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WAR: The use of civilians as human shields

Tim Brown says: "World Wars I and II were total wars between massed armies numbering in the millions. Vietnam was essentially a guerrilla conflict in which the line between combatants and civilians was deliberately erased by the Viet Mihn and Viet Cong as a primary tactic for the purpose of exploiting Western abhorrence of civilian casualties to achieve military/political ends. Former Marxist revolutionaries tell me this was a standard tactic taught to foreign guerrillas in North Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea. As to Korea, the closest comparison, North Korea is holding Seoul hostage by training massed artillery directly at its "innocent civilian" population as a primary form of deterrence.

On Iraq, should we attack the number of civilian casualties will be a direct function of how actively Saddam uses them es as shields for his military. The most frequently cited case of civilian casualties during Desert Storm was the attack on a bunker housing the civilian families of Iraqi government/military families in its upper stories and a command center in its basements. In short, Saddam was also using civilians as human shields either keeping the allies from bombing this particular target or generating civilian casualties that could them be exploited for propaganda purposes. If, as has been suggested, this time Saddam uses Baghdad as his final bastion, it will be yet another instance of using civilians as human shields for political ends".

RH: I would think that South Vietnam could hold Pyongyang hostage by training massed artillery on it. The latest story is that the US plans simply to isolate Iraqi cities without invading them.

Ronald Hilton - 1/20/03