After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”
In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”
Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.
One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market. “The bombs struck next to the hospital complex and near the market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia’s third-largest city with shrapnel,” a dispatch in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 8, 1999.
And: “In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots.”
~ from The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink by Norman Solomon ~
If a sniper guns down people going about their daily routine in America suburbia, we call it the work of a deranged person and an act of a heinous nature. If a military sniper guns down people going about their daily lives in some faraway foreign theater, we call the soldier an American hero who is doing his duty for his country. Likewise, as Solomon makes clear, a bomb meant to inflict grievous harm via shrapnel is patently evil if it is detonated outside of an American-led war, but the deployment of the same type of device by American or allied forces within the framework of an official or deemed war is par for the course and shouldn't cause anyone on our side to lose any sleep.
How we look at crimes against humanity all depends on the framework of when and how they are used. What may be considered a violation of international law when employed against us is nothing more than one arrow in our quiver when we are the one utilizing it. While this often true for all nations and peoples, it is especially pernicious when we're talking about the world's biggest international bully -- the USA.