I do wonder about the national paroxysm of grief, the generalized scream of pain offered by every politician and public official from president to trash collector, the public lamentation and wailing, the sickening enthusiasm shown by political tribalists from every point in the spectrum for scoring disgustingly cheap points off the blood-spattered corpses of the victims. Yet that isn’t honest of me: I don’t wonder about such public displays at all. I view them with deep loathing and contempt. I consider them, without exception, to be the symptoms of irretrievably damaged, narcissistic psychologies. Those who engage in such public displays and political positioning are vile and despicable in a manner that is close to impossible to capture in words. I emphasize again that I am speaking here not of those immediately affected by this tragedy, but of those people who have no direct connection of any kind to the victims and their families.
Out of a multitude of facts that I could offer to explain my judgment, I offer this, from an article in the Asian Tribune about civilian deaths in drone strikes ordered by the United States:CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 – 2012
Total US strikes: 321
Obama strikes: 269
Total reported killed: 2,429 - 3,097
Civilians reported killed: 479 – 811
Children reported killed: 174
Total reported injured: 1,169-1,281
US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 – 2012
Total US strikes : 41 - 128
Total US drone strikes: 31 - 67
Total reported killed: 294 - 651
Civilians reported killed: 55 - 105
Children reported killed: 24
US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 – 2012
Total US strikes: 10 - 21
Total US drone strikes: 3 - 9
Total reported killed: 58 - 169
Civilians reported killed: 11 - 57
Children reported killed: 1 - 3
We know that these figures are far from complete, just as we know that the numbers of innocent human beings murdered by the United States government are far, far higher, even if we restrict ourselves to murders in recent years. This is true not only because the U.S. government carries out operations in more than 75 countries around the world. Do not forget the genocide in Iraq.
I say, “Do not forget…” — but the truth is far worse. The U.S. government — and most Americans — have never recognized the genocide at all.
Consider the staggering number of murders of innocent human beings committed by the United States government — and ask yourselves how many Auroras those murders represent. I have tried to make calculations of this kind before: using conservative estimates of the deaths in Iraq, the murders in that country alone represent a 9/11 every day for five years. An equivalent number of Auroras would be much higher.
Listen for the public lamentations about even a small fraction of these deaths. Listen as carefully as you can. What do you hear? Why, nothing at all. These murders of entirely innocent human beings don’t matter at all to most Americans. They most certainly don’t matter to anyone in the U.S. government.
Can anything be worse than this loathsome silence? Perhaps one thing can be: the assertion by President Obama, and by the U.S. government, that he and they have the “right” to murder anyone at all anywhere in the world, for any reason they choose — and that they need never disclose any details of their murders, including the fact that they have ordered them. This is the assertion of absolute, unanswerable power. It is the same claim made by every slaughtering monster in history.
This monstrous crime, what is in fact an ongoing, systematic series of monstrous crimes, is greeted by near universal silence in America. The U.S. government orders an unending series of Auroras: it ordered an Aurora last week, it will order an Aurora this week, it will order an Aurora next week. Almost no one cares. Almost no one even notices.