Larry C Johnson (bio/blog)
Breaking news! At least 22 Virginia Tech students gunned down. Cable news channels are wild with activity as they pump up the coverage a focus on the latest "crisis". The media is commenting that this shooting is overwhelming the local medical facilities. Crisis is in the air. Well, at least it ain't Iraq.
Okay. Big deep breath. This is horrible and this is tragic and this gives us an idea of what it is like to live just one day in Iraq. Consider the following:
04/15/07 Reuters: 19 bodies found in Baghdad on Saturday
Police found the bodies of 19 people in various parts of Baghdad in the past 24 hours, police said.
04/15/07 Reuters: 20 Iraqi troops and policemen abducted
A group linked to al Qaeda said it abducted 20 Iraqi troops and policemen and demanded the release of all Sunni women held in Iraq's prisons, according to a Web statement
04/15/07 Reuters: 4 killed by suicide bombers in Mosul
Four people, including two Iraqi soldiers, were killed and 16 wounded when two oil trucks driven by suicide bombers exploded outside a military base in the northern city of Mosul, police said.
04/15/07 AP: Suicide bomber kills 5, wounds 11 in northwest Baghdad
A suicide bomber blew himself up on a minibus in northwest Baghdad, killing at least eight people and wounding 11, police and hospital officials said.
04/15/07 AP: 37 die as car bomb hits near Iraq shrine
A car bomb blasted through a busy bus station near one of Iraq's holiest shrines Saturday, killing at least 37 people, police and hospital officials said.
Let's total the score: at least 65 Iraqis dead in four attacks vs. 22 Americans shot at Virginia Tech. Whoops, forgot the 20 kidnapped policemen. Can you imagine?
The next time you hear Dick Cheney or George Bush blame the public attitude regarding Iraq on the media's failure to report "good news", examine carefully our reaction to the shooting at Viginia Tech. Look at our collective shock. Our horrified reaction. The public sorrow. Yet, in truth, this is an exceptional, unusual day in America. It is not our common experience. But we cannot say the same about Iraq.
The people of Iraq are living in a Marquis de Sade version of Groundhog Day. It is like the Bill Murray movie--the same horrible day repeated with some new, bizarre twists--only not funny. Multiple body counts and explosions and shootings are the daily experience of the people of Iraq. They have been living this hell for four years. Just keep that fact in mind as you mourn the deaths of 22 American students slain in Blacksburg, Viginia.