The tragedy of military murder at Ft. Hood, Texas this week is very real. Some might wonder if the fatality rate would have been even greater if the perpetrator had been a combat soldier instead of a military psychiatrist. But all soldiers are trained to kill, and the perpetrator’s professional job was to relieve soldiers from guilt and stress from their soldierly activities in nationally sanctioned warfare. His own crimes showed that sometimes those stresses do not recognize the boundaries selectively set by society as to what sorts of killing are approved and condoned and which are considered villainous.
The American public was understandably outraged by the loss of life in this manner. Some made it an "Islam vs. us" issue" and the backlash could be great.
But how many known murders of Moslem civilians in Iraq have led to criminal sanctions in US military courts? How many soldiers who wantonly "lit up" civilian vehicles for sport have been accused, much less convicted of murder?
How many Blackwater mercenaries have been charged with first degree murder, much less convicted, even though the Iraqi people are sure that their fellow citizens have been murdered callously, deliberately and wantonly by soldiers referring to them routinely as "Hajis", "ragheads" or worse?
There is no profound sense of outrage by the American public or by its president over American military murders of Iraqis or other non-Americans around the world. But President Obama and various congress people have stated in the Ft. Hood aftermath that ALL Americans are outraged and hurt by American military fratricide. Why the discrepancy?
Why are American lives so much more valuable than non-American lives? If we understood this, we could better understand how easily the American public tolerates wars for the sake of empire. We could understand the raw numbers of non-Americans killed by American-style industrial warfare in the last hundred years. America has perfected the tools of war, the strategies of war, the application of the doctrine of massive firepower against all that live and breathe in any combat zone.
The North Koreans know this. The North Vietnamese know this, as do the Somalis and the Salvadorians and the Iraqis. And they all know that America shipped its troops to their lands, against the wishes of their masses of people, and then killed wantonly in wars America chose to prosecute in the interests of American consumers and American corporations.
Empires are built on the blood and bones of innocent victims. They always have been and always will. America is an empire and its only regrets are when its self-generated violence blows back on its own citizens and citizen warriors. Selective outrage is what allows mass military murder and what happened in Ft. Hood will never be forgotten, just as the lives and deaths of the millions of victims of deliberate, sanctioned, American mass murder will never be remembered.