Thank God Kathleen Parker can restrain herself. In a syndicated column this week, the Orlando Sentinel writer is just so mad about the “zoo animals we witnessed gleefully jumping up and down after stomping, dragging, dismembering and hanging the charred remains of American civilians whose only crime was to try to help them” that she could just “nuke the Sunni Triangle”. Given the adjectives used in most of the non-opinion press coverage, it’d be a safe bet to say that Parker’s feelings are shared by a lot of people in the U.S.
The deaths of the four civilian contractors were an atrocity. It would be preferable to find and prevent the perpetrators from attacking again. That the crowd took the men’s bodies and desecrated them is appalling. Though, if that was sufficient grounds for nuclear retaliation, and given different circumstances 80 years ago, Ms. Parker might be living in a different portion of this country, given that a big swath of central Florida might have been somewhat less hospitable due to its penchant for lynching, arson, and burning at the stake.
What boggles my mind about most of the reactions I’ve seen to this incident is that the very same people seem wholly indifferent to civilian casualties in Iraq. Thousands of people have died. The Associated Press’ intentionally conservative count, which excluded military casualties and only included victims who had been brought to hospitals, was 3,240 just for the period of March 20 to April 20 of last year. Many of those early deaths were to bombs, building collapse, and fire. The bodies of many of those casualties were just as gruesome as the scenes from Fallujah; the main difference was that they weren’t seen on U.S. TV. The relatives and neighbors who had to bury them saw the bodies, though, and in some cases so did much of the rest of the world. It didn’t suit the tenor of the U.S. media at the height of the invasion to do so, however. CNN called the Fallujah attack “horrific”. Yeah, it is. So is having your neigborhood bombed because someone “thought” Saddam Hussein was there, and having your family die when the apartment you lived in is destroyed. It’s all people doing the dying, whoever’s doing the killing, with whatever weapons they’re using, and from whatever distance it’s being done.