The masters of war are at it again folks. Three mass terrorist attacks in western nations in the span of just over a year. First, the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, 2015 killing 12. Then the Paris attacks in November killing 130. And most recently, the Brussels attack leaving at least 31 dead in March of this year. That brings the total to 173 people dead. One hundred and seventy-three. People just cannot believe that Europe of all places is being targeted. And it is hard to believe that countries with some of the lowest murder rates are now being bombed. Not only being bombed, but also in a time when refugees scramble over the borders like ants under a magnifying glass. So, you may ask, what’s the response?
The Response is War
“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories,” – George W. Bush
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” – Adolf Hitler
War is that thing you hear about but never really take the time to ponder. It’s one of those things that we see on the T.V. and newspapers while keeping up with the Kardashians. It’s background noise and for the most part, that’s all it’s ever been in America. We get caught up in all the excitement and seem to forget that our support may actually cause real bombs to drop on real people, even if it is far away.
This is why the lie is so effective. Americans either cannot be bothered or are too busy to research most things that are fed to them through the abrasive straw that is cable. Ask most Americans today what we should do about global terrorism and the war in the Middle East and they may say something to the effect of “carpet bomb them” or “bomb the shit out of them”. I have heard so many variations, such as; “wipe them off the face of the earth”, and even as creative as “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out”.
It’s stomach-turning, but it’s also very American. America has always needed a war to keep the gears turning. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on communism; all just another cog in the machine to keep the ball rolling on down the hill.
So, what is the result of our most recent conflicts?
Well, if we just count ISIL terrorism which we could take some responsibility for, considering we turned the Middle East on it’s head after 9/11. The results of ISIL follows below:
Did you notice anything? There were 197 people killed in western nations but the flip side is a staggering 1,926 people killed in Middle Eastern countries. This means that a whopping 10% of all ISIL attacks took place in western countries and less than 1% took place in the U.S. Yet, how many of you heard of the attacks taking place in Iraq, or Libya or Syria? Or Yemen for that matter? Iraq alone was 55% of all the attacks. Why don’t we hear about these? Well, because they’re people that live in countries we’ve already labeled and shelved away as “evil doers”.
Let’s take a step back and get some perspective.
There were 2,996 deaths from the attack on 9/11. There are now 6,639 American deaths and 50,442 wounded in a conflict that has mired on for over 15 years. Now, that is an absurd number of deaths and casualties and imagine that many young men and women with lives forever changed because of a few powerful peoples decisions.
Alright, now let’s really get some perspective. The total civilian casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan war are hard to quantify, but let’s if we can by the most conservative numbers.
Already we reach a number that is boggling to the mind. Conservatively, it puts the total civilian casualties at 81,997, already surpassing our military’s wounded by some 31,000. And that’s the conservative number. The most liberal estimates put the number much higher at 1,382,334 casualties. So, even we fucking average the two numbers we still come out at a ridiculous and disgusting 732,166.
So, the next time someone says we should just bomb the shit out of the Middle East and forget about it. Try to remember the lives, the real fucking lives that will be affected. The grandparents, the father and mothers, and the young kids laying in their beds when they hear the sound of a drone missile coming for them. Don’t fall into the same American path of fear and consume, don’t let the fear dictate who we slaughter, please leave that to our congressman who couldn’t possibly have anything to gain.
Thomas Foreman is an aspiring writer, photojournalist, and cheap beer taster. After school, he set off on an excursion through Peru, and then later throughout Europe. The travel bug having been securely attached, he now teaches English in the land of the Maya.