Why don’t most students care about the impact of our foreign policy?
We’ll talk about drug policy, about education funding, about the deficit. We’ll talk about drone strikes that kill terrorists and about being stronger allies with Israel.
But we don’t want to talk about the millions of civilian lives that have been ended by our decisions. We don’t want to talk about tens of thousands of Latin Americans who have died in a brutal drug war that has thrown nations into chaos. We don’t want to talk about the Iranians civilians who we are literally starving from our sanctions. We don’t want to talk about the massive numbers of civilians who died in Iraq and Afghanistan as we tried to give them freedom with bombs and bullets, with estimates ranging from 120,000 to nearly 1 million civilian lives lost. We don’t want to talk about the families that have been destroyed, the homes that have been burned, the mutilated, the maimed or the traumatized. We don’t want to talk about the little boy who will grow up without parents, or the parents who grow old with only a memory and photos of a son they had to bury.
This suffering is not an Iranian suffering, or an Iraqi suffering, or an Afghan suffering: This is human suffering. The grief of someone mourning a loved one taken away too soon by a stray bomb or bullet is no less because of geography or borders. The anger the family of a victim feels toward the people responsible is not extinguished when we are those people. Our intentions – be they security, liberation or humanitarian – do not change the impacts. They don’t make that child, that father, that son or that daughter any less gone or clear us from blame.
Each election we decide we don’t want to talk about our foreign policy, we continue to make innocent civilians the world over pay the price in blood. We continue to let fathers bury sons. Maybe it’s time to start talking.
Temple University Students for Liberty