Recycled QWA #4: collateral damage

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Alfred P Murrah building.

collateral damage

11 September 2005 · When the AP Murrah building in Oklahoma City was quite literally defaced 149 adults, and 19 children in the first floor daycare, died. People who probably had done nothing terrible to anyone in their entire lives. People who did not deserve to die. Americans who did not deserve to die. Civilians who were killed by a decorated American war hero.

Every day overseas right now an American kid—maybe he’s 18, maybe he’s 25—kills an Iraqi—maybe an armed insurgent trying to set an IED, maybe a child or a woman in the line of fire or just running too quickly for help toward a Marine. It takes just 4 pounds of pressure on that M16 trigger and no thought at all to end a life. Just training. Several hundred thousand men trained to not think, evaluate, or deal with their humanity; just to point and squeeze. Taking their practicals every day now. Being given medals and promotions. Sharing the title hero.

That American kid learns the value of a human life is just political capital to be spent, bartered, exchanged, or called-‌in whenever a whim blows through the marble courtyards of DC. That American kid learns that the difference between murder and killing an enemy is irrelevant; perspective. Learns that his government is as confused as he is and doesn’t care enough about him to send him over with decent equipment or intelligence. Learns that his friends are dead or missing important pieces for a protean series of evaporating reasons that bear no resemblance to the picture his homecoming presents him.

There is collateral damage being done in ways and on levels that will not be known for 20 years after America declared—without an actual declaration—the so called War on Terror. A war without borders. A war without uniforms or enemies who care if they live or die. A war not to win anything. A war without conditions for victory.

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