So another atrocity has been committed by an US service member in Afghanistan. As has happened each and every time this comes up, at least since 9/11, there are too many in the American public willing to empathize with this man. I for one cannot, but will not get into that here. I think LTC Wellman sums up the arguments as to why shouldn’t in that article and Glenn Greenwald attacks our hypocrisy about this violence very adeptly here.
What I would like to know is why any of us are surprised at this point. As long as I can remember we have been taught to dehumanize non-Western cultures in general and Middle Eastern cultures in particular. Even the movie Aladdin gets in the game in its opening credits. We buy into the idea that the entire Islamic World is populated by extremists willing to kill at the drop of the hat, despite that, like everywhere else, most of the people just want to live their daily lives in peace.
We can’t have peace though. It is not very profitable and despite the fact that one of our most revered, conservative Presidents warned against its growing power we have let the military industrial complex take over. It has taken over our entertainment, priming us for a life of endless conflict. It has taken over our energy policies, making ready excuse to enter that conflict. It has taken over our news media, leaving us, with few exceptions in the mainstream, with cheerleaders that have forgotten the example of Murrow, Woodward or Bernstein.
So steeped are we in the culture of violence, and in particular violence against that religious and ethnic group that they have chosen for us to hate, that we shrug our shoulders and sympathize with a man who murders children in their beds. All the facts aren’t in, so maybe he wasn’t the one to do it, though I am inclined to believe he did. The facts that are in, however, are that once again we are all culpable in innocent death and once again, we yawn.