On a program on MSNBC’s Morning Joe following Monday’s debate, co-host Joe Scarborough was musing uneasily about the significant new developments in warfare that the current drone program has created, where someone in America operating a joystick can blow up people half a world away, with widespread death inflicted upon people who just happen to be near the target. This was a topic that was passed over without discussion in the debate.
Scarborough said, “If you’re between 17 and 30, and within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up, and that’s exactly what’s happening.” Allegedly liberal Time columnist Joe Klein defended this practice, repeating that cherished illusion of Obama supporters that only ‘bad guys’ get killed and that it saves American lives.
When Scarborough said, “This is offensive to me, though… It seems so antiseptic. It seems so clean. And yet you have four-year-old girls being blown to bits … this is going to cause the U.S. problems in the future”, Klein responded with the extraordinary statement that what is important is not that four-year old girls get killed but the nationality of the girls. He says, “The bottom line, in the end, is: Whose four-year-old gets killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that four-year-olds here are going to get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”
So there you have it. A conservative former Republican congressman is disturbed by the US having a policy that results in the deaths of children in far-flung lands while the liberal Obama supporter says that it is perfectly fine to kill children over there in order to prevent children being killed here, and besides they are not ‘our’ children so who cares?
As Glenn Greenwald points out, this is the mirror image of the defense given by terrorists captured trying to plant bombs in the US, which is “Why shouldn’t we do to your children what you are doing to ours?”
On NPR, Philip Reeves had a disturbing report on a similar defense given by some in Pakistan over the horrific shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, with them asking why there is so much outrage over her shooting when the US routinely kills innocent people all the time in the remote tribal areas and no one makes a fuss in the west.
As Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”