The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, July 29, 2004
An illuminating anedote from Best of the Web Today:
Multitudes of boots are arranged carefully on the lawn, with a sign explaining, 'These 907 pairs of boots represent the U.S. soldiers killed in the Iraq war.' Then there's a sloppy pile of shoes with another sign: 'These 1,000 pairs of shoes represent a small fraction of the estimated 16,000 Iraqis killed in the war.'
There are no million shoes for Saddam Hussein's Iraqi, Iranian and Kuwaiti victims; only his American victims seem to matter, and only those Iraqis killed in connection with a U.S. military intervention. Come to think of it, there also are no 3,000 pairs of shoes for those who died at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon--even though the group sponsoring this display styles itself Sept. 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
We approach a middle-aged man of ample girth, who seems to be in charge. 'How many shoes do you have for Saddam Hussein's victims?' we ask.
He stands silent, facing us. He seems to be staring us down, but we have no way of knowing for sure, as he's wearing sunglasses, even though the day is overcast.
Finally, after perhaps 15 seconds, he breaks the silence:
'Shame on you,' he says.
He explains that his group has simply chosen--arbitrarily, if we understand him correctly--to highlight the U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the liberation. He offers an analogy: 'There are books that are written about one thing, there are books that are written about other things.'
We persist: Saddam's victims don't count unless they're American?
'Somebody else is dealing with that.'
We point to the shoes representing the fallen soldiers: 'Yeah, these guys are dealing with that.'