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Brief thought on 9/11

How you felt when the Towers were attacked, came tumbling down, killing 3000 innocent Americans? The pain and grief and outrage at senseless violence?

Other people feel that too, when we have a little oops, bomb their weddings or schools, and kill their children.

Which is not to say we should do nothing. But there's often a difference between protecting ourselves and killing others, not to mention between killing others *we're really sure of* and killing others we have some sort of intelligence on. Between killing with caution and regret, and killing with joyful bloodlust.

How much have we spent on securing our borders and planes and ports, against *any* attack, vs. attacking a couple of countries, one of them not even connected to 9/11? Spent in money, spent in blood, spent in loss of moral authority.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Though the usual Holocaust estimate is 6 million Jews, *5* million assorted others.
Sep. 11th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember having a hard time tracking down reliable numbers for that one... in some ways, it seems to relate a lot to your point, that dead is dead whether it's "intentionally systematic extermination" or "incidental collateral damage."

The U.S. doesn't (we hope) deliberately target civilians, but I'm sure that offers very little comfort, and when used as an excuse likely comes across as callous to the point of being offensive.

I remember being stuck, when we "accidentally" screwed up and bombed the Chinese embassy somewhere in the Balkans, that for every high-profile mistake where some idiot analyst reads a map wrong and feeds the wrong GPS coordinates into precision munitions there must be hundreds or thousands of cases of the same thing happening to people who don't get in the news.

The "fog of war" is real, and there has to be some acceptance that mistakes will be made that cause people to die, but I think it's vital that everyone in the chain of command and control be aware that it ish is or her personal responsibility to check and double check and not slack off, because mistakes murder innocent people. And the "it's only innocent them, not innocent us" is a bullshit avoidance of responsibility. I don't want our military to be paralyzed by having their hands tied at any chance of harming civilians, but I do think it's negligent when corners get cut.
Sep. 11th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
And sometimes innocent us, or at least Canadians.
Sep. 12th, 2008 07:44 am (UTC)
Between killing with caution and regret, and killing with joyful bloodlust.

Yeah, there's a difference all right. The difference is that those who fight only with "caution and regret" are more likely to lose the war.
Sep. 12th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
Not if our own conduct has effects on the willingness of the enemy to fight, and the likelihood of the creation of future enemies. Bloodlust might deter. Or it might lead us to make mistakes and kill innocents, and make more enemies. A respect for all human life might appear weak... or might tempt people to defect, or question their own side. "We're blowing up children and they're handing out food" plays out differently than "we're blowing up children and they're blowing up children."
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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