Spokespersons for the U.S. military often refer to anti-American combatants as “bad guys,” as if opposition to U.S. foreign policy is the same as immorality. As if killing on behalf of the U.S. government makes you exempt from bad-guy status.
Newsflash: Bad guys are everywhere. Chechen bad guys have killed Russian noncombatants in efforts to win independence for Chechnya. Russian bad guys have killed Chechen noncombatants in efforts to keep the region under Russian control. American bad guys are killing noncombatants throughout the Middle East to protect the interests of Big Oil.
One might argue that American bad guys are exceptionally bad because they insist on portraying themselves as good, no matter how many noncombatants they kill. These are the same Americans who insist that slaughtering Indians, nuking Japan and dropping napalm on the Vietnamese were all for the good.
It’s a big old goofy world, as John Prine sang, and there is nothing goofier than the notion that one nation is morally superior to another. That’s the message of every preacher or politician who denounces terrorist attacks on America while condoning American terrorism abroad; of everyone from the obviously bad Dick Cheney to the not-so-obviously bad Barack Obama, who speaks out against bombers in Boston even as he green-lights drone bombings that kill noncombatants on the other side of the world.
Footnote: Has anyone else had their fill of so-called news stories about the Boston Marathon bombings? Of ghouls with cameras who stalk those who knew the victims? (Reporter to relative of bombing victim: How does it feel to be the relative of a bombing victim?) Nothing is revealed in these creepy encounters, other than the fact that some people think journalism and voyeurism are the same thing.