Monday, September 14, 2009

Are you worth rescuing?

It astonishes me, how the lenses of media and statism can distort the perceived value of human life. Recently there has been a lot of coverage about the death of British paratrooper John Harrison, "while acting with the greatest of courage in th[e] most dangerous mission" to rescue New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell from captivity in Afghanistan.

The family of the paratrooper is heartbroken, and why wouldn't they be? The question should be, why is this death and family grief given so much more significance and coverage? Why not the deaths of the Afghans, (a woman and child) killed in the "rescue" or the thousands of deaths of Afghan civilians and their families since the US and NATO invaded in 2001?

And why is the question never posed about the character of the soldiers who are complicit with the thousands of acts of murder and terrorism their organizations are actively engaged in? Instead praise is heaped upon them for having died for the State. Regardless of whether or not John Harrison ever killed anyone personally, he is at minimum guilty of actively supporting a criminal organization. Having said that, i don't expect the Telegraph to share my anarcho-capitalist point of view in their reporting, and to their credit they have given some coverage to the story of Sultan Munadi, New York Times interpreter killed during the rescue of Mr. Farrell.

The distortion of the value of human life isn't just seen in the contrast in amount of media coverage of white vs. brown people. It can also be seen, and rather blatantly so, in the perspectives of the military commentary regarding their "operation":
Andrew Robathan, the Conservative MP and former SAS officer, said: "We have lost far too many people in Afghanistan already and this is one death [John Harrison] that could have been avoided. It is always a tragedy when we lose a life but it is particularly tragic if it was an unnecessary operation because people have ignored security advice." It's touching to hear the sorrowful pronouncements on the value of human life coming from a politician, but he manages in the same breath to degrade the value of Mr. Farrell by implying that his rescue was unnecessary. Elsewhere we read that: "One senior Army source told The Daily Telegraph: “When you look at the number of warnings this person had [Mr. Farrell] it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life...." So here we have a couple of statists, who are probably representative of the military mindset in general, that a mere journalist isn't worth as much a solider. Why would that be? Is it the fact that Mr. Farrell was warned repeatedly about the danger and so his life was forfeit? Or is it instead because Mr. Farrell was in the area, despite the warnings, investigating yet another statist atrocity in which over 90 Afghans were killed when NATO bombed a fuel truck in the middle of town, a story that could be very damaging to the state. Would the damage be from the public outcry at home? No it would be from the Afghan people who would resist the occupation all the more virulently and to the same degree lend their support to one of many local militias and fanatical organizations using the name Taliban.

I think its worth noting that Mr. Munadi in his blog for the New York Times recalls the traumatic events of his childhood when another Imperialist empire (the Soviet Union) used his country as a bombing range. The United States and NATO have taken over this murderous role from the Soviets, and with the same results. According to the website, more than 30 million pounds of bombs have been dropped on that country since 2001. The Afghan refugees in the below video from would certainly sympathize with the comments from Mr. Munadi's father when he said that his son was "killed for no reason at all".
When so little value is placed on your life that the slaughter of friends and family by indiscriminate bombing and shooting continues without end, it shouldn't be a surprise to hear the refugees lament that: "death is better than this kind of life... i swear to God... that i want death."
Unfortunately, i think the State will be more than willing to oblige that request.

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