The current war with Iraq will bring out all these aspects of our national personality. We started by spending six months asking nicely for Saddam to obey the law. When he refused, we asked nicely for our friends to help us enforce the law. When many of them refused, we appealed to their sentiment -- after all, we had helped them out for most of the last century. But when we found out they had a lump of coal where a heart ought to be, we still politely told them we would do it ourselves. Now the war has started, and once again we are being nice, reasonable, sentimental and fair-minded. First we asked Saddam's generals and colonels to give up quietly. They told us they would think about it. So we carefully didn't bomb their headquarters in Baghdad. We want the Iraqi people to be our friends, so we left their televisions and water and lights on while we bombed around, but not in, their residential neighborhoods. We did not want to risk violating the Geneva Conventions, so when their soldiers came out with their hands up and carrying a white flag, we tried to accept their surrender. We lost some good men when the surrendering Iraqis pulled their guns and started shooting. We didn't want to hurt non-combatants. So when Iraqi soldiers dressed as civilians, they were able to machine gun a few of our men -- until we got the joke. We didn't want any Iraqis to go hungry, and told them we had waiting shiploads of food and medicine, ready to take up the main highway from Kuwait. So Saddam's goon squads started taking potshots at our trucks -- assuring a delay in bringing up the civilian supplies.
So far, the Iraqi generals have seen the easygoing, sentimental and fair-minded parts of our personality. But rumor has it that the Marines are developing itchy trigger fingers as revenge for their fallen brothers fill their hearts. Our pilots are getting tired of blowing up empty buildings in Baghdad. Our line generals, just about finished making friends, are looking forward to giving the orders to start influencing (Iraqi) people. And Americans from sea to shining sea have visions of daisycutters dancing in our heads.
Americans are fair, and more than fair. We will even accept a few unnecessary casualties to give the other side time to do the right thing. We understand the need to have as many Iraqis friendly when the shooting stops. But even more importantly, we understand that if Saddam and his gang are still on their feet when the shooting stops, all the goodwill of the Iraqi people would be worth nothing. And expending the lives of American soldiers in order to save the lives of Iraqi civilians is not a transaction Americans will look on kindly for long. Woe betide the American president who is not prepared to be as murderously ruthless as the American people when we are finished being easygoing, sentimental and fair-minded.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.