Moral Equivalence

After a soldier slaughters 16 civilians in Afghanistan, President Obama pointed out that killing Afghans is just as serious as killing Americans. Amazingly, this is the first time in memory that a president has pointed out thaty foreign lives matter as much as domestic ones.

3 thoughts on “Moral Equivalence

  1. Ted,

    If it’s sarcasm, I missing it. When Obama says anything about the sanctity of foreign lives, I take it with the same grain of salt that I took any of Dubya’s talk about the sanctity of lives, foreign or domestic. I suspect that a search of the databases would reveal pretty much the exact same phraseology from administration to administration when a bunch of foreign people in U.S.-involved war zones get killed: “deplore the situation,” “our prayers go out to their families,” “the United States works to preserve life,” “we respect all cultures,” etc. etc.

    This isn’t the first time civilians in foreign countries have been killed by the United States. Sometimes it’s done for strategic reasons (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden). Sometimes the soldiers go crazy (My Lai — fun fact, William Calley got house arrest for that, and his girlfriend got to be able to visit him). Sometimes the tech, um, develops a fault (wedding party blown to Kingdom Come).

    Heck, sometimes the U.S. kills own citizens (Kent State). Occupy Wall Street, any day now, will be the next one of those because their luck has just been holding out too long. Some cop’s gonna fire into the crowd and there will be a few dead people all at once and a few extra dead from the panic-stampede and the aftermath (watch for instances of the police deliberately withholding medical care from the injured, that could bump the total a little, too.) The New York Times, I suspect, will run a mildly critical article about the police, and demand, strenuously, that someone consider forming a committee to discuss the possibility of drafting a very sternly worded letter of complaint to the appropriate civilian-review board.

    I don’t believe that the current president cares one bit about a bunch of civilians, foreign or domestic. His biggest concern, the thing he worries about most of all, is how this effects his re-election chances. And as most Americans still can’t find Afghanistan on a map, I suspect that this will be nothing vote-wise for the upcoming election.

  2. Exactly – and if nothing else, it highlights the fact that we need to leave ASAP, and we never should have been there in the first place. Most Americans don’t even know we “are at war” anymore and are brain dead to anything that does not affect them personally.

  3. Perhaps I am misinformed, but my impression was that in the United States, an individual’s life was only eligible for sanctity prior to his or her birth and that even then, the notion of collateral damage was applicable….


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