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A Litmus Test on Empathy

The victims of the shooting spree included a 9 year old, a 20 year old aspiring medical student and his mother, a 46 year old dermatologist, a 52 year old car dealer, a 47 year old truck driver, a 12 year old, a 52 year old businessman, a 77 year old gardener, a passenger on a bus, and a 54 blacksmith commuting to work on his motorcycle.

Also killed an 18 year old soldier, a woman of 55 as she sheltered her daughter at a bus stop, a 26 year old cab driver who solely supported 7 other family members, a 33 year old father of 7 who was seeking work in the area, along with his 27 year old cousin, and a 27 year old father of three.

The above people killed were all Iraqis.

"Only" Iraqis.

Considering the gobsmacking complacency of millions of Americans after years of US military mass murder and devastation in the Middle East there assuredly would be a lessening in empathy among many American “exceptionalists” upon discovery that these victims were "only" Iraqi. The so-called "heart light" switched off.

The victims described above were killed by four Blackwater guards reveals Patrick Martin in “Blackwater and the crimes of US imperialism.”

Martin makes the simple point that the range in ages and circumstances of these victims reflects the same ranges of all the US Iraqi victims -- one million of them killed -- from the US conquest and occupation of Iraq.

All ages. Males and females. Babies through seniors. Workers. Students. Professionals.

These people had all lived in one of the most “advanced societies” in the Middle East before the US government chose to have its violent way with their country.

The four former Blackwater guards have been convicted on multiple counts of first-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter for their actions on September 16, 2007. These men opened fire on the Iraq civilians in Nisour Square. They killed 17 people and wounded 20. This week the mercenaries were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 30 years to life.

This sentencing is an exceptional occurrence since as a rule US atrocities on Middle Eastern innocents escape accountability.

Mercenary agencies like Blackwater have made billions in profits contracting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sometimes these contractors “outnumbered” the actual military personnel. Blackwater mercenaries were what Martin describes as the most “flagrant” killers in Iraq, but not the only killers. There have been “numerous” incidents, reports Martin, of “mass murder” by US troops, special forces and private contractors.

How many incidents?

God only knows since murdered victims can’t talk ...

... and most of those in authority over the killing agents for US empire don’t care.

Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning released military report logs to WikiLeaks revealing some of the atrocities that were known by the military authorities but never prosecuted.

Manning even released a video entitled “Collateral Murder” showing adrenaline-hopped up US troops on a helicopter picking off innocent Iraqis below them, including children, as if participating in a video game.

Manning has been given a 35-year prison sentence by the military justice system for exposing US war crimes. In the eyes of US authorities it is the exposure of their war crimes that constitutes a serious crime worth prosecuting to a draconian degree, not the actual war crimes.

How many US soldiers have been prosecuted for murdering, raping, maiming Iraqis? A handful at most, explains Martin, “no matter how strong the evidence and how grisly the circumstances.”

For the politicians and generals who organized and oversaw the mass murders and destruction of Iraq and all the other devastated and presently being devastated countries on their bloody clipboard, there is no serious sense of responsibility for civilian murders.

Neither is there serious outrage on the part of the majority of Americans on the murdering of innocent foreign fellow human beings -- the Americans who take their cues of what is worth their compassion and attention from sociopathic government and military leaders and a sociopathic corporate owned media.

The principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II mean nothing to those in charge of and doing commentary on US war-making and apparently no longer to too many of the desensitized rest of us Americans pulled in with our tax dollars and our children as cannon fodder as accessories to ongoing mass murder.

Now, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria offers another convenient excuse for escalating war with the government of Syria to bring about regime change there (as well as bringing on regime change in any country that won’t bend to US imperial will). ISIS had been an affiliate of Al Qaeda. It since has been armed and financed covertly by the US and its affiliates like Saudi Arabia to play their "shock troops."

The US “crusade” for corporate profiteering (masquerading as "on" rather than "of" terror) is being waged all over the Middle East and will continue to rage on.

[cross-posted on znet]

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Submitted by lambert on

They deserved it. But there were many more.

Now, of course, we have drones. I'm pleased that the drone operators burn out! Perhaps watching a target for hours through a drone camera, as they do, produces empathy in a way that looking at them through a gunsight for a few seconds does not. We can only hope!