Monday, July 16, 2012

A deficit of moral imagination

On the same day that I inadvertently quoted Percy Bysshe Shelley for the second time expressing his belief that moral behavior requires an ability to imagine oneself in the place of another, Glenn Greenwald wrote a blog post that demonstrates this point quite succinctly.

[Morning Joe] devoted a six-minute segment to Esquire‘s Tom Junod, who — as I noted earlier today — has just published a worthwhile and heartfelt article entitled “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama,” which examines in depth the multiple ways the President has seized the power to kill; in one section, Junod reports on the U.S. killing of 16-year-old Abdulrahman Awlaki in Yemen, and Esquire has published that section separately under this headline: “Obama’s Administration Killed a 16-Year-Old American and Didn’t Say Anything About It. This Is Justice?” In the Morning Joe segment, Junod repeatedly documented the numerous innocent Muslims — including children — that are continuously killed by Obama’s attacks, such as the 16-year-old Denver-born son of the Islamic preacher, a mere two weeks after his father was killed.

You just have to watch the reaction of [Harold] Ford, neocon Dan Senor, and Mike Barnacle to appreciate the soulless rot that leads people so cavalierly to defend and dismiss the continuous killing of innocent Muslims by the U.S. But it’s Ford’s smirking, self-satisfied, effete ignorance — from a warmonger whose delicately manicured hands have never been and will never be near any of the carnage he reflexively defends — that is particularly nauseating. Like most mindless defenders of U.S. violence, Ford just repeatedly utters the word “Terrorist” over and over like a hypnotic mantra.

Even after Junod describes the heinous death of the indisputably innocent American teeanger, Ford just smirks and pronounces that it’s better to Kill The Terrorists than to capture them.
It really is remarkable watching that clip, as everyone except Junod seems incapable or unwilling to acknowledge and recognize that a 16 year old American citizen accused of no crime was killed by his own government without any explanation.

As a nation, we lack the moral imagination to confront such deaths, it appears.

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