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Reality of the "Lesser Evil"... Is This Child Dead Enough for You?

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  • scotpeden@cruzio.com
    The Reality of the Lesser Evil Is This Child Dead Enough for You? by CHRIS FLOYD http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/09/is-this-child-dead-enough-for-you/ To
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2012
      The Reality of the Lesser Evil

      Is This Child Dead Enough for You?
      by CHRIS FLOYD


      http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/09/is-this-child-dead-enough-for-you/

      To all those now hailing the re-election of Barack Obama as a triumph of
      decent, humane, liberal values over the oozing-postule perfidy of the
      Republicans, a simple question:


      Is this child dead enough for you?
      >
      This little boy was named Naeemullah. He was in his house — maybe
      playing, maybe sleeping, maybe having a meal — when an American drone
      missile was fired into the residential area where he lived and blew up the
      house next door.

      As we all know, these drone missiles are, like the president who wields
      them, super-smart, a triumph of technology and technocratic expertise. We
      know, for the president and his aides have repeatedly told us, that these
      weapons — launched only after careful consultation of the just-war
      strictures of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas — strike nothing but
      their intended targets and kill no one but “bad guys.” Indeed, the
      president’s top aides have testified under oath that not a single
      innocent person has been among the thousands of Pakistani civilians —
      that is, civilians of a sovereign nation that is not at war with the
      United States — who have been killed by the drone missile campaign of a
      Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

      Yet somehow, by some miracle, the missile that roared into the residential
      area where Naeemullah lived did not confine itself neatly to the house it
      struck. Somehow, inexplicably, the hunk of metal and wire and computer
      processors failed — in this one instance — to look into the souls of
      all the people in the village and ascertain, by magic, which ones were
      “bad guys” and then kill only them. Somehow — perhaps the missile
      had been infected with Romney cooties? — this supercharged hunk of high
      explosives simply, well, exploded with tremendous destructive power when
      it struck the residential area, blowing the neighborhood to smithereens.

      As Wired reports, shrapnel and debris went flying through the walls of
      Naeemullah’s house and ripped through his small body. When the attack
      was over — when the buzzing drone sent with Augustinian wisdom by the
      “Peace Laureate” was no longer lurking over the village, shadowing the
      lives of every defenseless inhabitant with the terrorist threat of
      imminent death, Naeemullah was taken to the hospital in a nearby town.  

      This is where the picture above was taken by Noor Behram, a resident of
      North Waziristan who has been chronicling the effects of the Peace
      Laureate’s drone war.  When the picture was taken, Naeemullah was
      dying. He died an hour later.  

      He died.

      Is he dead enough for you?

      Dead enough not to disturb your victory dance in any way? Dead enough not
      to trouble the inauguration parties yet to come? Dead enough not to
      diminish, even a little bit, your exultant glee at the fact that this
      great man, a figure of integrity, decency, honor, and compassion, will be
      able to continue his noble leadership of the best nation in the history of
      the world?

      Do you have children? Do they sit in your house playing happily? Do they
      sleep sweetly scrunched up in their warm beds at night? Do they chatter
      and prattle like funny little birds as you eat with them at the family
      table? Do you love them? Do you treasure them? Do you consider them
      fully-fledged human beings, beloved souls of infinite worth?

      How would you feel if you saw them ripped to shreds by flying shrapnel, in
      your own house? How would you feel as you rushed them to the hospital,
      praying every step of the way that another missile won’t hurl down on
      you from the sky? Your child was innocent, you had done nothing, were
      simply living your life in your own house — and someone thousands of
      miles away, in a country you had never seen, had no dealings with, had
      never harmed in any way, pushed a button and sent chunks of burning metal
      into your child’s body. How would you feel as you watched him die,
      watched all your hopes and dreams for him, all the hours and days and
      years you would have to love him, fade away into oblivion, lost forever?

      What would you think about the one who did this to your child? Would you
      say: “What a noble man of integrity and decency! I’m sure he is acting
      for the best.”

      Would you say: “Well, this is a bit unfortunate, but it’s perfectly
      understandable. The Chinese government (or Iran or al Qaeda or North Korea
      or Russia, etc. etc.) believed there was someone next door to me who might
      possibly at some point in time pose some kind of threat in some
      unspecified way to their people or their political agenda — or maybe it
      was just that my next-door neighbor behaved in a certain arbitrarily
      chosen way that indicated to people watching him on a computer screen
      thousands of miles away that he might possibly be the sort of person who
      might conceivably at some point in time pose some kind of unspecified
      threat to the Chinese (Iranians/Russians, etc.), even though they had no
      earthly idea who my neighbour is or what he does or believes or intends. I
      think the person in charge of such a program is a good, wise, decent man
      that any person would be proud to support. Why, I think I’ll ask him to
      come speak at my little boy’s
      funeral!”

