When I see a picture of dead babies laid out for the camera, I can’t help wondering whether they were killed for that purpose. The grisly exhibition of this past weekend, staged by armed opponents of the Syrian government, is meant to prompt us to blame the atrocity on that same government. I’m suspicious.
If it’s a tactic, it’s one we’ve seen before. Execute, in public, an action of shocking brutality and blame it on your enemies. Nazis burned down the German parliament building in 1933 and blamed it on Communist agitators. Israel sank an American spy ship in 1967 and managed to blame the incident on its Arab enemies, even over the outcry of survivors of the attack.
You might have thought people would start to catch on by now, but their capacity for unfounded belief seems to be limitless. The official conspiracy theory of the events of September 11, 2001, defies logic and physics, but most of us accept it, just as we seem to believe in the good faith of thugs like Obama, Bush and Clinton.
News-consumers can read in the same paper or hear in the same news broadcast an account of slaughter in Syria in which the dead children are referred to as “innocents” and, a few pages away, an account of an “operation” in Pakistan on the same day that killed only “militants,” including several kids under the age of five. Do they detect the bias?
Opinion polls (assuming they are any more accurate than the doctored news reports) suggest that people don’t recognize what’s being done to them, leading, of course, to more frequent and more shocking atrocities.
Maybe people need to see more pictures of dead babies. Our own bombs, bullets and missiles provide a steady supply of diminutive corpses. I’d like to see our victims in the news and maybe even on billboards and magazine covers. Might bring people out of their credulous, TV-induced stupor. Might even remind them of the values they seem to have abandoned.