Tuesday, April 6, 2010


There was a puzzling wave of back-patting about Iraq a few weeks ago triggered by the recent elections. This purple finger phenomenon (essentially: now that Iraqis have voted, the entire war, the lies used to justify our invading a sovereign nation, and the many lives lost for it are all completely vindicated--indeed, ennobled--forever) was a routine occurrence on the right during the Bush years, but I was surprised to see a form of the argument still being made. Conservative columnist Daniel Larison had a thoughtful response; IOZ had a more vitriolic but also persuasive point.

In 2010 congratulating ourselves on what we did to Iraq is as intellectually dishonest and morally repugnant as hoping Iraq devolves into chaos to prove that you were right to oppose the war in the first place. For the sake of the actual human beings who live in Iraq, I hope for the best possible outcome from our unjustifiable invasion of their country, but I also hope the smug hawks read stories like this one about a study that reveals that "Iraqi children born in the most violent areas are shorter than those born in other parts of the country." And I hope they watch the video below of an attack in 2007 in Baghdad where U.S. soldiers in helicopters killed a group of men, including two Reuters journalists, and wounded two children who were in a van that arrived later to help the wounded. Here is a Reuters article about the video and its long-delayed release.

By the way, I completely understand if you'd rather not watch this video; I avoided it when it crossed my radar yesterday. And yet the worst thing about it is that there's nothing all that shocking in it--you hear some chillingly heartless comments from the soldiers, but in some ways (since I don't personally know any of the victims ) the most horrifying thing is how banal the incident is, how routine it is for these soldiers to fly around exterminating people from above, and how quickly they can justify possibly having murdered children.

1 comment:

  1. This is awful. One of the oddest parts, of it, though, for me, is how easy it is to watch. And how distant all those guys sound -- there's clearly a lot of mis-communication and mis-interpretation going on. Whose actually "seeing" the street? You know, from street level? And how does a shoulder camera look like an RPG?