Should the U.S. assassinate an Iraqi cleric?

  1. Here's a question sure to provoke lively discussion: should the U.S. military assassinate the Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr? U.S. forces closed his newspaper in Baghdad because it was printing false and inflammatory articles about U.S. troops. He has a large following and has urged them to become the Iraqi arm of groups like Hamas, which sponsor suicide bombers. Moqtada al-Sadr has a large following in a part of Baghdad called Sadr City (population 2 million) which was named after his father. The father was killed on Saddam Hussein's orders. We have issued an arrest warrant for Moqtada al-Sadr. He is unlikely to turn himself in peacefully. Riots in support of one of his deputies who we arrested resulted in the death of 7 U.S. troops April 4.
    Is it wise or unwise to take action that results in this man's death? Is it moral or immoral? Lastly, because this is a nursing board, does your position as a nurse affect your opinion?
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   menetopali
    as i've said in other threads, removal of command and control ability of an opposing force is a legitamate military mission. i believe that we are morally and ethically bound to execute military missions in a manner that will minimize collateral damage and risk to friendly forces while maximizing the probability of mission success.

    in short, yes we should remove him from the equation through arrest, or if it is too risky (to non-combatants and friendly forces) to arrest him by force, as this probably is, then direct military action that results in his death is appropriate. whether that force is a two man scout/sniper team or a missile strike on him that may result in collateral damage is a tactical question.
  4. by   orrnlori
    Yes. I have no problem with this.
  5. by   bukko
    Quote from orrnlori
    Yes. I have no problem with this.
    Well, I appreciate you all responding, but I was hoping for more debate from other people besides the same ones on the Bush/Kerry threads. We must be among the few that like to chew politics.
    What about the consequences of blasting this bastard, who is like one of Hitler's brown-shirts, except he wears a black turban. We'd be doing the same to him as Saddam did to his dad. Make him a dead hero. Muslims love their martyrs!
    Trouble is, we've set it up as an either/or situation. Either we kill him and build him up, or we let him off and we're punk'd. Lose-lose for us; win-win for him, even if winning does involve dying...
  6. by   nialloh
    Quote from bukko
    Well, I appreciate you all responding, but I was hoping for more debate from other people besides the same ones on the Bush/Kerry threads. We must be among the few that like to chew politics.
    What about the consequences of blasting this bastard, who is like one of Hitler's brown-shirts, except he wears a black turban. We'd be doing the same to him as Saddam did to his dad. Make him a dead hero. Muslims love their martyrs!
    Trouble is, we've set it up as an either/or situation. Either we kill him and build him up, or we let him off and we're punk'd. Lose-lose for us; win-win for him, even if winning does involve dying...

    The great thing about a martyr is they'er dead. You don't have them raising the rabble, so they will be soon forgotten.
  7. by   donmurray
    Do you mean those long forgotten martyrs like Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, Buddha, Ghandi, Anne Frank, Steve Biko, John Henry, John Birch, John Brown, JFK, MLK? And I'll never forget whatsisname...
  8. by   orrnlori
    Okay, you asked so this is my opinion, and I'm sure I'll get slammed. The muslim millitants don't need a reason to hate us and want us all dead, ALL OF US. They read their Koran to say that they need to obliterate us all, so I think whether it makes this man a martyr or not is irrelevent. They will not stop, since I can remember the Palestinians have been killing women and children. They have no morals, at least the kinds of morals that the western world holds. They want peace only through our extermination. These are the same people who personally murder their own daughters if they perceive that their daughters have brought shame on their family. There is no reasoning with them. We can all hold hands and sing hymms as much as we like and talk about the brotherhood of man. It takes two sides to come together in agreement. They chose not to come together. Until the moderate muslins assert pressure and quell it themselves (which they won't) we are stuck with this. We were much safer facing the "Godless" communists 30 years ago than facing these religious fanatics. They don't care about death, obviously. They see it as a badge of honor. I think we need to assist some of them obtain their badges.
  9. by   orrnlori
    Oh, and I don't think being a nurse changes my opinion one way or the other. Just because I have a nursing license doen't mean I can't ponder the world in the larger scheme of things. Not everything I think about comes in terms of "nursing". While I think we are much like cops ie, it's not what we do, it's what we are, I didn't check my overall feelings of right or wrong at the door of the college when I went to school.

    My 19 year old son is in college, not in the military. I pray every day for our young people over there fighting these animals. I hope they understand that not everyone back home is screaming against their efforts. I want them all to come home safe and healthy with the threats eliminated. I hate it that we are there. But if we are going to be there then we need to play to win and quit the hand-wringing. If we'd have done that in VietNam, I think it would have been different. And yes, my brother was in Viet Nam for two tours. I know of where I speak from the soldiers point of view. Like I said, slam away.
  10. by   sbic56
    No, I don't think his assassination is the answer; it has been specualted that 10,000 innocent Iraqi civillians have been killed since the start of this war. There are millions who believe GWB is far more evil than al Sadr. Would that belief be justification for assassinating Bush? Again, of course, I say no.

    Oh, and no...my being a nurse has no bearing on what I believe is right on this one.
  11. by   NurseHardee
    Let's turn this question around for those them sweet folk that asked for our opinion.

    Should the people in the countries where the US military is operating take Bush, Rumsfiled, Rice, Powell, Perle, Cheny, and so forth out?

    I think that in both scenarios, doing mafioso hits on other people's leaders leads not to some sort of military victory for the hit squad side, but rather for an escalating wave of violence in the same mode as the political assassination that was delivered.

    It is a sure sign of the poverty of ouir supposed US democracy that our 'leaders' now openly advocate use of political assassinations and torture. This is beyond George Orwell. He thought that euphemisms would at least be employed, rather than just direct debate about the merits of such things, and how to pull it all off without repercussion.

    Nurse Hardee

    Nurse Hardee
  12. by   bukko
    Quote from NurseHardee
    I think that in both scenarios, doing mafioso hits on other people's leaders leads not to some sort of military victory for the hit squad side, but rather for an escalating wave of violence in the same mode as the political assassination that was delivered.
    The U.S. used to have an official policy that we would not deliberately kill heads of state. This came about after the revelations in the 1970s about how the CIA tried to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. Worries about whether the Soviet KGB helped kill John F. Kennedy also played a part. This was the reason our country did not kill Moammar Quadafi in Libya. It also hamstrung efforts to assassinate Osama bin Laden, although he was not a head of state.
    What would Orwell have thought about "targeted killing" (the Israeli term) or "decapitation mission" (what we called the air strikes aimed at Saddam at the opening of the war)?
    It seems that the ultra-tolerance that is drummed into us as nurses ("respect the differences of others, preserve life at all costs") does not affect most people's politics on such matters. No judgment implied on the right or wrong of this, just an observation...
  13. by   donmurray
    I am so glad not to be living in a place where respecting another human being's right to life, let alone their difference, can be seen as "Ultra-tolerance"
  14. by   sbic56
    Quote from bukko
    The U.S. used to have an official policy that we would not deliberately kill heads of state. This came about after the revelations in the 1970s about how the CIA tried to kill Fidel Castro with exploding cigars. Worries about whether the Soviet KGB helped kill John F. Kennedy also played a part. This was the reason our country did not kill Moammar Quadafi in Libya. It also hamstrung efforts to assassinate Osama bin Laden, although he was not a head of state.
    What would Orwell have thought about "targeted killing" (the Israeli term) or "decapitation mission" (what we called the air strikes aimed at Saddam at the opening of the war)?
    It seems that the ultra-tolerance that is drummed into us as nurses ("respect the differences of others, preserve life at all costs") does not affect most people's politics on such matters. No judgment implied on the right or wrong of this, just an observation...
    And a very important observation is it, too! Renaming efforts to look like something other than outright assassination is part of the slippery slope this country is on under the current leadership. Our leaders have wisely avoided these mistakes over the years, even when they probably would have loved to have done similarly.

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