      Is that what you would say if shrapnel from a missile blew into your
      comfortable house and killed your own beloved little boy? You would not
      only accept, understand, forgive, shrug it off, move on — you would
      actively support the person who didit, you would cheer his personal
      triumphs and sneer at all those who questioned his moral worthiness and
      good intentions? Is that really what you would do?

      Well, that is what you are doing when you shrug off the murder of little
      Naeemullah. You are saying he is not worth as much as your child. You are
      saying he is not a fully-fledged human being, a beloved soul of infinite
      worth. You are saying that you support his death, you are happy about it,
      and you want to see many more like it. You are saying it doesn’t matter
      if this child — or a hundred like him, or a thousand like him, or, as in
      the Iraqi sanctions of the old liberal lion, Bill Clinton,
      five-hundred-thousand children like Naeemullah — are killed in your
      name, by leaders you cheer and support. You are saying that the only thing
      that matters is that someone from your side is in charge of killing these
      children. This is the reality of “lesser evilism.”

      ***

      Before the election, we heard a lot of talk about this notion of the
      “lesser evil.” From prominent dissidents and opponents of empire like
      Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky and Robert Parry to innumerable
      progressive blogs to personal conversations, one heard this basic
      argument: “Yes, the drone wars, the gutting of civil liberties, the
      White House death squads, and all the rest are bad; but Romney would be
      worse. Therefore, with great reluctance, holding our noses and shaking our
      heads sadly, we must choose the lesser evil of Obama and vote
      accordingly.”

      I understand that argument, I really do. I don’t agree with it, as I
      made plain here many times before the election. I think the argument is
      wrong, I think our system is so far gone that even a “lesser evil” is
      too evil to support in any way, that such support only perpetuates the
      system’s unconscionable evils. But I’m not a purist, not a puritan,
      not a commissar or dogmatist. I understand that people of good will can
      come to a different conclusion, and feel that they must reluctantly choose
      one imperial-militarist-corporate faction over the other, in the belief
      that this will mean some slight mitigation of the potential evil that the
      other side commit if it took power.  I used to think that way myself,
      years ago. Again, I now disagree with this, and I think that the good
      people who believe this have not, for whatever reason or reasons, looked
      with sufficient clarity at the reality of our situation, of whatis
      actually being done, in their
      name, by the political faction they support.

      But of course, I am not the sole arbiter of reality, nor a judge of
      others; people see what they see, and they act (or refrain from acting)
      accordingly. I understand that.But here is what I don’t understand: the
      sense of triumph and exultation and glee on the part of so many
      progressives and liberals and ‘dissidents’ at the victory of this
      “lesser evil.” Where did the reluctance, the nose-holding, the sad
      head-shaking go?Should they not be mourning the fact that evil has
      triumphed in America, even if, by their lights, it is a “lesser” evil?

      If you really believed that Obama was a lesser evil — 2 percent less
      evil, as I believe Digby once described the Democrats in 2008 — if you
      really did find the drone wars and the White House death squads and Wall
      Street bailouts and absolution for torturers and all the rest to be
      shameful and criminal, how can you be happy that all of this will
      continue? Happy — and continuing to scorn anyone who opposed the
      perpetuation of this system?

      The triumph of a lesser evil is still a victory for evil. If your
      neighborhood is tyrannized by warring mafia factions, you might prefer
      that the faction which occasionally doles out a few free hams wins out
      over their more skinflint rivals; but would you be joyful about the fact
      that your neighborhood is still being tyrannized by murderous criminals?
      Would you not be sad, cast down, discouraged, and disheartened to see the
      violence and murder and corruption go on? Would you not mourn the fact
      that your children will have to grow up in the midst of all this?

      So where is the mourning for the fact that we, as a nation, have come to
      this: a choice between murderers, a choice between plunderers? Even if you
      believe that you had to participate and make the horrific choice that was
      being offered to us — “Do you want the Democrat to kill these
      children, or do you want the Republican to kill these children?” —
      shouldn’t this post-election period be a time of sorrow, not vaulting
      triumph and giddy glee and snarky put-downs of the “losers”?

