Since the time in our lives when we became politically aware, we have been watching the concept of “collateral damage” in US led or funded military campaigns become more and more tolerated. Some of that occult tolerance may have been due to a hope that scientific research in the field of weapons would lead to ammunition that caused less civilian mortalities. Regardless of the reason, it put us on a slippery slope to where we are now.
Not only is our media turning a completely blind eye to our bombing victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we now find ourselves living in a philosophical atmosphere where some people actually defend the need to inflict civilian casualties in order to attain our geopolitical goals.
An alarming example is a recent article in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman, a columnist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize three times. This writer is, more or less, a mainstream media figure. On January 13th, 2009, his article “Israel’s goals in Gaza” was published in the NY Times. One paragraph pertaining to the Israeli campaign against Lebanon in 2006 reads:
Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.
So not only did Friedman find a “legitimate” excuse for Israel to do what it did in Lebanon in 2006, but he is reducing the deaths and injuries of thousands of Lebanese in Israel’s onslaught into terms like “education” and “pain”, as if killing or permanently injuring a human being is nothing more than a psychological experiment of classical conditioning.
This is worrisome. We are worried that the collective conscience of our nation is undergoing severe attrition. At the same time, we are hopeful that by conveying the suffering of other peoples in a way that relates to Americans, things can change. On collateraldamage.com we will be featuring true stories of victims in countries bombarded by the US either directly or by foreign governments supplied with US weapons.
We will discuss them one victim at a time and elaborate on their lives, their dreams, their hobbies, and their personalities. We plan to collaborate with other humanitarian organizations and hopefully, some day, we will have an America that acts according to its people’s conscience.
So what happened to this mission? See here.