April 07, 2003

AFTER PREDICTING in February that

AFTER PREDICTING in February that "even a short war will almost certainly lead to the hideous deaths of even more innocent civilians than died, for example, on September 11," Robert Manne is now moralising about the deaths of Iraqi soldiers:

It is certain that the number of Iraqi combatant deaths is very high. Coalition sources say in the brief battle for the Baghdad airport more than 300 Iraqi soldiers were killed. This is more than half the number of Australian soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.

Another coalition estimate says in the first incursion into central Baghdad, more than 1000 Iraqi soldiers died. In neither of these encounters was a single coalition soldier killed ... the deaths of so many young Iraqi men, in such technologically uneven battles, is tragic and pitiful in the extreme.

How does "technological uneveness" make their deaths any more tragic? Would Manne prefer bloodier, more equal fighting, with an increased number of coalition dead? Actually, he might:

A too-swift and easy coalition victory may substantially increase the risk of future wars.

Of course, had the war been slow and difficult, Manne would've been railing about quagmires and Vietnams and whatever. Manne dodges and weaves like a 4am Screech drinker.

UPDATE. From Toronto's David Janes:

Jeez Tim, if we're drinking Screech, we're just getting rolling at 4AM!

Posted by Tim Blair at April 7, 2003 02:01 AM