Traitors: Journalistic and 'patriotic'
07/31/02: Euros should spend their time analyzing their own country's wartime actions
07/25/02: I may know next to nothing about the stock market, but I'm not getting out
07/18/02: Dems should stop trying to 'Whitewater' the President
07/11/02: Real Americans and the Islamic threat

© 2002, Edward I. Koch