Beheading Generations


Ty Hensley says his family’s pain will last for generations.

Ty is the brother of Jack Hensley, one of the American contractors beheaded in Iraq this week. And he’s perfectly right, his brother’s death will almost certainly be remembered by members of the Hensley family for a long time to come.

What boggles my mind is that people in general — I’m not talking about the Hensleys here — can’t seem to make the connection between their own experience of grief and that of the relatives of the thousands of civilians in Iraq who have been killed since America invaded. For all the talk of how “tribalism” affects Iraq’s political and social situation, the US isn’t all that far removed from that same tribalism. Considering that tribal ties are largely extended family relationships, that’s not entirely a bad thing, but it is a bad thing when the tribal thirst for revenge gets in the way of rational thought.

Those people whose tribal sympathies for the Hensleys’ loss will then advocate for further punitive action against Iraqis — regardless of civilian casualties, as happened in Fallujah earlier this year — forget that the memory of those deaths will be causing pain that will last for generations, as well.