(Note: The above video is rife for unpacking, so I'm doing it over the course of three short articles. This is the second; the first is viewable here.)
I would like to draw your attention to two discussions of civilians in the above video.
In one instance, you've got Allen West discussing the Fogels -- a family of Israeli Jewish settlers, five members of whom were murdered on March 11 in the village of Itamar, near the West Bank town of Nablus. The murders have received international attention, both for their uncommon brutality and for their political implications. On the night of March 11, persons unknown entered the Fogel household and stabbed to death Udi, Ruth, Yoev, Elad, and Hadas. Udi and Ruth were married; Yoev, Elad, and Hadas were their children. Their ages were 11, 8, and 3 months. Their bodies were found by another of Udi and Ruth's children, aged 12, who was returning home after a night at a friend's house.
To kill anyone for political purposes is disgusting, and to kill children is infinitely more so. Apart from the obvious evil of taking an innocent life, killing a child is to allow your own localized evil and brokenness to stake its claim to future generations -- to project it forward, into a future that neither wants or needs it. It is an act of monstrous presumption.
Allen West might understand this. Or maybe he just understands that the Fogels are a useful political weapon. In the above video, he says:
And I don't care what anyone says: The pictures of what happened to the Fogel family -- a mother, a father, three children, to include a 3-month-old baby that had its throat slit and stabbed -- what type of animal does something like that? But did you hear a word that came from the person who's supposed to be the leader of this country? This is what I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentleman. They don't believe you're gonna show up for the 2012 fight...
He goes on to explain the massive capital that Democrats will mobilize in preparation for next year's elections and doesn't again mention the Fogels. Presumably, we are to believe that Obama's failure to personally address the murder of a family on the other side of the world represents a flaw in both his own moral character and that of his political party. Speaking personally, my first thought upon hearing about the Fogels was not to wonder what the POTUS might say or do about it, and it still strikes me as a queer thing to wonder about. We do not know if the murderer was Palestinian -- despite the fact that a good portion of the Israeli military and police force has been dispatched to Nablus and has spent the better part of the last week going from home to home, looking for clues. As of yet, we do not even know if the murder was political.
But let's say that it was, and let's say that the POTUS should intuit this and speak on the subject even before the facts are in. In that case, perhaps the president's silence indicates that he doesn't care about people. Or perhaps it's simply that his mind has been fixed on larger tragedies, which, perhaps because of their hugeness, have managed to escape Allen West's attention altogether.
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"I don't know why we're shooting $567,000-apiece Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya," says West in the above video. Well, let's tell him: What we're doing is joining with an international coalition to protect civilians -- civilians much like the Fogels, though they practice a marginally different version of monotheism. And with those Tomahawks, we're protecting considerably more than five civilians; we're endeavoring to protect tens of thousands.
Allen West is very right to speak out about the murder of the Fogels -- though he is, in this writer's opinion, very wrong to assume that he knows who's responsible, when not even the Israeli police claim to be certain. But to be aggrieved over their loss while treating blithely the loss of life elsewhere bespeaks a dangerous favoritism. I do not want an American leader who believes the loss of an Israeli child is tragic but the saving of a Libyan one is a waste of $567,000.