The Afghan massacre allegedly carried out by Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, in which 16 Afghani were killed in a pre-dawn raid, has prompted wild media speculation regarding what drove the man to kill so many innocent civilians. But within minutes of the left-wing media pouncing on the story, the news came to light that the soldier likely carried out the revenge mission alone.
This should have provided a learning moment for the knee-jerk media. MSNBC even had the temerity to run a television crawl that NATO forces had carried out the atrocity; if at all possible, further discrediting the fully discredited outlet. The armchair sociological theorizing by the mainstream media nonetheless continues over what actually caused the massacre.
Staff Sgt. Bales is currently being held at Fort Leavenworth awaiting potential charges that entail the death penalty. The proposed defense that the man is ‘deranged’ and probably suffers from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) has elicited an outraged media backlash. Outlets have cited Sgt. Bales’ minor brain injury and severe foot injury as probably pushing him over the edge. The Atlantic published a considerable piece expanding on Sgt. Bales’ experiences in both wars and his three tours of duty. The LA Times, for its part, chalked up the man’s despair to ‘financial difficulties,’ derivative of the left’s favored argument that poverty is the root of all evil. But the New York Daily News showed the height of gall by stating “America shares in the collective responsibility for this incident.”
What is most concerning about this tragic event is that the media would so hastily jump to condemn the entire armed forces and even the nation for the acts of one soldier, using the most sophistic twists to argue for more ‘mental health screening’ for our presumably deranged soldiers and a hasty pullout from Afghanistan. Adding to the misunderstanding about how Sgt. Bales’ actions either reflect or do not reflect on the military and its mission, news story tie-ins regarding the Koran burnings in Afghanistan (compelled by insurgents’ use of the Koran to smuggle messages) and the desecration of a Taliban fighter’s body were thrown into the mix.
Whatever one feels about the current state of the mission in Afghanistan (and this writer for one would like our troops to leave sooner rather than later), it would be ignominious to withdraw under such apparently dishonorable conditions. Yet that has hardly seemed a concern for the “anti-war” left, who have distorted the Vietnam War legacy since the 1960s. The irresponsible and ideologically driven manner in which the left-wing media have covered the Sgt. Bales story speaks volumes about what really animates their agenda.
Throwing into question the media’s presumably noble anti-war aims is the notable shift in coverage from that provided under Bush to under Obama. Under President Bush, the media seemed to revel in providing daily running body counts, ostensibly displaying their concern for individual human life. Support for euthanasia and partial birth abortion make this a questionable façade. Add in continuing defense of green initiatives like the DDT ban, which has killed tens of millions, along with ethanol subsidies, which have driven up the cost of grain in impoverished countries, and an excessive concern for individual human life is very much a questionable credit of the left.
After Obama was inaugurated, unsurprisingly, the running body counts completely disappeared. No real connections between the wars and Obama are being routinely made by the mainstream media. Usually the wars are reported on as if they are occurring in a vacuum, and the Commander-in-Chief is but an innocent bystander. When the troops in Iraq were withdrawn last December, there were no parades for our gutsy soldiers, or editorials in the New York Times calling for such. That would show more than lip service’s worth of respect for our men in uniform.
What should really fall under scrutiny, then, as the facts of the Bales’ case come out, is the way certain media outlets undercut military morale in an underhanded way. It is one thing to condemn a soldier and lament an atrocity. That is understandable and worthy of public discussion. But what is not excusable is the slippery way the left tries to insinuate the actions of one soldier are in any way reflective of the entire armed services, the aims of the wars, or even the country itself.
But this is the problem with collectivism. The sins of one are the blame of the many. The day-to-day anecdotal injustices inherent in life are a justification for the left to take totalitarian control (which history shows does not remedy the unfortunate anomalies of life as much as it systematizes injustice and oppression). If one can adapt a bit of Rawlsian logic, according to the left, even bad luck itself should be outlawed. Misfortune cannot be remedied by folly, any more than the incidental tragedies of war can be resolved by outlawing war itself.
The left refuses to believe in human agency, free will, or individual responsibility. By extension, it has no tolerance for accident and misfortune in human life. As long as this point of view drives the left’s political agenda, the random tragedies committed by the Sgt. Bales of the world will be superseded and compounded by totalizing states, which have decreasing appreciation for individual life or human action.