Jewish World Review March 28, 2003 / 24 Adar II, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Like fighting with one arm tied behind your back | Imagine a street fistfight between two guys. One is a well trained boxer who knows all the right moves and the other an erratic, undisciplined, lumbering thug. Which guy would you guess would win that fight? You might guess that the well trained fellow has it all over the thug -- and on the face of it you would be right. But what if the well trained boxer was honor-bound to fight according to very specific rules of conduct while the other was not.

Suppose the trained boxer was only permitted to fight using strict Marquis of Queensberry rules? Suppose he was not allowed to hit below the belt, or to kick, or scratch, or fight in any other way but in the most ethical, fair and decent fashion? The street thug, however, follows no rules, has no ethics, and adheres to no conditions. The thug will hit below the belt if he sees an opening to do so. The thug will kick, spit, scratch, use rocks, clubs and any other weapons he can lay his hands on to fight the other guy.

The thug realizes that the other guy is honoring the rules and the thug will use that against him as well. The thug will pretend to give up and when the boxer lets his hands down, the thug will kick him hard below the belt or pick up a brick when his back is turned and smash him across the head. The thug will lie, cheat and trick the other guy in every way he can. Now -- which man do you think has the edge in this fight?

In the Iraqi war the United States plays by the rules while Saddam's thugs do not. The Iraqis wave white flags pretending to surrender, then when our troops let their guard down, they ambush them. The Iraqi soldiers take off their uniforms and pretend to be civilians in order to get close enough to our forces to kill them. They have put on American uniforms and killed their own people so that it will look like Americans are committing atrocities against Iraqi civilians. They have tortured and killed the American POWs they have captured and happily show it on their television broadcasts. And although at this writing they have yet to do so, they will most definitely use biological and chemical weapons of mass murder against us if it suits their purposes. Don't think they won't.

These are street thugs in the truest sense of the term, and they obey no rules of the Geneva Convention. To even suppose they would is laughable. They have no code of ethics. They adhere to no rules of combat, they recognize no doctrine of fairness. There is no decency, honor nor integrity to their fighting. These are an ignoble people. Cutthroats, liars and thieves who will slit a throat as soon as peel an orange. These are the people who dance in the street on hearing that thousands of innocents were killed at the Twin Towers. These are the people who cheer when babies are killed by delusional terrorists who strap on bombs and walk into pizza parlors and buses.

In any war it is essential to understand one's enemy -- to comprehend just who and what one is up against. I've no doubt that our military knows full well the depth of depravity of this enemy and I have ever confidence that our fighting forces will do what needs to be done to combat Saddam and his army of thugs. But I also know that in so doing, we will not lower our ethical moral high ground. We will not stoop to the tactics of cheat and deceit, as do our enemy. We will not target civilians, as do our enemy. We value human life and human dignity too much to act in the fashion of our enemy. We are The United States of America.

America will win this war. But we will win it on our own terms. We will win this war by remaining decent, ethical, and humane. We will win it by remaining resolute in our purpose and never forgetting for a minute that we are fighting for our very existence against one of the axis of evil that would like to see every city in America go up in flames. The men and women in America's service represent the best our country has to offer. They are strong of heart and mind and steadfast in the knowledge that they are fighting not only for American democracy and freedom, but for the freedom and democracy of all good people in every nation. The real American dream is the possibility that all people everywhere can and should be free.

We will win this war the right way. The American way. And no street thug in any corner of this world can stop us.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2001 Greg Crosby