Thursday, April 12, 2007

Downhill fast -

When a situation is going as badly as the Iraq war, it's hard to be surprised by much of anything. But this article on the payoffs by the U.S. military to families of killed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan really saddens me. This quote struck me as a particularly telling sign that things are going wrongly and quickly headed even more downhill: "In all, the military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for noncombat-related killings, injuries and property damage, an Army spokeswoman said. That figure does not include condolence payments made at a unit commander’s discretion."

It's not so much that I'm surprised that we are paying these families -- that is the only sensible thing to do -- but I'm caught off guard at the numbers and the stories. I do think this is the way we should look at this war (or any other disaster)-- the big picture (the numbers) and the individual stories (what those numbers really represent). The humanity in the big picture is better represented in the stories of the small picture.


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