Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Terrible Parallel...

Juan Cole's "Informed Comment" is a must daily read for anyone who wants to be generally well-informed about what is going on in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular -- especially as regards the motives for and effect of US involvement in the region.

Yesterday, Professor Cole drew a terrible parallel between Iraq and the US.

I quote and the boldface type is Cole's own:

I keep hearing from US politicians and the US mass media that the "situation is improving" in Iraq. The profound sorrow and alarm produced in the American public by the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech should give us a baseline for what the Iraqis are actually living through. They have two Virginia Tech-style attacks every single day. Virginia Tech will be gone from the headlines and the air waves by next week this time in the US, though the families of the victims will grieve for a lifetime. But next Tuesday I will come out here and report to you that 64 Iraqis have been killed in political violence. And those will mainly be the ones killed by bombs and mortars. They are only 13% of the total; most Iraqis killed violently, perhaps 500 a day throughout the country if you count criminal and tribal violence, are just shot down. Shot down, like the college students and professors at Blacksburg. We Americans can so easily, with a shudder, imagine the college student trying to barricade himself behind a door against the armed madman without. But can we put ourselves in the place of Iraqi students?

Two V-Tech-style attacks every day? That is almost too kind! What happened in Blacksburg is a rare zero event, magnified by the ownership of semiautomatic weapons by some bozo gone amok. In Iraq, the murdering craziness is organized and has goals.

Also, since the US has more than ten times the population of Iraq, we should perhaps speak of, not two, but twenty daily incidents. That would be equivalent to a daily Twin Towers -- doubled up!

True, such parallels are somewhat false, but have a use in putting a perspective on the despair and desperation we have engendered in Iraq -- and for what?

Indeed, those are the questions, why? and for what? A mask of righteousness ensconced behind a pack of lies and flatulence?

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