Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Cindy Sheehan, George Will, and Loving Your Enemies.

This article says it all.

February 25, 2007 - Posted by | love of enemies


  1. A couple of comments.

    The article often rails against media that “has been made so honest by the invisible hand of competition”. What are they saying here? That they are against privately owned media? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they mean media that is largely consolidated to a few mass companies, but still quotes like that scare the crap out of me. Do they honestly believe a government-owned media would be much more honest.

    “In fact, if you look at the results of the poll, 65% said they feel upset when a US soldier dies, and 60% said the same about an Iraqi civilian dying.”

    Okay, how does this prove that we think non-Americans are non-human? Granted, I would like both numbers to be 100%, but this doesn’t say anything about people who think an American soldier dying is sad, but doesn’t believe an Iraqi dying is sad. If they wanted to prove their point, they would give the intersection of those statistics. As far as I know, most of this 65% and 60% overlap.

    Also, as far as people underestimating the number of Iraqi deaths, the article makes a reasonable argument that maybe the AP isn’t doing its job, but that’s about it. It doesn’t show that Americans think Iraqi’s are sub-human, just that they are not well-informed.

    Concerning gov’t ownership of media, do they think the media will always be run by honest, unbiased people? At least with media competition there are multiple viewpoints out there.

    Comment by Chance | February 26, 2007

  2. Chance, my focus was not on the original study as an accurate reflection of the American people. My focus was on the difference between Sheehan’s response (which defended Americans as caring about Iraqi lives) and George Will’s lame response.

    I do believe in media competition. I think we need more of it. I am a strong supporter of PBS and NPR, but I don’t want to see govt. control of media. I want govt. to break up media monopolies and mergers and for the FCC to remember the fairness doctrine–because the people own the airwaves and licenses must be granted only in compliance with fairness.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 26, 2007

  3. That makes sense, but they didn’t pick a good columnist for the contrast. Will has the same idea, although he doesn’t apply it to Iraq. I don’t think Will did anything wrong here, he was simply saying that Americans saw the Japanese as sub-humans in WWII, but hopefully we have grown out of that.

    That Will should think that we are doing the same now, I can understand, but that is the article’s primary weakness. Whether we are doing the same with the Iraqi’s now is a reasonable debate, but the article doesn’t do enough to prove that claim for reasons I mentioned in my first comment. So basically, they state that Americans have the same attitudes as they did towards the Japanese but offers weak evidence for that claim, then they bash Will simply because he doesn’t support that claim.

    The article would make more sense if they said “Look, Will makes sense in what he points out in WWII, but he needs to realize that we may be doing the same today with the Iraq War.” Instead, they say “Sheehan is an example of someone who loves their enemies, on the opposite end is George Will.”

    It’s like me finding a liberal columnist who refers to when government took the Native American’s property for their own personal use in times past, but assuming they are against property rights because they don’t draw the correspondence, though glaringly obvious, to imminent domain applicants with the Kelo case.

    In short, it looks to me like commondreams is just looking for a chance to bash George Will.

    Comment by Chance | February 28, 2007

  4. I don’t know why I’m harping on this so much, after all, it’s not like I am a George Will fan. But let’s so that commondream’s assertions are true, that Will doesn’t believe their is a correlation (I don’t think I’m using the right word) between WWII and now. Even so, that says nothing about how he feels personally. It is possible that he doesn’t see that parallel (yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for), yet still feels that Iraqi’s are fully human, though the article implies that he does not.

    Comment by Chance | February 28, 2007

  5. Actually, I retract that last comment, I don’t think they assume Will thinks Iraqi’s are non-human.

    Comment by Chance | February 28, 2007

  6. The focus, I think, of the article is on the last sentence. When we consider Iraqi humanity, we have to do more than refuse to cheer when they are killed. We have to do all we can to end the killing, including repentance for invading. Will’s continued support for the invasion shows a kind of emotional distance from the humanity of the Iraqis.

    Consider a different parallel: In the mind of G.W. Bush, destruction of human embryos (even those frozen from fertility treatments which are never going to be implanted) for the purpose of stem cell research is the moral equivalent of murder. He feels the humanity of the embryos. This may or may not be an appropriate response (I’m conflicted on this point), but what is completely weird is that stem cell research involving embryo destruction is labelled “murder,” but starting a war involving millions of deaths and more refugees is mentally labelled “spreading democracy.” There is a huge disconnect–similar to the disconnect in George Will.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 28, 2007

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