Ed Driscoll

HUGH: For some reason, when

HUGH: For some reason, when I saw this headline on My Yahoo homepage–“Tearful U.S. Taliban Gets 20 Years–I had a flashback to the episode Star Trek: Next Generation titled “I Borg“, with its chief guest character, “Hugh”.

Hugh of course, was the name that Geordi La Forge gave the young Borg that the crew of the Enterprise had captured, with the intent of sending back to the Borg Collective essentially carrying a computer virus. Because Picard and the crew eventually felt sorry for Hugh, they didn’t carry out the mission, and the Borg eventually reappeared.

On the one hand, I understand that in an ongoing TV series, you need reasons for the show to go on. Batman and Robin couldn’t be killed in a cliffhanger, or there’d be no show. Crockett and Tubbs weren’t going to be killed by drug dealers, or there’d be no Miami Vice. And Star Trek wasn’t about to wipe out everybody’s favorite baddies, so they made Picard look like a wimp instead, when he should have been just a bit ruthless. It would have saved tens of millions or so of lives in the galaxy.

That “feeling sorry for a minor representative of the bad guys” headline got me thinking that often feeling sorry for the enemy is a prelude to disaster. Because, let’s face it, in a real war, ruthlessness against a totalitarian state isn’t a bad thing. Had we not dropped atom bombs on Japan, hundreds of thousands of US and Japanese troops would have perished. The Japanese government was prepared, it said, to sacrifice 20 million civilians to keep the Americans out. Had LBJ been more ruthless in Vietnam, the over three million deaths in Cambodia alone by Pol Pot could have been avoided.

We’re going to need big brass balls if we attack Iraq. And God help us, and the enslaved people of the Middle East, if we don’t.