I’d like to quote an old Readers Digest one-liner: A fellow was in the market for some socks and had inquired what the label “shrink-resistant” meant.
“It means the socks will shrink – but they don’t want to,” the clerk explained.
In my mind that’s the difference between atrocities committed by psychopaths such as Osama bin Laden and his ilk; and atrocities committed by governments and the military.
Bin Laden wanted the socks to shrink.
I remember watching the flashing lights, glitter and glitz on TV as bombs exploded in living colour during the First Gulf War. I marvelled that it was like a Nintendo Game, and wasn’t it great that technology was so advanced that targets were being hit with such accuracy? Of course that wasn’t so – as we learned later. I wonder how many in the military ended up with psychological problems upon learning that innocent civilians had been wounded or killed because of their actions?
Also wonder about the consciences – or lack of conscience -of those who gave the orders?
One of the most memorable episodes of the Oprah show featured a woman who had, as a child during the Korean War, been badly burned with napalm. It was used extensively during that war ( I think to burn away trees and underbrush?) Many years later Oprah introduced the woman to the pilot of the plane that had deployed the chemical over her village. The woman had suffered terribly, and the pilot had been distressed for years after seeing a photo of the little girl running naked through the street in obvious anguish.