Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia and Iraq

Juan Cole makes a point that, in the context of our present moment, needed to be said. Today, we have banner frontpage headlines across the United States and internationally about the murders of 33 students in Virginia. It's a genuine horro that deserves the headlines. In our various media, this will be commented upon, mourned, discussed, analyzed and editorialized about for at least a few days. The US Attorney General postponed his latest round of perjury before Congress for two days because of it. Cole writes in his Informed Comment blog 04/17/07:
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?

I wrote on February 26,

'A suicide bomber with a bomb belt got into the lobby of the School of Administration and Economy of Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and managed to set it off despite being spotted at the last minute by university security guards. The blast killed 41 and wounded a similar number according to late reports, with body parts everywhere and big pools of blood in the foyer as students were shredded by the high explosives.'

That isn't "slow progress" or just "progress," the way the weasels in Washington keep proclaiming. It is the most massive manmade human tragedy of the young century.
Thirty-three deaths in a mass killing in America grips the whole country's attention, as it should. The daily slaughter in Iraq is still being spun by the Cheney-Bush administration as improvement, progress, turning corners, and so on.

If the killing decreases for a day or two, they claim its a sign of success. If the killing increases, they claim it shows that The Terrorists are desperate and that's a success, too. Men like Dick Cheney and George Bush should never, ever, be given the power of life and death over other human beings.

International headlines on the Virginia murders:

Amokschütze war 23 Jahre alter Südkoreaner Der Spiegel Online 17.04.07 (Germany)

Horror, Sorrow and Angry Questions Der Spiegel International 17.04.07 (Germany)

European Press Reactions: Blaming Charlton Heston Der Spiegel International 17.04.07 (Germany)

El autor de la masacre de Virginia era un estudiante surcoreano de la universidad El Mundo (Spain) 17.04.07

Tragedia en Virginia Tech El País 17.04.07 (Spain)

Otra vez las armas El País editorial 17.04.07 (Spain)

Amokläufer war 23-jähriger Student der Uni Der Standard 17.04.07 (Austria)

Täter nach Uni-Massaker jetzt bekannt: 23- jähriger Südkoreaner richtete US-Blutbad an Profil Online 17.04.07 (Austria) (no direct link to article available; I don't know why Profil does that, it's dumb)

Amokschütze war 23-jähriger Student aus Südkorea Frankfurter Rundschau 17.04.07 (Germany)

Schockstarr FAZ 17.04.07 (Germany)

Europe Offers Condolences for US University Shooting Victims Deutsche Welle 17.04.07 (Germany)
So überlebte Österreicher das Massaker Österreich 17.04.07 (Austria)

Liebesdrama löste Amoklauf aus Süddeutsche Zeitung 17.04.07 (Germany)

Massacre on campus: 32 students shot dead at American college Independent 04/17/07 (Britain)

El tirador era un alumno surcoreano que residía en el campus La Nación (Argentina)

Korean student was campus killer Aljazeera (Qatar)

Will this terrible day in Virginia be enough to dent America's love affair with guns? Independent 04/17/07 (Britain)

Atacante en universidad de EU, estudiante surcoreano El Universal 17.04.07 (México)

Indian professor killed in US varsity shootout Times of India 17.04.07

Israeli lecturer died shielding Virginia Tech students from gunman Ha'aretz 04/17/07 (Israel)

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