As we mourn our dead from the World Trade Center, I can’t help but think of and also mourn all of our unspoken dead, the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have died because of our interventionist foreign policy.
All of the Nicaraguans, El-Salvadorans, Hondurans, Haitians, East Timorese, Congolese, Colombians, Panamanians, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, (on and on) who have died because we have directly made war on them or have overthrown their governments and placed our own dictators in power – as in Iran (the Shah), or Chile (Pinochet), Nicaragua (Somosa), Panama (Noriega), Iraq (Saddam Hussein), on and on -– people who our government thinks will better represent our business interests than whoever was in power before.
I can’t help but mourn all of the dead who have been killed with the weapons we sold their killers. We sell double the amount of arms of our nearest competitor. Weapons are our largest manufactured export at $30 to $50 billion dollars annually. We often sell to both sides in a conflict, and we give away $5 to $7 billion in weapons to poorer countries every year.
As I feel sad for the Sept. 11 victims’ families I also feel sad for the families and friends of these other victims. I mourn the Afghan children who will pick up or step on one of the 45,000 unexploded cluster bombs we have left lying around their country. We used these bombs on 136 towns and villages leaving some like Herat uninhabitable and forcing its citizens into refugee camps where they die at the rate of 60 to 100 a day.
And I mourn our willful ignorance and lack of knowledge of our history, and all of our current violence. (Columbia is killing thousands of its own citizens right now with our funds and weapons.) When will we as a compassionate people recognize and mourn all of our dead and not just the ones our corporate media mourn?