Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Stop The Slaughter

At least 42 are dead in western Iraq after a U.S. helicopter attack on a wedding party. At least 24 are dead in Gaza after an Israeli helicopter attack on a peaceful protest in Gaza.

Where is our shame? Where is our outrage? The U.S. and Israel will both undoubtedly claim tragic error - but helicopter attacks on crowds of civilians? My God, how can we tolerate this? We slaughter 42 people in Iraq so that they can free? Israel slaughters 24 people in Gaza so that they can withdraw from occupied territories? There is no ideal we can invoke that elevates these attacks above the basest savagery, no higher good to which we can appeal for justification, no altruistic motive that can dignify these reckless acts, no consolation or refuge to be had in the rationalization that a noble endeavor was vitiated by human frailty. Would it really make any difference if we suddenly discovered stockpiles of sarin artillery shells tomorrow?

How do supporters of this war react to this? Do they react with condign horror? Shake their heads and say "war is hell"? Perhaps they shrug their shoulders and mutter "shit happens."

It must be apparent now that there is no objective that justifies this kind of madness. If we in the U.S. joined voices and shouted "STOP" the administration would have to listen. If we fail to do this, then we must stand in the dock of history with Bush and Sharon, Rumsfeld and Cheney, Wolfowitz and Feith, the neocon cabal in Washington, and the fanatics in the Gaza settlements.

The U.S. must stop the slaughter in Iraq now, and must immediately end its complicity in Sharon's butchery.