      If you really are a “lesser evilist” — if this was a genuine moral
      choice you reluctantly made, and not a rationalization for indulging in
      unexamined, primitive partisanship — then you will know that we are ALL
      the losers of this election. Even if you believe it could have been worse,
      it is still very bad. You yourself proclaimed that Obama was evil — just
      a bit “lesser” so than his opponent. (2 percent maybe.) And so the
      evil that you yourself saw and named and denounced will go on. Again I
      ask: where is the joy and glory and triumph in this? Even if you believe
      it was unavoidable, why celebrate it? And ask yourself, bethink yourself:
      what are you celebrating? This dead child, and a hundred like him? A
      thousand like him? Five-hundred-thousand like him? How far will you go?
      What won’t you celebrate?

      And so step by step, holding the hand of the “lesser evil,” we descend
      deeper and deeper into the pit.

      ----
      Chris Floyd is an American writer based in the UK, and a frequent
      contributor to CounterPunch. His blog, “Empire Burlesque,” can be
      found at www.chris-floyd.com <html><body><div style="color:#000;
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      <DIV id=yiv1604643820>
      <DIV><FONT face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE:
      12pt"><B><I>The Reality of the “Lesser Evil”<BR></I></B></SPAN></FONT>
      <div align=center><FONT face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><B><FONT
      color=#800000><FONT size=7><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 27pt">Is This Child
      Dead Enough for You? </SPAN></FONT></FONT></B></FONT>
      <div><FONT face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><FONT size=1><SPAN
      style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT></FONT>
      <div align=center><FONT face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><FONT
      size=4><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt"><B>by CHRIS FLOYD
      </B></SPAN></FONT></FONT>
      <div><FONT size=2><FONT face="Tahoma, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial"><SPAN
      style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><BR></SPAN></FONT></FONT>
      <div align=center><FONT size=2><FONT face="Tahoma, Verdana, Helvetica,
      Arial"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt"><IMG
      src="cid:1.1574651820@..."> </SPAN></FONT></FONT>
      <div><FONT size=4><FONT face="Georgia, Times New Roman"><SPAN
      style="FONT-SIZE: 14.5pt"><BR></SPAN></FONT></FONT><FONT
      color=#0000ee><FONT face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><SPAN
      style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt"><U><A
      href="http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/09/is-this-child-dead-enough-for-you/"
      rel=nofollow
      target=_blank>http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/09/is-this-child-dead-enough-for-you/</A></U></SPAN></FONT></FONT><FONT
      face="Helvetica, Verdana, Arial"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 11pt">
      <BR></SPAN></FONT><FONT face="Verdana, Helvetica, Arial"><SPAN
      style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><BR>To all those now hailing the re-election of
      Barack Obama as a triumph of decent, humane, liberal values over the
      oozing-postule perfidy of the Republicans, a simple
      question:<BR><BR></SPAN></FONT>
      <BLOCKQUOTE><FONT face="Verdana, Helvetica, Arial"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE:
      12pt"><B>Is this child dead enough for
      you?<BR></B></SPAN></FONT></BLOCKQUOTE><FONT face="Verdana, Helvetica,
      Arial"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><BR>This little boy was named
      Naeemullah. He was in his house — maybe playing, maybe sleeping, maybe
      having a meal — when an American drone missile was fired into the
      residential area where he lived and blew up the house next door.<BR><BR>As
      we all know, these drone missiles are, like the president who wields them,
      super-smart, a triumph of technology and technocratic expertise. We know,
      for the president and his aides have repeatedly told us, that these
      weapons — launched only after careful consultation of the just-war
      strictures of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas — strike nothing but
      their intended targets and kill no one but “bad guys.” Indeed, <B>the
      president’s top aides have testified under oath that not a
      single innocent person has been among the thousands of Pakistani
      civilians — that is, civilians of a sovereign nation that is not at war
      with the United States — who have been killed by the drone missile
      campaign of a <I>Nobel Peace Prize Laureate</I>. <BR></B><BR>Yet somehow,
      by some miracle, the missile that roared into the residential area where
      Naeemullah lived did not confine itself neatly to the house it struck.
      Somehow, inexplicably, the hunk of metal and wire and computer processors
      failed — in this one instance — to look into the souls of all the people
      in the village and ascertain, by magic, which ones were “bad guys” and
      then <I>kill</I> only them. Somehow — perhaps the missile had been
      infected with Romney cooties? — this supercharged hunk of high explosives
