Thursday, January 05, 2006

Iraqis Don't Count

by Jim Glover

The recent death of twelve coal miners in West Virginia became an enormous news story. The very day they were dying (January 3), an equally tragic story went virtually unnoticed. That was the death by American bombs of at least nine members of an Iraqi family, and the serious wounding of three more, in the town of Beiji.

Several of the Beiji casualties were women and children. The family’s residence was purposefully targeted because three men who MAY have planted a roadside bomb MAY have gone into it.

I’m not all that sensitive of a guy (you could ask my wife). But for the life of me I do not understand why the continued slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis by American bombs is not much of a story. I can only conclude that it’s because Iraqis don’t really matter – which is ironic considering our stated purpose to “liberate” them from tyranny.

I wonder how we’d feel about the Iraq war if CNN and the others gave just one such bombing as much coverage as they gave to the West Virginia mining disaster. By not providing such coverage, our news agencies help sustain the fiction that the enormous suffering we have caused in Iraq will somehow, some day, have a humanitarian end.

The West Virginia miners died the way they did because they happened to be born on top of a mountain of coal. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are dying violently for a similar reason. They had the misfortune of being born over an ocean of oil.

What’s the difference?