Normon Solomon: The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink.
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 reflective 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 US media coverage was brief and fleeting. One Friday, at noontime, US led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market, bringing death and destruction, peppering the streets of Serbia's third largest city with shrapnel, a dispatch in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 8, 1999. 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 Washington, savage was bound up in the positive attributes of cluster bombs. Each one could send up to 60,000 pieces of jagged steel shrapnel into what the weapons maker described as soft targets. An unusually diligent reporter, Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times, reported from Pristina, Yugoslavia: During five weeks of airstrikes, witnesses here say, NATO warplanes have dropped cluster bombs, that scatter smaller munitions over wide areas. In military jargon, the smaller munitions are bomblets. Dr. Rade Grbic, a surgeon and director of Pristina's main hospital, sees proof every day, that the almost benign term bomblet masks a tragic impact. Grbic, who saved the lives of two ethnic Albanian boys, wounded while other boys played with cluster bombs found Saturday, said he had never done so many amputations.