Monday, January 25, 2010

Some More Old News

700 for 4

In case you've missed it, upwards of 700 Iraqis have been killed in the last month in retaliation for four American security guards being torched and dragged through the streets in Iraq.
The question here is, and was on 9/11, are we avenging the spectacle or the amount of lives lost?
Four missionaries were killed last month by Iraqi insurgents; how come there wasn't a 700 body bag payback? Could it be that because the missionaries were killed in a more "decent" manner (gunshots), rather than being ripped apart by heathens?
Are we so attuned to the spectacle of death that we avenge with more fervor when murder is played out more brutally than when it is done cheap, without care, and in the manner of taking lives within the swoop of a sub-machine gun?
How many West Africans have lost their lives due to civil war in the past five years? Would it be more than the 3000 lost on 9/11? I bet it would, and yet, because this mass murder is taking place so slowly, and gradually, and without the horrific sight of two ziggerauts falling into a city there is no public outcry that responds with Al Pacino and Robert Deniro answering phones for a telethon.
Sadly, we are tuned to attribute menace to the more shocking of crimes, when the ones that go on and on quietly and with less passion are forgotten.
Which is worse: the man who kills out of duty or the man who kills because he believes it's his duty?
Both men are guilty, and I would even go as far as saying the man who killed out of a belief or an ideal has more moral leverage than the man who killed because he was told to do so.
Why are body counts judged by the manner in which they occurred rather than the actual loss of human beings?
Is it fair to exact a toll of 700 to 4 because their side decided to drag our dead through the streets?
If we continue to react with brute force for spectacular crimes, rather than take aims at preventing the belief that only spectacularly gruesome or spectacularly awesome crimes will get our attention we will continue to stoke the flames of the medieval and Die Hard-esque crimes.
Rather than attack, America needs to comprimise and quit writing opposing ideologues off as nuts. As the sole Super Power left from the Cold War, we (whether we like it or not) have become the grandest hope of any world government that is to work. And if we are not listening to the people of our fledgling global democracy, even if it rails against that very democracy, then we are to continue this cycle of terrorism and retribution.

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