Showing Enemy Crimes, Ignoring Allied Crimes

CNN’s top-front story this morning is a disgusting video showing a dead girl from the al-Ranel neighborhood of Latakia. She was shot in the eye, and is sprawled out on the sidewalk. “Her mouth was frozen, slightly ajar. Her vacant face and lifeless head conjured the image of an alabaster bust,” the reporter described.

Left unsaid in the CNN piece is that al-Ranel hosts a large Palestinian refugee settlement, which has taken many of the hits from the Syrian navy as it shells Sunni neighborhoods. 2.5-year-old O’laa Jablawi could be one of another generation of Palestinians with less rights than even Syrians themselves, doomed to grow up in Syria as an outsider with few prospects — though they’re admittedly not as bad off as Lebanese Palestinians. They don’t have birthright citizenship in these places, of course. But I digress.

Such care to detail is taken by American reporters to describe everything down to the position of a senselessly slaughtered little girl’s hair — as long as she is the victim of an enemy dictatorship. If little O’laa had been born in, say, the West Bank with her possible kinsmen, felled by an Israeli bullet, she’d be a footnote. If she were an Afghan or Pakistani child killed by a US drone, not only would there be little evidence of her body left, we would have never known of her existence, let alone her name.

168 children have been murdered by US drones since 2004 just on the Pakistani side of the border. We have no idea how many have been killed on the Afghan side. And we don’t know the names of even one of them. Does CNN solemnly report on the shocking and revolting details of their deaths? Never.

We see this hypocrisy, this unequal view of the “other,” carried over into our own justice system. Members of the Afghan “Kill Team,” which killed innocent Afghans for sport, were given pathetically light sentences. But a US soldier who shot dead two colleagues in (possibly) self-defense was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The latter killed humans beings that matter. The former thugs did not.

It’s good that CNN is showing us, at least through leaked video — Assad has banned foreign journalists from Syria — the horrors of war, the terrible, heart-breaking human toll. But if American pride is on the scales opposite a gruesome truth, we can expect the Pentagon’s pet media to hold a finger on the side keeping Lady Liberty’s face unblemished.

  • Brad_Smith2

    The true horrors of wars are rarely known by the people of the US. This was one lesson they learned from Vietnam Don't show our dead and wonded or the grief of their families or our victims either. Only show those poor people killed by the enemy.

    As a vet I speak out as much as possible. Not that non-vets have less of a right to their opinions. I don't believe that at all. However, those of us who have seen the worst of it can be compelling witnesses.

    Think about the young men and women who are considering enlisting. War is just an abstract concept to them. "It's like a video game", one young man told me. Many parents are no better, why should they be with a media like ours?

  • Brad_Smith2

    Just to expand a little on my comment. Think about how the media treats the dead soldiers. Most of the time they are just a number. So many killed today. When they do show the faces of the dead it's always a picture framed to show the soldier as a hero. Usually this is a picture taken from Basic training or while he is enjoying himself.

    Then move on to the wounded. The numbers are not mentioned often, but even then it's just abstract, it's just a number. When they do show them in person. It's almost always some guy who is bravely and merrily strugling to overcome his injuries.

    Even when they interview parents, it's always how this happened while he was doing what he loved or thought was right. He's a Hero/Martyre, he was always the greatest kid ever. It's never that guy who is ticked off at what he did, who lost his legs, who lost his wife and who is slowly losing his mind.

    Well of course everybody knows that it's unpatriotic if you don't put on that hero's smile.

  • Mike Cormany

    Isn't there some way to remove these miserable shoe salesmen and their ilk? I know I've had comments on here that were 'moderated' and never shown. I still have no idea why but it wasn't for spamming — these people are scum. Sell your crap on world nut daily, losers.

  • Mike Cormany

    Mr. Smith is right. Part of the problem in the US is we haven't suffered through what war actually is since 1865. We've used 911 to justify a decade of war in multiple countries and act like we know what it is, but unless someone has been there, there's just no way. I applaud vets like Mr. Smith who come back from a war of choice determined to prevent future war, not tell us how vital it is to lose one's limbs, genitals, family — life, even if you survive — to defend our cherished freedoms and way of life. These young people are not defending the USA nor are they fighting for the many idiotic reasons we're given. They're dying and being mutilated for oil and Big Business/Empire in general. And they're suffering in ways we can't even begin to imagine.

  • liberal

    Chomsky and Herman put this well in one of their books, classifying atrocities/genocides in a tripartite manner:
    * evil (not their word) genocides, committed by state enemies
    * useful genocides, committed by state allies (or the state itself)
    * benign genocides (committed by parties the state views neutrally)

  • Luther B.

    Someone has posted a good documentary on this subject on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXhJ-vEq5Fo

  • What happened in Pakistan and Afganistan Borders are unfair. People with in nonsense were killed blatantly. I have no any other comment except, please withdraw all soldiers from there and keep the piece. We should stop this asap.