Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I Still Notice the Disconnect

Israeli air strike, commandos kill 3 Palestinians
GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed three Palestinians, at least one of them a militant, during separate operations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Wednesday, witnesses said.
All right, I'm reading along, there seems to be some dispute about whether the man was a militant or not, I get it. Then, though, then I come across this line:
During the offensive, at least 208 Palestinians have been killed, about half of them civilians.
I was momentarily confused. Why is it so important that half of them are civilians? Aren't all war fatalities of equally terrible import? And that's when it hit me: Americans still don't know what it's like to live with war. I've said it before, but it's still true. No one runs through our streets with guns because they're from another country and they're here to kill us for being American. We've got it all sorted out in our heads that in war, only soldiers get killed, and killing the civilians makes an army the Bad Guy.

How I wish that it were true that casualties could somehow be limited to those who had signed on to be part of a war - hell, I still wish there was no war. This is just a wish, though, people. Anyone in a war zone can be killed, on purpose or by accident. There are bombs and guns there. When a neighborhood is suddenly deemed to be a war zone, people who couldn't or wouldn't get out are now in danger of being killed, whether or not they're soldiers. Thinking that civilian casualties can be avoided is delusional.

War is terrible, people, for everyone involved, not just the soldiers. As Americans, we're all just lucky that land war against us is geographically improbable.

Make the connection.

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