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Our Culture of Violence is a Result of Americans (So Far) Not Having to Face Reality

Here's something to grouse about

When Hollywood shows our vaunted Special Forces “heroes” blowing up and slaughtering a bunch of terrorists and rescuing some hostage, committing war crimes with abandon, we don’t see the agonized death of the “collateral damage” victims of the assault -- the children in an invaded building who are frequently blown away along with the “bad guys,” or the agonized deaths of those “bad guys” themselves. We don’t learn the complex reasons those “bad guys” have put their lives on the line in the first place — many of which if we stopped to listen to them, we might understand and even agree with. We see it all instead in black and white, and don’t have to deal with the consequences of our being wrong. We also watch cop films where the good guys are cops who break the rules in order to wreak their own “justice” on the “bad guys,” in a made-up world where cops are just trying to protect us, and would never make mistakes, at least on purpose.

In the real world, of course, it’s not that simple. Those VC that our military was slaughtering with our high-tech weaponry in Ken Burns' PBS “myopic” were in fact courageously fighting against the United States in defense of their own country. They certainly were not attacking the United States or seeking its destruction, and indeed though they would have had every right to do so, no Vietnamese fighter ever sneaked into the US to blow up a US military target or even commit an act of “terror” against a civilian one. The Vietnamese, north and south, were fighting for the independence and unification of their own country. Even in the current US war in Afghanistan, the Taliban, whom me may properly see as religious fanatics bent on establishing a medieval society alien to our own, have never attacked or even remotely threatened the US. They have been trying to rid their country of foreign, and what they perceive as immoral and heathen, influences. Once it was the Soviets. Now for the last 16 years, it’s been us.

We see the world of “them” — any other people that want to chart their own future independent of the wishes of the US — as being against us, and for that cardinal sin, we are willing to unleash our incomparably destructive war machine against them, and civilian casualties be damned. So in Afghanistan, we recently obliterated a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kandahar, with a fixed-wing gunship known in the military as "Puff the Magic Dragon" raining down machine-gun fire on anything that moved for over half an hour and slaughtering doctors and patients alike. No Americans in the chain of command were punished for that atrocity and war crime. There were Taliban being treated in that facility, so the US military argued it was fair game — a position the US has taken over and over when it has destroyed hospitals, whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Syria. Similarly we have been blowing up wedding parties in the Middle East, always “by mistake.” Mistakes happen, we’re told, and “We thought it was a Taliban convoy.” Oops.

story | by Dr. Radut