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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Civilian casualties during war should elicit as much outrage as shootings in the U.S. do

Editor,

An assault weapon was used to kill elementary school kids inside the U.S. So now we have Democratic politicians proposing an assault weapons ban, arguing that such weapons should be used outside America in war and not, as one advocate put it, “on our streets.” So it is not OK to use such firepower to kill innocent kids on our own streets, but it is OK to use these and bigger weapons to have kids killed as “collateral damage” on the civilian streets of foreign lands?

What is the current ratio of elementary school kids killed by our military action abroad to the number killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School? The figure abroad is unknown to us; the media do not report it, and it has been alleged that the Pentagon keeps no running count. As for us civilians, our guilty secret is that most of us don’t really want to know. Thus, some of all these suicides committed by returning military could well be triggered by the overpowering guilt that comes from being party to the deaths of Afghan or Iraqi or Pakistani children, however inadvertently.

But we are too arrogant to acknowledge this. When, oh when, are we going to bring back the contrition demonstrated during our invasion of Vietnam, expressed during anti-war marches chanting, “Hey, hey, L.B.J. How many kids did you kill today?” These outpourings were not only cathartic for our body politic, they earned the American people an admiration abroad that has not been seen since the end of that war, for it showed them we have a soul.

Arun Anand Ahuja
UNM student