Guardian exploits Newtown's dead kids to slam Obama's anti-terror policy

It takes a particular type of crass, unfeeling anti-Americanism to exploit such a tragedy to further one's political prejudices

by Robin Shepherd, Owner / Publisher on 18 December 2012 08:01

What was your reaction to the murder of 20 small children at a school in Newtown, Connecticut the other day? Shock? Horror? Revulsion? George Monbiot, star columnist at the Guardian, professes to have felt the same. But for him it was also an opportunity for some crude America-bashing.

In a ludicrous, not to say disgusting, parallel, Monbiot uses the slaughter in Newtown as a peg for an attack on US drone strikes authorised by President Obama against terrorists in Pakistan. Inevitably, in the fog of war, especially one in which terrorists deliberately embed themselves in the civilian population, such strikes end up killing children and other civilians as well as the terrorists.

"It must follow," says Monbiot, "that what applies to the children murdered [in Newtown] by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president."

There isn't a legal or moral code anywhere in the Western world that would equate the cold-blooded, systematic killing of primary school kids by a gunman with accidental deaths of children in a war zone. Murder, by definition, is a deliberate act. 

Even if you disagree with the drone strikes, it is close to insane to argue that President Obama is using them with the specific intent of killing children. That is precisely what Monbiot has said.

And yet, much later in his piece he directly contradicts his own charge of murder by saying that "Obama does not kill children deliberately. But their deaths are an inevitable outcome of the way his drones are deployed." But if it's not deliberate, it cannot be murder.

And the absurdity continues. In his penultimate paragraph, Monbiot then re-introduces the charge he has just debunked:

"Most of the world's media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama's murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are "militants"." (My italics)

This is a mindset that cannot handle serious discussion. In his obsessive need to exploit a completely non-existent parallel he ties himself in knots that he cannot escape from. Overcome with emotion, he needs the charge of "murder" even as he himself has undermined it.

Discussion of the merits or otherwise of the drone strikes in Pakistan is of course necessary and reasonable.

But it takes a particular type of crass, unfeeling anti-Americanism to exploit a tragedy such as Newtown in the manner that George Monbiot did in his article today.

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