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
Allegra Harpootlian: the School Shooters of the Planet
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, Thanks, LOL, or Troll 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 three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Here’s something that should still stun anyone, but has had no discernible impact in this country. Between December 29, 2001, when B-52 and B-1B bombers killed more than 100 revelers in a village in Paktia Province, Afghanistan, and December 2013, when a drone slaughtered perhaps 15 members of a car caravan headed for a wedding in Yemen, U.S. air power wiped out at least eight wedding parties — brides, grooms, musicians, relatives, celebrating villagers, you name it — in three countries across the Greater Middle East. To the best of my knowledge, only this website has ever tried to either count such incidents up or keep track of them over the years. As I’ve written in the past, if an Islamist terrorist had ever taken out an American wedding party here in the United States, the media coverage would have been overwhelming and unending — and I doubt the event would have been forgotten any time soon, if ever.

In 2004, then-Major General James Mattis caught the spirit of the era perfectly. Responding to reports of the deaths of at least 40 celebrants in an Iraqi wedding party, including women and children, he asked, “How many people go to the middle of the desert… to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization?” In fact, the almost- or just-wedded dead across the Greater Middle East never registered here at all. There were certainly individual news stories about such incidents, but no shock, no horror, no self-reflection whatsoever. Assumedly, the departed and instantly forgotten of Washington’s distant wars since September 11, 2001 — a day that will live in infamy, unlike the days when those wedding slaughters occurred — don’t matter a whit to Americans. Today, I doubt that one in a million of us even knows that the U.S. military ever did such things again and again and again.

Sadly, the tradition — if that’s even the word for it — of such wedding slaughters has only continued. In April 2018 and again that July, Saudi air strikes in a war being fought with American planes, bombs, and intelligence assistance took out two Yemeni wedding parties. In the first, at least 23 villagers were killed and many more wounded. (“It took us over a week to find all the body parts,” said one survivor.) In the second, 11 people in a caravan on their way to a wedding were killed, mostly women and children. Add it all up and, in those 10 brutal attacks, hundreds and hundreds of civilians in those three countries have died or been wounded while attending (or heading for) weddings.


Today, Allegra Harpootlian, a media associate at ReThink Media and a specialist on American drone strikes, considers the upsurge in emotion and protest against gun violence, especially school shootings, in this country by a mobilized new generation. In the process, given her professional focus, she asks an all-too-appropriate (and rare) question: When will Americans, young or old, start to think about the civilians that have died in striking numbers in these years of “infinite war” across the Greater Middle East and Africa?

  • School Shooters and Drones
    Linking Gun Violence at Home to America’s Wars Abroad
    Allegra Harpootlian • March 12, 2019 • 3,000 Words
(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media 
Hide 4 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. And who paid for these anti-gun protests around the USA? Who paid for the coordination? Who paid to move these “students” to be paraded in front of the cameras? Could it be Hollywood money?

    Funny how those questions are not asked by even the alternative-Left media! Maybe because they ARE the enemy of the Second Amendment?

    Why does Mr. Engelhardt think we are stupid?

    Heard some anti-gun Parkland students recently on a public radio station; when asked their agenda it was: (1) Getting all firearms transfers entangled in government background checks (“Closing the Gun Show loophole”) and (2) Computerizing BATF records so as to allow defacto “Gun Registration.” ( In the USA, when a gun shop goes out of business, the Form 4473s, the Federal gun transfer forms which a purchaser fills out by law must be transferred to ATF. To prevent the BATF from morphing these 4473 forms into a “Registration List,” the US Congress passed legislation that prevented funds authorized by Congress to be used for that purpose. So imagine everyone’s surprise when during the Clinton Administration they revealed on a nationally televised news magazine show that ATF had a program to computerise those forms.)

    • Replies: @Anon
  2. MarkinPNW says:

    When my daughter got married a little over 10 years, even back then I couldn’t help having a passing thought that had her Reception in a friend’s traditional country farm house, with many family, neighbors, and friends arriving in SUV’s and Pickup trucks, occurred in Iraq or Afghanistan it could well have attracted a terrifying drone strike!

  3. Anon[107] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Mill your own 80% lower receivers on a drill press, then assemble your own AR-15s. No 4473s, evah. Anyway, it’s weird popping into Engelhardt’s column and finding his Trump Derangement Syndrome is in remission.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  4. @Anon

    They are coming for your homemade firearms too, I’m afraid. I know in the People’s Republic of Illinois there is legislation that has been introduced by the communists.

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 have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
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