Sunday, September 8, 2013

When the U.S. Kills Children, They're Only "Collateral Damage"

As part of the full-court press in favor to promote the illegal bombing of Syria, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was doing the rounds on the Sunday shows this morning. McDonough has a penchant for advancing a "Think of the children" frame in promoting war.

Here is McDonough on Meet the Press, for instance:
"This is a person who has gone from using overwhelming conventional force to using napalm on children to now using chemical weapons…with the scale and scope we have not seen in three decades," McDonough said.
And then again:
"What the president has said throughout the course of this is: If Congress wants to make sure there is consequence for a dictator using these dastardly weapons against his own people—including children—then they are going to have to vote yes for this resolution," McDonough said.
The use of napalm on children, of course, should remind you of the Vietnam War, since the U.S. and its South Vietnamese allies did exactly that. There's even a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo. Between 1963 and 1973, the U.S. dropped a total of 388,000 tons of napalm on Vietnam.

But that was then, this is now, right? The U.S. would never view the lives of children with such callous disregard.

Let's turn it over to the Associated Press from this morning:
Afghan officials have said an apparent Nato air strike has killed 15 people – nine of them civilians, including women and children – in an eastern province where the Taliban remain strong.
And according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 168 and 200 children. The U.S. government pretends they don't exist or writes them off as "militants."

But, surely, you say, the U.S.'s "limited," "tailored," and "surgical" operations against the Syrian regime will not result in the deaths of any innocent children.

Obviously, the potential casualties from U.S. military action didn't get as much attention as the importance of sending a "message" to Iran and North Korea; however, the question was still raised during the hearings on the Hill the other day:
Estimates of collateral damage? “Lower than a certain number which I would rather share with you in a classified setting,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey told lawmakers.
So we don't even know how many civilians the U.S. military expects to wind up killing during these "limited" strikes. If Dempsey isn't willing to divulge that information, it must not be pretty.

But don't worry. You see, when another country kills children, those children were precious angels. But when the U.S. kills children, they're just "collateral damage." Damascus is a very dense city: approximately 1.711 million people (at least as of 2009) in 41 square miles. That's about 42,000 people per square mile. Any attack is likely to produce a number of civilian deaths and would not bring any of the past dead back to life.

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