Thursday, June 29, 2006

Philip Slater: Let's Get Real About Atrocities, And Which Kind We're Comfortable With - Yahoo! News: "Philip Slater: Let's Get Real About Atrocities, And Which Kind We're Comfortable With Philip Slater
Wed Jun 28, 7:06 PM ET

Military experts are said to be 'stunned' by recent reports of American soldiers committing 'atrocities' against Iraq civilians. In response to a recent marine rampage the Pentagon instituted a two hour 'training course' to teach soldiers that it isn't cricket to kill unarmed civilians, and congratulated itself publicly for cutting civilian murders to one a week, down from seven a week last year.

The hypocrisy in all this is the pretence that atrocities are an occasional occurrence perpetrated by a few bad apples--that it's possible to bomb and invade a country humanely. But the atrocities committed by a few marines, overcome with fear and rage, are nothing compared to those committed by cool and comfortable pilots on bombing raids. The latter are not counted as 'atrocities', despite the fact that (or because) they are far more common and far more devastating. Whether a child is slaughtered by a deliberate act or by 'collateral damage' doesn't matter much to the parent.
The last two decades have seen a flood of novels and memoirs by American and European authors depicting the horrible agony of losing a child. If a novel or memoir were written and published by every parent who has lost a child to 'collateral damage' there would be no room in the bookstores for anything else. It's the height of hypocrisy to be horrified by incidents of savagery committed by young boys under constant threat of death--boys inadequately prepared for the quagmire they've been thro"


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