Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Exploiting our victims: CNN's "Youssef"

--There are no words for how despicable and misguided all of the coverage surrounding this poor little Iraqi boy has been. It's just another humiliating illustration of how sick and indifferent our culture is at this particular historical moment. This is nothing new.

In 1906, we were finishing a similar act of aggression in the Philippines, murdering tens-of-thousands of human beings there so that the Navy could have a refueling station in the Pacific.

In a war of aggression, it's understood in the codes of the Geneva Conventions (beginning in 1928 with President Coolidge's and the Senate's ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact) and other areas of international law that an aggressor is responsible for children like Youssif. For some reason, Americans haven't been properly educated about the fact that any deaths or injuries following an illegal invasion are the fault and responsibility of the aggressor nation.

Regarding the invasion and occupation of Iraq (and Afghanistan), we are the aggressors with no legal merit to our reasoning for the attacks. We did this to little Youssef. It doesn't matter if a militia of Shia, Sunni, Syrians, Iranians, or even Bedouins, set-fire to him. It's nobody else's fault but America's. CNN and the rest of the mainstream media carried the water for the Bush administration and banged the drums of war loudly for the interests who wanted the invasion.

This is to their eternal shame, and they now appear to be showing signs of cracking-up from the guilt...in little Youssef. Notice that it's OK to show someone like Youssef and their scars if it has a propaganda value. If it was just framed as something we did to him--which it was patently not in the CNN story--it might be noble, but this is far from that. How many tens-of-thousands of "Youssefs" are there in Iraq and the region who bear scars from our aggressions? Surely, it's staggering and creating another generation of future "terrorists." An historical example is necessary.

Imagine Youssef that was a grocer's son in Chicago during the 1930s. Youssef's father is attacked and intimidated by a gang that has taken-over their neighborhood, and they want protection money or they're going to torch their home and their business. Youssef's father declines paying these extortionists and the gang eventually firebombs the grocery store, causing the same injuries to him that we see in our current real world example.

But the gang doesn't stop there--they're afraid of looking too bad, and too dangerous, so they pay for Youseff's hospital bills while the cameras are rolling, and while the press is swallowing the lie out of fear. The thugs never return to torment Youssef and his family, but the damage has already been done.

This is the essence of the term "corruption," the destruction and liquefaction of human bodies for the enrichment of criminals. Welcome to Iraq, welcome to hell, we are
that gang.
We learned the lessons of Vietnam alright: hide the victims, even if it's necessary to hide them in-plain-sight.