Protesters attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday night, killing four Americans, including US ambassador, Chris Stevens. Demonstrators also attacked the U.S. embassies in Yemen and Egypt on Thursday.
In response to the outbreak of violence, President Barack Obama vowed to “bring to justice” the Islamist gunmen responsible and the U.S. military has dispatched two navy destroyers to the Libyan coast, preparing to track suspected perpetrators with surveillance drones.
Libyans demonstrated earlier today holding up signs protesting against the killing of US ambassador Christopher Stevens, stating that extremists and killers are not supported by the Libyan people or Islam.
The attacks were triggered by rage over an amateurish hateful film about Islam, considered blasphemous to the faith. The anti-Islam film depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, promiscuous, child molester. It was written, directed and produced by Sam Bacile, an Israeli real estate developer living in California.
Bacile claims the film cost $5 million to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors. Its purpose: to show that “Islam is a cancer” and to provide a “provocative political statement condemning the religion”.
My sympathies to those loved ones lost in this tragedy. Despite the atrocities of the attacks and loss of innocent life, we have to face some hard truths. Is an American life worth more than the countless, unnamed individuals around the globe dead at the hands of American forces?
How many more will not live to see the end of this affair? By constantly policing the world, sticking our noses where they don’t belong, we are bound to get them bloodied sooner or later. Representative Ron Paul argues the U.S. should not spend taxpayer money on foreign aid to countries such as Libya and Egypt. Certainly we have enough domestic issues to keep us occupied…
The US holds themselves in high regard. We routinely label ourselves the greatest nation on the planet. Yet on what merit do we establish this “fact”?
The US is ranked:
- 38th in literacy.1
- 14th reading.2
- 25th maths.2
- 17th science.2
- 3rd in exports.
- 3rd in labor force.1
- 49th in life expectancy.1
- 188th (dead last) in Account Balance with -561,000,022,016 (USD $) in debts.1
We are ranked 1st in:
- Number of incarcerated citizens per capita.4
- Military spending — we spend 711 Billion (USD $) which is more than the next 14 countries combined.3
Yet we remain confident in our assertion that “We’re number 1.”
Our nation also seems perfectly able to justify the invasion and conquest of an entire nation. We sleep soundly knowing countless individuals of certain ethnic and religious groups are incriminated and persecuted without due process or reasonable suspicion. We don’t bat an eyelid when our government announces the assassination of its own citizens and citizens around the globe. Nor when we wage wars abroad in the name of “homeland security,” arbitrarily murdering of thousands of innocents in our thinly veiled lust for natural resources. They are labeled with the misnomer, “collateral damage” just as we routinely mislabel our policies with convoluted names like “defense initiative” or “Patriot Act”. These policies are then perceived as such; their true nature remaining shrouded and obscured on a need-to-know basis.
Heaven forbid some foreign entity lays a finger on one single American. All hell breaks loose, and we let fly with everything we’ve got. Our value of life is tipped in favor of America. America first, foremost and always. The rest of the world is lucky to get a footnote for genocide when we save the headlines for one dead American.
It must be the easiest thing in the world, getting America involved in a conflict. All it takes is a solitary stray bullet, or, say a racist, bigoted, scum-of-the-earth, propagandist film.
Glenn Greenwald discusses the embassy attacks, shedding light onto a common phenomenon seen in the US media coverage, particularly involving the death of Americans. The murder of American staff over a hate film is wrong; but so are deaths caused by the US that go unnoticed, daily.
The deaths … are both a tragedy and a senseless outrage. Indiscriminately murdering people over a film, no matter how offensive it is, is an unmitigated wrong. The blame lies fully and completely with those who committed these murders.
Sam Bacile and his cowardly anonymous donors are repellent cretins for producing this bottom-feeding, bigoted, hateful “film” that has no apparent purpose but to spread anti-Islamic hatred and provoke violent reactions. But just as was true of the Qur’an burnings by Pastor Terry Jones (who, unsurprisingly, has a prominent role in promoting this film), or the Danish Muhammad cartoons before that, it is – and it should be – an absolute, unfettered free speech right to produce films no matter how offensive their content might be.
It is hard not to notice, and be disturbed by, the vastly different reactions whenever innocent Americans are killed, as opposed to when Americans are doing the killing of innocents. All the rage and denunciations of these murders in Benghazi are fully justified, but one wishes that even a fraction of that rage would be expressed when the US kills innocent men, women and children in the Muslim world, as it frequently does. Typically, though, those deaths are ignored, or at best justified with amoral bureaucratic phrases (“collateral damage”) or self-justifying cliches (“war is hell”), which Americans have been trained to recite.
…there’s no denying that the same people today most vocally condemning the Benghazi killings are quick and eager to find justification when the killing of innocents is done by their government, rather than aimed at it.
It’s as though there are two types of crimes: killing, and then the killing of Americans.
The two political parties in the US wasted no time in displaying their vulgar attributes by rushing to squeeze these events for political gain.
Just compare the way in which the deaths of Americans on 9/11, even more than a decade later, are commemorated with borderline religious solemnity, as opposed to the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims caused by the US, which are barely ever acknowledged. There is a clear hierarchy of human life being constantly reinforced by this mentality, and it is deeply consequential.
1. According to the CIA world factbook country rankings in 2011.
2. According to Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) education rankings in 2009.
3. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute results of 2011.
4. According to International Centre for Prison Studies 2011 results.