Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Okay, it's time...

Updated ...someone said it. I suppose I've been sort of waiting around for some bigger voice in the left blogsphere to say it but it doesn't seem to be happening, at least as far as I'm aware (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, I would love to be), so even though this small outcry will simply get lost in the cacophony of louder, more far-reaching voices, I'll say it anyway.
Ten people were killed and another 26 wounded in an attack on tankers in Latifiya area. The manager of Hilla hospital said they received four corpses and another 23 injured people. A police officer in Alexandria police station, Mohammed Masoodi, said armed assailants shot the tankers which were accompanied by some National Guardsman and set them on fire. Meanwhile, in Baghdad, one man was killed and another four wounded in a mortar attack on Karrada area.
(From Al-Mashriq, published daily by the Al-Mashriq Institution for Media and Cultural Investments, as quoted by the Iraqi Press Monitor for September 27.)

I am fed up, I am sick to tears, I no longer have the slightest tinge of patience with those who will (rightly) treat every incident of US forces killing civilians as just short - if at all short - of a war crime yet will (wrongly) treat every case of insurgents killing civilians as an expression of legitimate resistance to occupation.

Are those ten any less dead for being killed by insurgent fire than by US bombs? Did their blood soak the ground any less red? Do their families wail in grief any less? Are the 26 wounded any less in pain? Do their lives matter less?

Oh, when the event is big enough - as when 47 Iraqis were killed and 114 wounded earlier this month by a bomb blast on a shopping street that evidently targeted those applying for jobs with the police - we get all huffy with outrage, yes, indeed; outrage, that is, against the "failed policies" of the Bushites, not against the brutal, calculated murder of innocents.

We legitimately decry the massive unemployment in Iraq, which may run as high as 60%. But when people try to take the work available, like police jobs or drivers, whether out of commitment or (more likely) just out of the desire to take care of their families and then get killed for it, their deaths just don't seem to register with us on a human scale. We see them as "incidents," not as people.

Even when the nature of the atrocity couldn't be denied - as, for example, with the beheading of Nick Berg - we tried to avert both our eyes and our rhetoric, concocting various conspiracy theories, trying to explain it away as a CIA plot.

But it wasn't. It was murder, cold-blooded murder, pure and simple. Where was the outrage? Where is the outrage now for the kidnap victims, for those killed by their captors?

Blood is blood. Dead is dead. Murder is murder. Car bombing streets is no more an act of "liberation" than aerial bombing of houses is an act of "bringing freedom." Beyond the single fact of opposition to occupation, Moqtada al-Sadr does not represent the desires of the Iraqi people and the theocratic reign he would have if he could is not what most would choose. Beyond their status as symbols of resistance, the theocratic troglodytes in charge in Fallujah are not the voice of the people. And we are either foolish or accomplices if we pretend otherwise.

No one who has spent more than 10 minutes here can imagine I plead any briefs for the sociopaths infesting the White House or the death and ruin that they have brought to Iraq. I was against it from the start; I was against it from long before the start. I have called for us to Set The Damn Date & Get The Hell Out so many times I've taken to abbreviating it: STDD>HO.

But the fact remains: Blood is blood. Dead is dead. Murder is murder. And we are at risk of becoming a movement that closes its eyes to an entire spectrum of violence in the name of "liberation." But, my brothers and sisters, I must ask you: Who can "liberate" the dead?

Updated to add the descriptive "aerial" to the bombing of houses to make sure it was clear what comparison I was making.

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