26 September 2004

He may have been a cannibal, but he was an American, by God!

It's odd, isn't it? We go to extensive lengths to provide Jeffrey Dahmer, the psychopath who killed people and ate them, a fair trial, yet could care less if people accidently picked up in the wrong place at the wrong time in Iraq get broom sticks shoved up their ass or a bullet in the head out in the desert. At the same time, we hear of how our politicians felt a terrible moral dilemma when faced with the possibility of having to shoot down a plane-full of innocent Americans in order to save the politicians in the Whitehouse, yet the same people feel no moral compunctions whatsoever about bombing a city-block in Iraq to kill a handfull of insurgents. I realize that we have many intelligent people in the Bush administration. Did one of these geniuses, by any chance, calculate the relative value of an American versus an Iraqi or a South American life? Is it 100 to 1 or perhaps 200 to 1? Do the numbers depend on the color of the skin or the geographic proximity? Is religion also factored in? Or perhaps, GDP has something to do with it? At any rate, I'm sure glad that we spent millions of dollars of our tax dollars on trials for poor ol' Jeffrey. Them Iraqis, on the other hand, they're guilty of being brown, believing in something other than Christianity, and being in the wrong place on the globe. They've violated our Three Strikes laws, don't you think?

For a little bit of perspective on the numbers killed, I'd recommend the Democracy for California's post Hey George, how many kids did you kill today?


Andrew said...

It's not the administration or the people that set the relative worth of Iraqis, its the media, and the people who actively criticize it. If you watch the top headlines, pretty much every event that results in American casualties gets coverage (because it's necessary), but only a small percentage of the events that involve only Iraqi deaths gets coverage.

The worst part is that if some significant media outlet were to change that coverage, they'd immediately get labelled as subversive and anti-American. They'd get skewered by organized letter and phone campaigns and probably even some attempted boycotts.

The campaigns would be led by people who believe the war is justified on grounds that transcend individuals altogether, such as preventing WMD disasters, spreading 'freedom', or gaining strategic ground. They would argue that focusing on specific casualties is a distraction that jeopardizes the morale and resolve of the American people.

And at least on that last part, they'd be right. This war is probably unjust, but even in the most righteous and necessary war, modern media coverage of the casualties and destruction involved could put the whole venture into jeopardy.

It's a tough problem.

RanDomino said...

So far, we've inflicted, what, four 9/11's on Iraq and Afghanistan? (and I'm sure one day we'll look back and say, "Man, only 12,000 casualties, what I'd give to go back to those happy days")

Karlo said...

I've always been against this war, but even if we are for it, we should remain sensitive to the tragedy of killing and death. Lao-tzu, in the Tao Te Ching, discussing military campaigns once said something to the effect that instead of returning overjoyed by victory, the battalions should return in the formation of a funeral march.