5 Million Iraqis Killed, Maimed, Tortured, Displaced -- Think That Bothers War Boosters Like Christopher Hitchens?
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We have words to describe the act of seeking moral acclaim for helping an individual whose life one harms – “hypocritical” or “shameless” come to mind. But we lack even the thought-category to describe claiming moral credit for aiding an entire people while ignoring one’s responsibility for the broken lives of millions of them.
Many Americans may find themselves called upon to invent such words in coming years, as the mentality that has treated millions of foreigners as nonpeople increasingly affects American lives at home.
Nonhumanity Abroad, Nonhumanity At Home
In today's interconnected world, the West ignoring its civilian victims is increasing both terrorism and mass displacements of political and economic refugees. Increased terrorism and anti-illegal immigrant hysteria threaten American lives, political chaos and increasing police-state measures such as the wiretapping of U.S. citizens and Arizona’s recent immigration law. U.S. leaders’ nonhumanity abroad is increasingly affecting domestic security at home.
The most fundamental question for Americans is whether they too will be treated as nonpeople by U.S. elites should America now be entering a period of long economic decline and resulting political instability -- as has already occurred for those homeowners tricked out of their life savings by Wall Street. Will America respond to hard times as it did in the 1930s by expanding the safety net, taxing the rich and spending to combat unemployment? Or will its elites move to secure their own wealth and respond to the protests this will inevitably create with harsh measures?
Any American who tries to look at U.S. leaders from the perspective of a Lao refugee, an innocent Iraqi prisoner, a Haitian slum-dweller or a Helmand housewife terrorized at the prospect of the next U.S. offensive, can only shudder at such questions.