I’ll put together a verbatim transcript later this afternoon. But two points struck me from Michael Ledeen’s comments from this morning at AEI. The first was his argument that Americans are a “warlike people” who have a high tolerance for casualties so long as they’re well-led and fighting in a just cause. He referenced the speech from the beginning of the movie Patton — you know, the one where Patton’s standing in front of the big American flag.
The other point was on the definition of terrorism. Ledeen argued that the record of the war thus far has confirmed Saddam’s practice of terrorism. His point was a reference to the Iraqis’ practice of having soldiers try to blend in with civilians by taking off their uniforms and putting on civilian clothes, false surrenders, ambushes, and stuff like this.
Now, I don’t defend this stuff for a minute. These are clear violations of the rules of war. But this isn’t ‘terrorism.’ It’s called guerrilla warfare. And guerrilla fighters, almost by definition, seldom follow the rules of war. This is something that’s almost always practiced — for better or worse — by forces that are vastly outnumbered by their opponents.
It’s amazing that anyone would not have expected that, and disingenuous to class it as terrorism.