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The Boston Globe

The Losers? Innocent Victims.

Derrick Z. Jackson

The Democrats still blink. Debate moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Dennis Kucinich if he would try to knock off Osama bin Laden with a missile even if it would kill some innocent civilians.Kucinich said, "I don't think that a president of the United States who believes in peace and who wants to create peace in the world is going to be using assassination as a tool."

The rest of the Democrats crawled into a hole of vacillation.

Barack Obama said, "I think Dennis is right. I don't believe in assassinations, but Osama bin Laden has declared war on us, killed 3,000 people, and under existing law, including international law, when you've got a military target like bin Laden, you take him out. And if you have 20 minutes you do it swiftly and surely."

A few moments later, Blitzer asked the candidates to raise their hands if they would authorize an assassination even if "innocent civilians would die."

Everyone except Kucinich limply raised their hands.

Joe Biden chimed in, "it would depend on how many innocent civilians."

John Edwards added, "There's not information, not enough information."

Hillary Clinton said, "That is a very difficult to answer in the abstract. . . . You have to be very careful about how you proceed. So you know, yes, if we could do it without a tremendous amount of collateral damage, I think, maybe with one or two exceptions, we would give the order to do it."

So for all the talk about who among the Democrats is most against the war, Iraqi civilians remain too abstract to say "Enough!"

Yes, we lost 3,000 people during 9/11. But between 64,000 and 600,000 Iraqi civilians are now dead because of our invasion and the resulting civil war.

Are we not done killing innocents in the name of bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and weapons of mass destruction?

By their vacillation, the Democrats still say no. The Republicans are laughing.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is

© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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