      simply, well, exploded with tremendous destructive power when it struck
      the residential area, blowing the neighborhood to smithereens.<BR><BR>As
      <I>Wired</I> reports,
      shrapnel and debris went flying through the walls of Naeemullah’s house
      and ripped through his small body. When the attack was over — when the
      buzzing drone sent with Augustinian wisdom by the “Peace Laureate” was no
      longer lurking over the village, shadowing the lives of every defenseless
      inhabitant with the terrorist threat of imminent death, Naeemullah was
      taken to the hospital in a nearby town.  <BR><BR>This is where the
      picture above was taken by Noor Behram, a resident of North Waziristan
      who has been chronicling the effects of the Peace Laureate’s drone war.
       When the picture was taken, Naeemullah was dying. He died an hour
      later.  <BR><BR><B>He died.<BR><BR>Is he dead enough for
      you?<BR></B><BR>Dead enough not to disturb your victory dance in any way?
      Dead enough not to trouble the inauguration parties yet to come? Dead
      enough not to diminish, even a little bit, your exultant glee at the fact
      that this great man, a
      figure of integrity, decency, honor, and compassion, will be able to
      continue his noble leadership of the best nation in the history of the
      world?<BR><BR><B>Do you have children?</B> Do they sit in your house
      playing happily? Do they sleep sweetly scrunched up in their warm beds at
      night? Do they chatter and prattle like funny little birds as you eat
      with them at the family table? Do you love them? Do you treasure them? Do
      you consider them fully-fledged human beings, beloved souls of infinite
      worth?<BR><BR><B>How would you feel if you saw them ripped to shreds by
      flying shrapnel, in your own house?</B> How would you feel as you rushed
      them to the hospital, praying every step of the way that another missile
      won’t hurl down on you from the sky? Your child was innocent, you had
      done nothing, were simply living your life in your own house — and
      someone thousands of miles away, in a country you had never seen, had no
      dealings with, had never harmed in
      any way, pushed a button and sent chunks of burning metal into your
      child’s body. <B>How would you feel as you watched him die, watched all
      your hopes and dreams for him, all the hours and days and years you would
      have to love him, fade away into oblivion, lost
      forever?<BR></B><BR><B>What would you think about the one who did this to
      your child?</B> Would you say: “What a noble man of integrity and
      decency! I’m sure he is acting for the best.”<BR><BR>Would you say:
      “Well, this is a bit unfortunate, but it’s perfectly understandable. The
      Chinese government (or Iran or al Qaeda or North Korea or Russia, etc.
      etc.) believed there was someone next door to me who might possibly at
      some point in time pose some kind of threat in some unspecified way to
      their people or their political agenda — or maybe it was just that my
      next-door neighbor behaved in a certain arbitrarily chosen way that
      indicated to people watching him on a computer screen
      thousands of miles away that he might possibly be the sort of person who
      might conceivably at some point in time pose some kind of unspecified
      threat to the Chinese (Iranians/Russians, etc.), even though they had no
      earthly idea who my neighbour is or what he does or believes or intends.
      I think the person in charge of such a program is a good, wise, decent
      man that any person would be proud to support. Why, I think I’ll ask him
      to come speak at my little boy’s funeral!”<BR><BR>Is that what you would
      say if shrapnel from a missile blew into your comfortable house and
      killed your own beloved little boy? You would not only accept,
      understand, forgive, shrug it off, move on — you <I>would a</I>ctively
      support the person who did<I> it, </I>you would cheer his personal
      triumphs and sneer at all those who questioned his moral worthiness and
      good inten<I>tions?</I> Is that really what you would do?<BR><BR><B>Well,
      <I>that</I> is what you are doing when
      you shrug off the murder of little Naeemullah. You are saying he is not
      worth as much as your child. You are saying he is not a fully-fledged
      human being, a beloved soul of infinite worth. </B>You are saying that
      you support his death, you are happy about it, and you want to see many
      more like it. You are saying it doesn’t matter if this child — or a
      hundred like him, or a thousand like him, or, as in the Iraqi sanctions
      of the old liberal lion<I>, Bill Clinton, five-hundred-t</I>housand
      children like Naeemullah — are killed in your name, by leaders you cheer
      and support. You are saying that the only thing that matters is that
      someone from your side is in charge of killing these children. <B>This is
      the reality of “lesser evilism.”<BR></B><BR>***<BR><BR>Before the
      election, we heard a lot of talk about this notion of the “lesser evil.”
      From prominent dissidents and opponents of empire like Daniel Ellsberg
      and Noam Chomsky and Robert Parry
      to innumerable progressive blogs to personal conversations, one heard
