Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baghdad Strong

Boston marked the first anniversary of the Marathon Bombing today, with a timely reminder from VP Biden that "we own the finish line."

What exactly such jingoistic nonsense may actually mean is not a question welcomed on a sombre day such as this. It's enough that the Red Sox are playing again. The Bruins made the Stanley Cup finals mere months after the terror attacks. Boston gamely shook off the effects of a terror attack that killed three. There have been no known terror attacks in Boston either before or since the Marathon Bombings.

Boston Strong.

If you go back to the pre-invasion era, you will find that Baghdad used to be a very peaceable city. Although much larger than Boston, it had a similar number of violent deaths. That all changed in March of 2003.

Since then, three deaths on any given day in Bagdhad would not be considered newsworthy either inside or outside the country. It takes dozens of deaths to get the attention of the media, and even then it will be a story relegated to the back pages.

There is of course no need for commemorations, because Baghdad would never have a chance to do anything else. Every day would be given over to marking the anniversary of one slaughter or another, every one of them dwarfing what happened at the Boston Marathon. Many days would have to commemorate multiple slaughters.

Unlike America, the Iraqis do not "own the finish line." They are victims of history, not makers of history. Specifically, they are the victims of the history that America has made for them.

That's something to remember the next time you hear an American politician speculating about why "those people hate us?"

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