Westerners Have An Absolutely Psychotic View Of Airstrikes
Canadian online outlet The Breach has published a letter by CBC’s senior manager of journalistic standards Nancy Waugh which highlights perfectly the bizarre psychological relationship that westerners have with bombs and airstrikes in foreign countries.
In response to multiple complaints from a retired Humber College professor about the wildly biased language that Canada’s state broadcaster has been using to describe Israel’s war on Gaza, Waugh acknowledged that the CBC routinely uses words like “murderous,” “vicious,” “brutal,” “massacre,” and “slaughter” to refer to the October 7 Hamas attack while using far less emotionally charged words like “intensive,” “unrelenting,” and “punishing” to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza over the last three months.
Waugh defended this extreme discrepancy by saying that Israel’s attacks in Gaza differ from the Hamas attack on Israelis in that Israel’s killings are done “remotely”.
“Different words are used because although both result in death and injury, the events they describe are very different,” Waugh wrote. “The raid saw Hamas gunmen stream through the border fence and attack Israelis directly with firearms, knives and explosives. Gunmen chased down festival goers, assaulted kibbutzniks then shot them, fought hand to hand, and threw grenades. The attack was brutal, often vicious, and certainly murderous.”
“Bombs dropped from thousands of feet and artillery shells lofted into Gaza from kilometers away result in death and destruction on a massive scale, but it is carried out remotely,” Waugh continued. “The deadly results are unseen by those who caused them and the source unseen by those [who] suffer and die.”
I’ve written a number of essays trying to point at the baseless and irrational way westerners view military explosives as a far more civilized and humane way of killing human beings than bullets or blades, but I’ve never written anything that sums it up as clearly as this frank admission by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s senior manager of journalistic standards.
Military explosives rip human bodies apart. They burn people alive. They trap them under rubble where they die excruciatingly slowly in one of the most horrifying ways imaginable. They leave people without limbs. They dismember and disfigure children for life. Many of the most agonizing deaths in human history have been caused by bombs.
There are thousands of Gazans who have yet to be counted among the dead because their bodies are still buried under the rubble of fallen buildings. Many of them would not have died instantly. Some are still alive, waiting for days in a state terror and searing pain for a rescue that will never come.
A UNICEF report released last month said that more than a thousand children had had one or both legs amputated since October 7 as a result of damage received by US-sponsored Israeli airstrikes, a number which would be significantly higher by now. We know that many such amputations have occurred without anaesthesia, because Israeli siege warfare has cut off Gaza’s healthcare system from the necessary supplies.
If this is not vicious, then nothing is vicious. If this is not brutal, then nothing is brutal. If this is not murderous, then nothing is murderous. But it doesn’t get labeled as such by the western press, because it is being done “remotely”.
The belief that these attacks should be considered less vicious and brutal because they are launched from a distance by people who won’t see their effects is as psychologically immature as a little girl who believes you can’t see her because she has covered her own eyes. An attack which kills and maims and tortures doesn’t cease to be brutal and vicious just because it looks like a blip on a screen to you. Human suffering isn’t made less acute or less significant by being far away.
But this is how most westerners see the use of military explosives these days. We’re so used to hearing about our government and its allies raining bombs upon the middle east and Africa that we’ve developed a kind of immunity to the psychological impact of exactly what that means in reality. The typical western mind has come to view bombings more like a weather event that simply occurs in those places, like how south Asian countries experience monsoons.
In reality, bombings are no less savage than attacks by guns, grenades, knives or machetes. In fact they actually allow for more savagery to take place, because they kill so much more efficiently, and because the troops who use them can keep killing and killing without losing morale and accumulating mental trauma from the horrors they have been inflicting upon their fellow human beings.
Dead is dead. Dismembered is dismembered. Pain is pain. Anguish is anguish. The unexamined assumption that the western empire’s prefered methods of killing are less brutal and murderous than those of an impoverished militant group is a psychological defense mechanism we have put in place to shelter ourselves from knowledge of our own brutality and murderousness.
In truth if you look at all the death, destruction, suffering and pain that Israel has inflicted on Gaza since October 7, there is no question that Israel is vastly more vicious, brutal and murderous than Hamas has ever been, and so are its allies who are supporting its actions. The only way to believe otherwise would be to psychologically hide away from the reality of what’s actually happening, which is as truth-based and mature as the kid with her hands over her eyes saying “Now you can’t see me!”
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