After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country's politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion -- and reflexive "doublethink," which George Orwell described as willingness "to forget any fact that has become inconvenient."
In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday's front page: "Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say." The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, "rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast."
Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B
warheads were in the category of "combined effects munitions" when
put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The
One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped
cluster bombs on the city of
And: "In a street leading from the market, dismembered bodies were strewn among carrots and other vegetables in pools of blood. A dead woman, her body covered with a sheet, was still clutching a shopping bag filled with carrots."
Pointing out that cluster bombs "explode in the air and hurl shards of shrapnel over a wide radius," BBC correspondent John Simpson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: "Used against human beings, cluster bombs are some of the most savage weapons of modern warfare."
Savage did not preclude usage. As a matter of fact, to
Commander in Chief Bill Clinton and the prevailing military minds in
An unusually diligent reporter, Paul Watson of the Los
Angeles Times, reported
The LA Times article quoted Dr. Grbic: "I have been an orthopedist for 15 years now, working in a crisis region where we often have injuries, but neither I nor my colleagues have ever seen such horrific wounds as those caused by cluster bombs." He added: "They are wounds that lead to disabilities to a great extent. The limbs are so crushed that the only remaining option is amputation. It's awful, awful."
The newspaper account went on: "Pristina's hospital
alone has treated 300 to 400 people wounded by cluster bombs since NATO's air
war began March 24, Grbic said. Roughly half of those victims were civilians,
he said. Because that number doesn't include those killed by cluster bombs and
doesn't account for those wounded in other regions of
Later, during invasions and initial periods of occupation,
Today, the U.S. State Department remains opposed to
outlawing those weapons, declaring on its official website: "Cluster
munitions have demonstrated military utility. Their elimination from
The State Department position statement adds:
"Moreover, cluster munitions can often result in much less collateral damage than unitary
weapons, such as a larger bomb or larger artillery shell would cause, if used
for the same mission." Perhaps the bomber(s) who stuffed nails and ball
bearings into pressure cookers for use in
But don't expect explorations of such matters from the
In his novel 1984 , Orwell wrote about the conditioned reflex of "stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought . . . and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction."