In his essay “Cult of Death,” New York Times columnist David Brooks decries “the massacre of innocents” and expresses his concern for “thousands of people destroyed while going about the daily activities of life.” The cult, he says, “attaches itself to a political cause but parasitically strangles it.”
Brooks is talking about people killed by terrorists in “New York, Madrid, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Bali.” He left out Washington, D.C., as so many people do. Those numbers do, indeed, add up to thousands of deaths.
Brooks neglects to mention, however, the other cult of death. Brooks accuses others of ignoring the human toll of terrorism, but he himself suffers from some sort of “mental diversion” about the fact that the death toll for Iraqi civilians since the war began — estimated at well over 10,000 — eclipses the number of people worldwide killed by terrorists in the past three years.
It’s a difficult fact to face, but it’s something that supporters of the current tactics in Iraq that include firing high-volume munitions into populated cities like Fallujah and Najaf should admit to themselves, before their own cause is parasitically strangled.