      this basic argument: <B>“Yes, the drone wars, the gutting of civil
      liberties, the White House death squads, and all the rest are bad; but
      Romney would be worse. Therefore, with great reluctance, holding our
      noses and shaking our heads sadly, we must choose the lesser evil of
      Obama and vote accordingly.”<BR></B><BR>I understand that argument, I
      really do. I don’t agree with it, as I made plain here many times before
      the election. I think the argument is wrong, <B>I think our system is so
      far gone that even <FONT color=#800000>a “lesser evil” is too evil to
      support in any way</FONT>, that such support only perpetuates the
      system’s unconscionable evils.</B> But I’m not a purist, not a puritan,
      not a commissar or dogmatist. I understand that people of good will can
      come to a different conclusion, and feel that they must reluctantly
      choose one imperial-militarist-corporate
      faction over the other, in the belief that this will mean some slight
      mitigation of the potential evil that the other side commit if it took
      power.  I used to think that way myself, years ago. Again, I now
      disagree with this, and I think that the good people who believe this
      have not, for whatever reason or reasons, looked with sufficient clarity
      at the reality of our situation, of what<I> is </I>actually being done,
      in their name, by the political faction they support.<BR><BR>But of
      course, I am not the sole arbiter of reality, nor a judge of others;
      people see what they see, and they act (or refrain from acting)
      accordingly. I understand that.<I> <B>But </B></I><B>here is what I don’t
      understand: the sense of triumph and exultation and glee on the part of
      so many progressives and liberals and ‘dissidents’ at the victory of this
      “lesser evil.” </B>Where did the reluctance, the nose-holding, the sad
      head-shaking go?<I> Should </I>they not
      be mourning the fact that evil has triumphed in America, even if, by
      their lights, it is a “lesser” evil?<BR><BR>If you really believed that
      Obama was a lesser evil — 2 percent less evil, as I believe Digby once
      described the Democrats in 2008 — if you really did find the drone wars
      and the White House death squads and Wall Street bailouts and absolution
      for torturers and all the rest to be shameful and crim<I>inal,</I> <B>how
      can you be happy that all of this will continue?</B> Happy — and
      continuing to scorn anyone who opposed the perpetuation of this
      system?<BR><BR><FONT color=#800000><B>The triumph of a lesser evil is
      still a victory for evil. </B></FONT>If your neighborhood is tyrannized
      by warring mafia factions, you might prefer that the faction which
      occasionally doles out a few free hams wins out over their more skinflint
      riv<I>als; b</I>ut would you be joyful about the fact that your
      neighborhood is still being tyrannized by
      murderous criminals? Would you not be sad, cast down, discouraged, and
      disheartened to see the violence and murder and corruption go on? Would
      you not mourn the fact that your children will have to grow up in the
      midst of all this?<BR><BR>So where is the mourning for the fact that we,
      as a nation, have come to this: a choice between murderers, a choice
      between plunderers? Even if you believe that you had to participate and
      make the horrific choice that was being offered to us — <B>“Do you want
      the Democrat to kill these children, or do you want the Republican to
      kill these children?”</B> — shouldn’t this post-election period be a time
      of sorrow, not vaulting triumph and giddy glee and snarky put-downs of
      the “losers”?<BR><BR><B>If you really are a “lesser evilist” — if this
      was a genuine moral choice you reluctantly made, and not a
      rationalization for indulging in unexamined, primitive partisanship —
      then you will know that <FONT
      color=#800000>we are ALL the losers of this election.</FONT></B> Even if
      you believe it could have been worse, it is still very bad. You yourself
      proclaimed that Obama was evil — just a bit “lesser” so than his
      opponent. (2 percent maybe.) And so the evil that you yourself saw and
      named and denounced will go on. Again I ask: where is the joy and glory
      and triumph in this? Even if you believe <I>it was una</I>voidable, why
      celebrate it? And ask your<I>self</I>, bethink yourself: <B>what are you
      celebrating? This dead child, and a hundred like him? A thousand like
      him? Five-hundred-thousand like him? <I>How far </I>will you go? What
      won’t you celebrate?<BR></B><BR>And so step by step, holding the hand of
      the “lesser evil,” we descend deeper a<I>nd deeper into the
      pit.<BR><BR>----<BR><FONT color=#000080><B>Chris Floyd</B></FONT></I> is
      an American writer based in the UK, and a frequent contributor to
      <I>CounterPunch</I>. His blog, “Empire
      Burlesque,” can be found at www.chris-floyd.com <BR></SPAN></FONT><FONT
      size=4><FONT face="Georgia, Times New Roman"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE:
      14.5pt"><BR></SPAN></FONT></FONT></DIV></DIV><BR><BR></DIV></DIV></div></body></html>



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