The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTom Engelhardt Archive
Mattea Kramer: The Grief of Others and the Boasts of Candidates
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Here’s a what-if that continues to haunt me. What if some disturbed “lone wolf,” “inspired” by the Islamic State’s online propagandists, went out with an assault rifle or two and — San Bernardino-style — shot up a wedding, killing the bride and killing or wounding many others at the ceremony? Let’s posit as well the sort of casualties that did come out of the San Bernardino attack: 14 dead and 22 wounded. It doesn’t take a prophet or a media expert to know what the results would be: steroidal San Bernardino-style coverage 24/7 that would go on for weeks. It would be the horror story of the century. We would experience the tears, the accounts of wounded survivors, the funerals, the testimony of grief counselors, families in pain, and of course endless interviews with TV terror experts and pundits of every sort. You can imagine the role it would play in any future presidential campaign debates, what politicians in Washington would say, and so on. The thirst for revenge over such an act would be unquenchable. It would be seen, to chose a word Donald Trump has favored, as yet another revelation of the thoroughly “medieval” nature of our enemies (though with weaponry that was anything but).

And yet here’s the thing that, after all these years, continues to puzzle me: such a wedding slaughter has indeed occurred. In fact, it’s happened again and again in the twenty-first century — just with a somewhat different cast of characters, next to no media coverage, and just about no one in the United States paying the slightest attention. I’m speaking about the eight times between December 2001 and December 2013 when U.S. Air Force planes or, in one case, an American drone attacked wedding parties in three countries in the Greater Middle East — Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen — slaughtering brides, grooms, bridal parties, and scores of revelers. By my rough count (and it speaks volumes that TomDispatch is the only place in these years which has even tried to keep track of or count up these deaths), almost 300 Afghans, Iraqis, and Yemenis died in these slaughters, including in one case even the musicians playing at the wedding. Since 2013, two more wedding parties have been eviscerated, again to next to no notice here — both in Yemen by the U.S.-backed Saudi air force in its indiscriminate air war against Houthi rebels.


In our world, despite the fact that most of these weddings were clearly targeted “by mistake,” with not a terrorist suspect in sight, no conclusions are drawn. None of it is considered “medieval.” None of it counts as “barbaric.” (Only one of the eight incidents, in which a number of children died, even resulted in an official American apology.) None of it is worth 24/7 coverage for weeks, or any significant coverage at all. Can there be a more striking record of how little the deaths of civilians in Washington’s endless war on terror have fazed Americans or how little such deaths and the feelings of the grieving parents, siblings, children, relatives, friends, and neighbors left behind have been on the American mind? Few here seem to find any of this strange. That’s why TomDispatch regular Mattea Kramer’s piece today particularly speaks to me. She is the rare soul who finds an equivalency between our natural feelings of grief and loss and horror at the slaughter of American civilians, of those we care for, and the deaths of the distant victims of our wars.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
Hide 2 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. The Anglo/Zio Empire is a gigantic brainless psycho killer roaming the earth. It is the manifestation of evil in the hearts of men. In the U.S. it is called foreign policy. Bombing weddings is foreign policy.

  2. Rehmat says:

    The US media reported that three gunmen entered Inland Regional Services, a center for people with development disability, in San Bernardino, California. They began shooting randomly killing 20 people and wounding another 17 before they escaped the scene.

    However, someone who was at the scene, reported that he didn’t see blood or dead bodies, except a few scared people brought out by the police (watch video below).

    A few hours later, the report was revised to add some spice into it. Now, it goes like this; Syed Farook, 28, a US citizen who worked for the town’s health department and his companion Tashfeen Malik, 27, who came to attend a Christmas party at the center, but left earlier, were killed in police shootout along with 10 other people while 17 people were also injured. Now, the media has claimed that those two Muslims could be the gunmen.

    The police chief Jarrod Burguan has refused to call the shooting an act of terrorism and said the shooters had “some pre-planned agenda”.

    American investigative journalist, Jim Stone, posted on his website that this was a make-up shooting after Planned Parenthood attack failed.

    “Two shooters (now the only two suspects) are dead (how convenient) and were shot to death by police in their car. Muslim man and woman. Probably husband and wife. Let us see if this morph the story to two men rather than a man and a woman, because now they already morphed the story from long rifles to handguns and assault rifles, and three shooters to two, who arrived in four cars and left in one. I’m sure situational artificial intelligence has been assigned to comb the web for public opinion and script the story line accordingly, which is why it keeps changing, often in irrational ways,” Jim said.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Tom Engelhardt Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower