Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My first political rant

As I ate my cereal this morning, the Austin American Statesman informed me that a private security firm in Iraq has been involved in the shootings of more than 200 Iraqis, most from the front seat of a vehicle while driving away. While some were surely self-defense, at least a handful were cold-blooded murder, including the death of a bodyguard of the Iraqi vice-president by a drunk Blackwater employee who was then spirited out of the country by--get this--the State Department and never prosecuted. In other questionable and not-so-questionable cases, the families of the dead were paid off to keep them from complaining. The circumstances of the shootings were not routinely investigated until the media brought attention to them.

I'm tired of feeling outraged and powerless about what is being done in my name. I knew at the beginning of this that innocent men and women, both American and Iraqi, would tragically die in this war and I was willing to concede that it might be necessary. I know that the circumstances of our action there are far more complex and tragically complicated than we even imagine, that the lines between "innocent" and "insurgent" can be impossible to see. I believe that the daily sacrifices of many of our military and civilian representatives serving there are heroic and meaningful.

But . . .

But I wanted to believe that we would care--that we would care about the tragedy of Iraqi dead at least enough to officially count them, that we would care about the humanitarian crisis that we have helped to create enough to increase, not dramatically decrease, the number we allowed to emigrate to our own country, and especially that we would care enough to refrain from trying to buy their silence when we kill them.

Mowgli has wondered aloud why American evangelicals who defend the sanctity of human life believe that God values American lives more than Iraqi lives, why we think we matter more to Him than they do.

1 comment:

Electric Monk said...

Great post. This issue of American lives being more valuable than other lives was made evident to me several weeks ago during a CNN.com report about an airliner crash. The report listed the details of the accident, but the last line of the article caught my attention the most. In essence, it said, "None of the victims are believed to be Americans."

My immediate thought was, why is that important? What difference does it make whether the people who died in a foreign airline crash in a foreign country were Americans? They were all someone's sons, daughters, mothers, fathers. Should I somehow be relieved that none of them happened to have been born in the same country as me? Should a comeplete stranger's life somehow be less valuable because he carries the wrong kind of passport?