Monday, July 14, 2008

Crashing Wedding Parties

Tom Engelhardt documents four wedding parties - and a possible fifth - blown away by US air power since 2001, and notes:

We Americans have only had one experience of death delivered from the air since World War II – the attacks of September 11, 2001. As no one is likely to forget, they shocked us to our core. And you know how those deaths were covered, right down to the special pages filled with bios of civilians who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the repeated invocations of the barbarism of al-Qaeda's killers (and barbarism it truly was).

These wedding parties, however, get no such treatment. Initially, they are automatically assumed to be malevolent – until the reports begin to filter in from the hospitals, the ruined villages, and the graveyards, and, by then, it's usually too late for much press attention. When that does happen, their deaths are chalked up to an "errant bomb," or that celebratory gunfire, or no explanation is even offered.

Nothing barbaric lurks here, even though we can be sure that these civilians were hardly less surprised by the arrival of the attacking planes than were the victims of 9/11. For their deaths, no word portraits are ever painted. No one in our world thinks to memorialize them, nor is there any cumulative record of their deaths. Whole extended families have been wiped out, while the dead and wounded run into the hundreds, and yet who remembers?

Here's the truth of it: In Bush's wars, the wedding singer dies, the bride does not get a chance to run away, and the event might be relabeled my big, fat, collateral damage wedding.

In the process, we have become a nation of wedding crashers, the uninvited guests who arrived under false pretenses, tore up the place, offered nary an apology, and refused to go home. It's a remarkable record, really, and catches the nature of the Bush administration's air war not on, but of and for terror in a particularly raw way. And yet, in this country, when the latest wedding party went down, no reporter seems even to have recalled our past history of wedding-party obliteration. So it goes.


cynthia said...

I knew there was a deep-seated reason why I never wanted to get married. And I always thought there was a really sick message behind the phrase "all's fair in love and war."

Kim said...

Thank you for your posting. It was a very interesting read as I heard about the story on the weekend.

I do wonder where it will all end?

Arun said...

End in a new "Defence of Marriage" Act????