If outrage has not ensued, it is because Those Other Terrorists are American troops. And as we all know, America does not do terror. It only fights terror.
The American terrorism that shall not be named is of the state-sponsored variety. I am talking about the dozen or so unnamed pilots and military bureaucrats who unleashed a brutal wave of destruction last fall against a charity hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Although they terrorized, killed and injured scores of innocent people, they won't be facing any criminal charges, civil charges, or be faced with military courts martial. They are receiving little to no TV coverage. They have only been given administrative letters of reprimand which will, the Pentagon boasts, severely endanger their future chances for promotion through the ranks. Their individual roles in the Kunduz terror attack will merely be appended as a blot on their permanent records.
Their careers might be stalled, but their lives will go on. They will continue to get their paychecks. They won't be demoted. If they fly, their pilots' licenses won't be revoked. They were only following orders. Mistakes were made. They will be shielded from accountability,because that is what American Exceptionalism is all about.
A full six months after the air attack that killed 42 and injured 37 at the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital, the new commander of U.S, and NATO forces finally visited the site of the devastation to personally express his condolences.
As commander, I wanted to come to Kunduz personally and stand before the families, and people of Kunduz, to deeply apologize for the events which destroyed the hospital and caused the deaths of the hospital staff, patients and family members,” said General John W. Nicholson. “I grieve with you for your loss and suffering; and humbly and respectfully ask for your forgiveness.”This apology is the latest official statement about the "tragedy" in which victims were decapitated, disemboweled, dismembered, and literally incinerated in their beds. First, American officials insisted they didn't know they were attacking a hospital. Then they claimed that American troops were being attacked in the vicinity of the hospital. Then they changed their story again, asserting that Afghan troops had lied to them about the hospital being used as a headquarters for the Taliban, and that it was the Afghans who'd requested the bombardment.
Nicholson was accompanied in his visit to Kunduz by his wife, security analyst Norine MacDonald, who reportedly met with some survivors for about five minutes. Her husband issued his formal apology in a closed session with Afghan officials, and did not meet personally with victims' families to ask their forgiveness. As the New York Times reports, the people were not placated:
They hit us six months ago and are apologizing now?” said Zabiullah Niazi, an operating room nurse at the hospital who lost an eye, a finger and the ability to use one hand. He also suffered other wounds. “The head of the provincial council and other officials who said we accept the apology, they wouldn’t have said it if they had lost their own son and eaten ashes, as we did.”
Mr. Niazi said about 18 male members of victims’ families and two survivors had been called to the governor’s office for a meeting with General Nicholson. But the general himself did not show up, instead making a speech in a packed auditorium where family members and survivors did not get a chance to speak.MSF still maintains that the attack was deliberate and has demanded an independent war crimes inquiry. A final "report" on the terrorist attack by the American military will be issued soon... by the Pentagon itself. Names will be redacted, reputations saved, crocodile tears shed. Call it the Bush Trickle-Down Method for the Protection of War Criminals. If President Obama can blithely admit that "we tortured some folks" and then call the torturers patriots, then he and the brass can blithely excuse anything. Even the deliberate bombing of a hospital.
Meanwhile, the media-political complex wants all you citizens to perform your patriotic duty of staying very afraid of the Terrorists Over There. And while you're shivering and shaking over the All Terrorism All the Time show, they want you to join them in sanctimoniously condemning the awful Trumpian Islamophobia which they also broadcast for great profit at Donald's Fight Club political rallies. Because as you should all know by now, that is not Who We Are.
America is better than that.
* Update: Neil deMeuse has other examples of how not all terrorist deaths are treated equally. The mainstream media devoted little attention to a very similar attack by a Kurdish group in Ankara,Turkey a few weeks ago, which actually killed and injured more people than the one in Belgium. Of course, one attack killed mainly Western Europeans and the other killed Eastern Europeans and Asians (including, as in Kunduz, people of the Muslim faith.) The disparity between coverage of the Brussels and Ankara bombings parallels that of the disparity between the other similar attacks in Paris and Beirut.
The coverage of the Belgian atrocity is so wall-to-wall that it
even included a story in the New York Times about all the Starbucks restaurants closing down in Brussels. DeMeuse observes
The usual defense of US outlets that offer lesser coverage of deaths in other parts of the world cites readers’ and viewers’ increased interest when Americans are somehow involved — at its most base, the principle expressed in McLurg’s Law that a death in one’s home country is worth 1,000 deaths on the other side of the world. (This was on full display in the Chicago Tribune’s lead story on the Brussels bombings, which was headlined “Brussels Attacks: 3rd Bomb Found; Americans Hurt.”) But while US citizens were injured in Brussels — three Mormon missionaries caught in the airport blast received widespread coverage, including in USA Today (3/22/16) and on CBSNews.com (3/22/16) and NBCNews.com (3/22/16) — and none in Ankara, another Turkish bombing this month did have American casualties: Two Israeli-Americans, Yonathan Suher and Avraham Goldman, were killed along with two others in an ISIS suicide bombing in Istanbul on March 20. Their deaths earned brief stories in the New York Times (3/19/16) and Bloomberg News (3/19/16), but no mention elsewhere in the US news media.He added that coverage of terrorism depends on what region of the world is terrorized. If you reside in a Muslim area, for example, bombings are just shit that you expect to happen. But in the West, terrorism is considered so outside the norm that it merits the wall to wall coverage. This is despite the fact that the United States has more gun deaths than any other "civilized" nation on earth. When it comes to terror, killings perpetrated by "insiders" are less interesting to the media than killings committed by The Other.