The Human Toll of Terror

Regarding all the terrorism around the world, and particularly in the Middle East, it’s getting increasingly easy to become frustrated to the point of saying just carpet bomb the whole region and be done with them all. Maybe we haven’t come out and said it, but most of us have at least thought it, even in passing.

It would be an easy thing to do – like in 1972, when President Nixon green lighted Operation Linebacker II. The massive, 11-day air attack on the Hanoi area of North Vietnam was prompted by North Vietnamese negotiators walking out of secret talks with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Nixon issued an ultimatum to Hanoi to send its representatives back to the conference table within 72 hours “or else.”

Or else what? Or else he’d do what he said he would. A real “man of his word,” relative to the petulant child currently (sometimes) residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Just ask the Iranians about Obama’s word, or ultimatums.

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Well, the North Vietnamese didn’t return, and bombing began just days later. Over just an 11 day period, B-52s and fighter bombers flew 1700 sorties and dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs. This was carpet bombing, using dumb bombs, purposely utilized to inflict damage, pain and suffering. It had the desired effect.

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This is not a critique, for or against the Vietnam War. It is just to demonstrate that with the will, it can be done.

Normally I would be one of the first to jump on board and say, let’s turn the whole region into glass. Don’t allow any more of our American brothers and sisters to be killed or maimed in that dirty sandbox – just bomb them into oblivion. In fact, I have said just that.

And then I saw this.

syrian girl

It’s a picture of poor little four year old Syrian girl at the Atmeh refugee camp in Syria. The photo was captured by Turkish journalist Osman Sağırlı back in December. And captured is the relevant term, for this innocent little waif has her hands up in surrender.

At four years old, looking scared to death but without shedding a tear, she is surrendering to the photographer. He, the photographer, said that the girl evidently thought the camera’s large telephoto lens was a weapon trained on her.

She instinctively put her arms up in surrender, fearing that not to do so, she would surely be killed.

The photo, which has been retweeted thousands of times, was thought to be a fake, as some certainly have – a common tactic used against Israel by terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah, but the BBC tracked down Mr. Sağırlı. He said the little girl’s name was “Adi Hudea, and that she came from the Syrian city of Hama and lived in the camp with her mother and two siblings. Her father was killed in a bombing in Hama in 2012. I realized she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces, or smile when they see a camera.”

I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of having little feeling, but I have to tell you – this picture killed me. The thought of this little girl, and thousands upon thousands of kids just like her, growing up (assuming she even survives) knowing nothing but war and terror angers me beyond words.

If she lives long enough, she has nothing to look forward to except to possibly be killed later—or worse, captured and sold into slavery, only to be abused by some ISIS or other terrorist thug(s).

I have no real underlying point to this article except to vent my spleen. I also understand and am onboard with the fact that this is not, nor should it be, our fight. Yet, I still can’t help but feel a want to see any and all pay the ultimate price for what they’ve done to cause this little innocent to live in such fear.

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