“…O, forfend it, God,
That in a Christian climate souls refined
Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed!”
(King Richard II, act 4, sc. 1)
Comment. To add adjectives to the Boston horror is useless. That beings supposedly human be capable of such an act voids the very meaning of humanity. Sociologically speaking, however, the event lends itself to some considerations.
To start, the episode soon turned into a frenzy by the corporate media, eager to capitalize on sensationalism and actual hysteria. As of the writing of this article, it is unknown whether the crime was the work of one person or an organization, domestic or foreign.
Still, the nation, including the people of Boston, however saddened and shocked by the event, have remained calm – but the media and their leading agents created a picture of disorientation and panic. This is not accidental, as the media establishment attempts to sow fear and confusion to justify past police state measures at home and wars abroad, carried out in the name of the “war on terror”. It also prepares the way for a further militarization of American society.
Events such as the Boston bombing ultimately reflect the immense social crisis and increasingly toxic contradictions of America. The bombing has left hundreds of families scarred for life. But it just so happens that mass killings, carried out more frequently with automatic weapons than with bombs, are a regular occurrence in the United States.
Furthermore, the mass killing of 11 children by US bombing in Afghanistan last week (see image) has barely made it (if at all) to the corporate media.
That is, the onslaught of heartfelt compassion by the corporate media for the Boston victims is incontrovertible evidence of reflexive doublethink, described by Orwell as the willingness to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.
The front page of the New York Times says, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say” and the article describes how nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”
However, in the very recent past, much less crude 1,000 pounds “CBU-87/B” bombs, classified as “combined effects munitions” were unleashed on Serbia. And in the San Francisco Chronicle edition of May 8, 1999 we read, “On Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market. The bombs struck next to the hospital complex and near the market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia’s third-largest city with shrapnel.” And: “In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots.” And John Simpson, BBC correspondent, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, “Cluster bombs explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius. Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare.”
Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times, reporting from Pristina, Yugoslavia, wrote: “During five weeks of airstrikes, witnesses here say, NATO warplanes have dropped cluster bombs that scatter smaller munitions over wide areas. In military jargon, the smaller munitions are bomblets. Dr. Rade Grbic, a surgeon and director of Pristina’s main hospital, sees proof every day that the almost benign term bomblet masks a tragic impact. Grbic, who saved the lives of two ethnic Albanian boys wounded while other boys played with a cluster bomb found Saturday, said he had never done so many amputations.”
The LA Times article quoted Dr. Grbic: “I have been an orthopedist for 15 years now, working in a crisis region where we often have injuries, but neither I nor my colleagues have ever seen such horrific wounds as those caused by cluster bombs.” He added: “They are wounds that lead to disabilities to a great extent. The limbs are so crushed that the only remaining option is amputation. It’s awful, awful.”
And these friendly devices were dispatched by the “democratic” and “compassionate” Bill Lewinsko Clinton.
Still, the U.S. State Department remains opposed to outlawing those weapons, declaring on its official website: “Cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility. Their elimination from U.S. stockpiles would put the lives of its soldiers and those of its coalition partners at risk.”
The State Department position statement adds: “Moreover, cluster munitions can often result in much less collateral damage than unitary weapons, such as a larger bomb or larger artillery shell would cause, if used for the same mission.”
Perhaps the Boston bomber(s) who stuffed nails and ball bearings into pressure cookers were following the State Department “guidelines”.
Still, it is not certain if last week’s murder of the 11 children in the picture was the result of a “cluster” or “conventional” bomb.
Which really, to the perpetrators of this endless series of crimes against humanity, it does not matter. Safe behind massive layer of security, they can very well pretend sympathy for the family of the dead and for the wounded. After all they are safe from bombs and safe from prosecution.
In the play. The Bishop of Carlysle, faithful to the deposed King Richard II, upbraids usurper Bolingbroke and company. ‘Forfend’ = ‘Forbid’.