I’ve written a very brief post over at my main blog, concerning
the recent mass killing one particular recent mass killing by a US solider in Afghanistan.
It’s worth noting just how much this incident brought out the repugnantly tribalistic side of many supporters of the military. When one of our side goes off-message and slaughters innocents while they sleep, we expect it to be taken for granted that this was one rogue, isolated individual, unrepresentative of us as a whole, and it’d be completely unfair to judge the rest of us based on this one guy. Obviously we’re still the good guys and we’re doing what’s best. The idea that we should act even for a moment as if our position as moral defenders of freedom and goodness weren’t totally assured is ridiculous.
But whenever one of them attacks us, well, that’s entirely typical behaviour, it’s just what they do, it’s what we have to expect from them.
A post at Practical Doubt in particular exhibits some truly staggering examples of othering from commenters on the Fox News website. The first exemplifies the general attitude taken to foreign victims of US military action:
How “innocent” were they really? Any proof ? ? ?
If someone were to question the “innocence” of the 9/11 victims, and ask for proof that they didn’t deserve to get blown up before offering them any sympathy, I wonder if this person would take a similar position.
There are no “others” here. There are lots of people with lots of ideas and lots of feelings and lots of ways of dealing with their ideas and their feelings. Some people died, and that’s horrible. Someone killed them, and that’s tragic. It was just one event which doesn’t stand out much in an ongoing conflict, and that’s…
I don’t even know.