When I was in eleventh grade, our history class studied World War Two. I wasn't quite the pinko peacenik that I am now, but when we got to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I definitely had some questions. Like, "What the fuck was our country doing dropping atomic bombs when the war was basically over?"
I would have been a lot more prepared for debate if I'd had some Zinn or Chalmers Johnson handy, but even our history textbook admitted that come August of 1945, the Japanese were right on the brink of surrender. When I brought it up in class, however, our teacher shook his head at my naivete. Obviously, he said, the deaths of those hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians ultimately saved millions in the long run. Besides, he added, "If we'd invaded Japan it would have been door to door fighting."
That was his counter to any and all of my arguments.
"It says that the Japanese would have given up if they could keep the Emperor."
"Sean. Door to door fighting."
"But, Tojo even sent a message to the ambassador talking about surrendering."
"I'm not sure you heard me. Door. To Door. Fighting."
"But . . . "
"Door to door fighting!"
I was left with a mental image of an army battalion going through a neighborhood, knocking on doors like Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts with bayonets.
"Who is it?"
"It's the US Army."
"It's the United States Army. We'd like you to come out and surrender."
"Just a second. Let me just put on a kimono."
And then there'd be a big sword fight at the door, and the Japanese guy behind the door gets shot, and McDaniels, the quiet kid from Ohio, takes a ninja star to the throat, and the captain asks why, God, why, and war is hell. And then they repeat the process at the apartment next door.
This week, nearly all the reports about the assault on Fallujah echo this same approach, only "house to house fighting" has been substituted for "door to door fighting". Ostensibly this new attack is to ensure the legitimacy of the planned democratic Iraqi elections in two months by capturing and killing all of the insurgents, which coincidentally was Karl Rove's original plan for winning the state of Ohio. The insurgent leader has reportedly escaped, probably because his house was pretty far down the block.
American troops: Do not be fooled if an insurgent insists that he needs to put on a birkah, or that he's preparing some doogh that needs his urgent attention. It may be a trick! Do not be deterred by a "No Solicitors" or "Beware of Dog" sign. Fallujah hasn't had electricity or water for quite a while, so most pets and solicitors have already expired from thirst. Above all, do not lose faith in the righteousness of your mission. It is only a coincidence that this effort began a few days after the election. It is totally not just a distraction. Democracy is a door to door effort, and we're counting on you boys.