Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dumbing Us Down

I had to hear Tom Gjelten describe Hezbollah and al-Qaeda as "rival terrorist organizations." Well, isn't that a convenient, simple-minded distortion favoring US and Israeli war-makers. Before the Israeli's assault on Lebanon, just how many civilians had Hezbollah killed in say the last ten years? Hardly any, and those were in missile exchanges with Israel. To compare Hezbollah with al-Qaeda--which aimss specifically for mass casualty civilian targets in belligerent states-- is ridiculous.

So far all of NPR's coverage about the airline terrorism plot foiled by the British authorities has focused on surface issues (how many people, what are the new regulations, how would bombs be made, etc.). I keep waiting for that forbidden question: "Why?" That is the question that we are not allowed to consider. Why exactly are these terrorists targeting US/UK airlines? What are their complaints/demands/grievances? It is interesting to compare the coverage of the US/Israeli destruction of civilians and civilian targets with the coverage of terrorist operations. When it is the US/Israel destroying civilian targets all we hear about is "stopping terrorists," "establishing security" and "self-defense" as if legitimate aims justify terrorist tactics. Yet we almost never hear about the motives or platforms of non-state terrorist organizations unless it is some nonsense from US officials about their "hating freedom" or "hating our way of life."

Shouldn't there be one standard of ethics applied equally to all parties in a conflict?