Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Personifying Evil

On Sunday, the BBC reported this story; Fixing the problem of Falluja. This chilling quote was contained within it;

The marines that I have had wounded over the past five months have been attacked by a faceless enemy," said Colonel Brandl.

"But the enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him."
The man speaking is not some crazed televangelist. It is Lieutenant-Colonel Gareth Brandl, described in the article as "a charismatic young officer who is on his second tour in Iraq." He led a battalion that attacked Fallujah

Beyond the obvious problems derived from such dualistic thinking (there are two Gods, the God of Evil and the God of Good, engaged in an eternal bout of cosmic fisticuffs), history reveals the folly of using evil against evil. Often such a tactic does nothing more than assure an evil outcome.

It is estimated that 100,000 innocent civilians have already died in Iraq; many after Saddam was captured. It is estimated that 800 civilians have died in this latest attack on Fallujah. This is an estimate because the American military will not allow anyone into the city to see what's really going on, including the Red Cross. We are fairly certain that at least one instance of murder has occurred. From other eyewitness reports, such as this one from Bilal Hussein, a photographer for The Associated Press based in Fallujah, it looks like murder was a tactic used by the American troops;

"U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house," he said.

Hussein said he panicked, seizing on a plan to escape across the Euphrates River, which flows on the western side of the city

"I wasn't really thinking," he said. "Suddenly, I just had to get out. I didn't think there was any other choice"...

...Hussein moved from house to house dodging gunfire and reached the river.

"I decided to swim … but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river."

He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. Then, he "helped bury a man by the river bank, with my own hands."

"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards."
Remind me again, Colonel Brandl, where did you see the face of Satan?

Why is there little moral outrage about this? I thought the American people recently claimed that "moral values" were at the top of their list of priorities?

I suppose that there's only so much moral outrage to go around. So much has been expended on legislating sex and denying health care for women that there's not much left for war crimes.


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