The similarities between Cho's psychology and the forces that drive United States foreign policy ought to be startling, and profoundly disturbing: the feelings of vulnerability, victimization, humiliation and rage are the same -- as is the determination to restore one's own dominance through violence and murder. But be sure you appreciate the the chronology and the causal chain that Lifton correctly identifies: just as Cho did not suddenly become a murderer on the morning of April 16, but only reached that awful destination after years of inexorable psychological development along one particular path, so too the United States was not instantaneously transformed into an unfocused, rage-filled international murderer after 9/11. As Lifton states, "The war on terrorism, then, took amorphous impulses toward combating terror and used them as a pretext for realizing a prior mission aimed at American global hegemony." ...Read the rest. Also recommended is this piece from Tom Dispatch which Silber quotes extensively. (via)
As I said, the horror of the Blacksburg killings was genuine. But consider the immense difference in scale between the expressions of grief and horror at Cho's actions -- which led to the deaths of 32 innocent people -- and those that have arisen out of our war of aggression against Iraq, and the subsequent hellish occupation. The Blacksburg murders consumed our country for a week, blotting out almost all other news; the horrors and deaths in Iraq, which far outnumber Cho's killings on any single day, receive mention, but nothing remotely approaching the frequency and intensity of coverage that followed the Virginia Tech incident.
As I have repeatedly stated, Iraq had not attacked us and constituted no serious threat to our nation. These facts were entirely clear in the spring of 2003. Thus, our invasion and occupation of Iraq were and are immoral, illegal, and an unending war crime. We have murdered well in excess of half a million innocent human beings; the number creeps closer to one million with each day that passes. Cho unforgivably murdered 32 people who had done him no harm. What are we to say about the actions of the United States in Iraq?
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Articulate Anger of Arthur Silber