"The next day, a NATO airstrike killed eight women collecting firewood in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, an event that garnered virtually zero mainstream U.S. headlines."First of all, if you actually go and read the CBS News article that Mr. Koehler links to, you will find that the actual story is that officials say that eight women were killed in an airstrike. The facts are very much in dispute, as is the nature of war. I think that it is telling that Mr. Koehler not only believes the Afghan officials but is willing to repeat their word as truth in the article.
But let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that NATO did in fact kill eight women in Afghanistan and no insurgents. It's definitely a tragedy. But does Mr. Koehler really think that they did it on purpose? How could they have? Does he think that they just enjoy killing Afghanis? Far more likely is that they either made a mistake or they just didn't care enough to double check what they were shooting at before they fired. Both explanations, even with all of our fancy technology, happen all too often in war.
However, in a typically disjointed manner of the Huffington Post, Mr. Koehler switches to the attacks on the Libyan and Egyptian embassies so that (like many other pundits before and after him) he can figure out why they happened. There's the obvious explanation, the film "Innocence of Muslims" and there is also this one [quoted from the Wall Street Journal by Koehler]:
"Whereas Arab violence generates adrenalin-pumping headlines and is mostly reported outside any serious context -- e.g., the U.S. devastation of Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the Koran burnings, the ongoing drone assassinations -- the violence that emerges from U.S. policy is softened with so much context it's often a struggle to figure out if anything happened at all."The thing is: whether you think this "Arab violence" came as a "reaction" to something, whether it be a Youtube video or Abu Ghraib, it still doesn't make sense. After all the US has withdrawn from Iraq, more or less, while America only fights in Afghanistan. Besides, look at the places where the embassy attacks took place: Egypt and Libya. Which, I'm sure is a total coincidence, are the two places where secular regimes have been deposed and replaced by Islamist ones. And didn't we help one of those groups of Arab depose their secular regime?
Let's not forget also about thousands and thousands of people dying in Syria, while Syrian embassies sit quietly all over the world. I find it highly doubtful that every grievance the "Arab street" has against America is totally unrelated to the fact that we are Western and not Muslim. But returning to Mr. Koehler, he apparently expects us to fill in the gaps ourselves and gets to his conclusion:
"This is the innocence of U.S. foreign policy. I feel far more horror -- more fear about the future -- in its pseudo-apology for the high-tech deaths of eight women than I do in the angry protests of aggrieved Arabs."Is Mr. Koehler aware that more than 10 people were murdered in these "angry protests of aggrieved Arabs," including a United States ambassador? I say "murdered" because the people who attacked the embassy knew exactly what they were doing, and this only becomes more clear as the facts continue to come in. Not all the questions have been answered, but we know that their "rage" didn't spiral out of control and they "accidentally" killed a US ambassador.
Unlike the NATO airstrike. But good luck explaining that to Mr. Koehler and those who continue to seek moral equivalence between America and those who would murder people over a Youtube video. This is reinforced by the addition of one of his fellow Huffington Post bloggers, Dave Astor:
It's always easier to win an argument when you declare what the "conventional wisdom" is and then go after it. That being said I for one know that America isn't perfect. But I also know that Americans have never and probably will never burn down an embassy because of a freaking Youtube video. And if Mr. Astor or Mr. Koehler would like to prove that anything NATO did is because "American lives are more important than the lives of other people" they are welcome to it. Not that that is even such a bad thing. When it comes to wars, for example, you are supposed to value the lives of your own soldiers. If you aren't doing that, you're actually being immoral.
Then again, assessing what is and is not acceptable in warfare is hard. Blaming Americans and ignoring the facts is easy. No wonder it is taken for granted on the Huffington Post.