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Fri Feb 20, 2015, 12:26 PM

Our Wars, Our Victims

by Charles Simic

Jon Stewart: “Right now, the Middle East is spiraling out of control. What should America do about this?”
Bassem Youssef, Egyptian comedian and satirist: “Well, how about… nothing.”
—The Daily Show, February 9, 2015

Since we rarely see real images of our wars today and have to fall back on simulated ones in Hollywood movies that make us look good, I wonder what Americans would say if they were shown graphic footage of the results of US drone attacks, some of the many wedding parties or funerals we mistook for gatherings of terrorists and reduced to “bug splats,” in the parlance of those dispatching our missiles. The idea that wiping out a bunch of innocents along with a few bad guys will make us safer at home and not make us more enemies everywhere is nuts, and so is the argument that the atrocities we find appalling in others are acceptable when perpetrated by us.

All this ought to be obvious to our leaders in Washington, but apparently it isn’t. President Obama’s new request for war authorization, now pending before Congress, to fight ISIS over the next three years with further airstrikes and “limited” combat operations, despite the complete failure of all our previous attempts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to do any good, may make our wars legal, but no less foolish.

What Czeslaw Milosz said of the last century is unfortunately already true of this one: Woe to those who think they can save themselves without taking part in a tragedy. Millions of Americans certainly continue to think so, even after September 11 and all the wars we have fought since and are still fighting. Television footage and newspaper photographs do not convey the scale of destruction and death in New York City on that day. One needed to have stood at least once under the twin towers to grasp their immense height and magnitude. Although I did, it took me days and months to comprehend fully what had occurred. Even after the second airliner struck the towers, it didn’t cross my mind that they might collapse. When they did, my mind had trouble accepting what my eyes were seeing. It was like a movie, people said afterward. We’d exit the dark movie theater with a shudder and go back to our lives. I thought Americans would finally begin to understand what being bombed is like.

What has always amazed me about countries at war is the way the killing of the innocent in foreign lands is ignored. People who wouldn’t step on an ant at home have no interest in finding out what horrors their country is perpetrating abroad. This heartless attitude becomes even more offensive when one thinks back to those terrified people in New York running through fire and smoke from the collapsing towers. In the days after the attacks, our pundits and politicians clamored for a quick and brutal retaliation that would not be overly concerned with distinguishing the innocent from the guilty. In other words, let’s just start bombing the bastards and not worry about who gets killed—or about the likelihood that the bombed might want to have their own revenge one day.

more

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2015/feb/17/our-wars-our-victims/

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Our Wars, Our Victims (Original post)
n2doc Feb 2015 OP
marym625 Feb 2015 #1
mountain grammy Feb 2015 #2
markpkessinger Feb 2015 #3
JEB Feb 2015 #4
quadrature Feb 2015 #5
n2doc Feb 2015 #6
sabrina 1 Feb 2015 #7

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 20, 2015, 08:47 PM

1. Great post

I am not surprised at the lack of attention to it. I am surprised at how many want us involved again, if even a little. Beside the fact that I don't agree we should do anything, there's no such thing as a little involvement. We go in, we're going to be all in. Watch

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 20, 2015, 10:00 PM

2. Kick for a great post.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Fri Feb 20, 2015, 11:11 PM

3. K&R! n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Feb 21, 2015, 12:09 PM

4. Simic is a fantastic poet, creative and insightful.

 

I guess people just aren't interested in deep thinking anymore.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Simi%C4%87

Thanks for posting this excellent piece.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sat Feb 21, 2015, 08:17 PM

5. so Yemen is a success story, or not?

 

these bloggers seem to think
that Yemen is a success

http://www.politicalforum.com/current-events/395941-obama-declares-success-yemen.html

what do you think?

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Response to quadrature (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 21, 2015, 08:44 PM

6. I think everything the US touches turns to shite, nowadays n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 22, 2015, 12:59 AM

7. We are a callous, heartless, brutal society. And ignorant regarding what our government is really up

to.

We did see photos of the carnage our bombs inflicted on the innocent. Great war correspondents like Dahr Jamail eg, John Pilger and a few others, risked a lot to provide a record for posterity.

But they were not shown on the Corporate Media. The fear beiing that if the people saw what we are doing to innocent men, women and children, they would turn against the war.

I don't think they need to fear that. The population appears to support 'killing those brown people' and isn't overly concerned about them as human beings.

Our wars are very racist. We pretend to care about racism, but the hatred for the people of the ME in this country is frightening.

The information is out there. Anyone who WANTS to know what is going on can find it. As we did. But that would mean actually caring.

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