Enough: The Reality of the "Lesser Evil"
By Chris Floyd
November 10, 2012 "Information
- To all those now hailing the re-election of Barack Obama
as a triumph of decent, humane, liberal values over the oozing-postule
perfidy of the Republicans, a simple question:
Is this child dead enough for you?
little boy was named Naeemullah. He was in his house --
maybe playing, maybe sleeping, maybe having a meal -- when an
American drone missile was fired into the residential area where
he lived and blew up the house next door.
As we all know, these drone missiles are, like the president who
wields them, super-smart, a triumph of technology and
technocratic expertise. We know, for the president and his aides
have repeatedly told us, that these weapons -- launched only
after careful consultation of the just-war strictures of St.
Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas -- strike nothing but their
intended targets and
kill no one but "bad
the president's top aides have testified under oath that not a
single innocent person has been among the thousands of Pakistani
civilians -- that is, civilians of a sovereign nation that is
not at war with the United States -- who have been killed by the
drone missile campaign of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Yet somehow, by some miracle, the missile that roared into the
residential area where Naeemullah lived did not confine itself
neatly to the house it struck. Somehow, inexplicably, the hunk
of metal and wire and computer processors failed -- in this one
instance -- to look into the souls of all the people in the
village and ascertain, by magic, which ones were "bad guys" and
then kill only them. Somehow -- perhaps the missile had
been infected with Romney cooties? -- this supercharged hunk of
high explosives simply, well, exploded with tremendous
destructive power when it struck the residential area, blowing
the neighborhood to smithereens.
As Wired reports, shrapnel and debris went flying through
the walls of Naeemullah's house and ripped through his small
body. When the attack was over -- when the buzzing drone sent
with Augustinian wisdom by the Peace Laureate was no longer
lurking over the village, shadowing the lives of every
defenseless inhabitant with the terrorist threat of imminent
death, Naeemullah was taken to the hospital in a nearby town.
This is where the picture of above was taken by Noor Behram, a
resident of North Waziristan who has been chronicling the
effects of the Peace Laureate's drone war. When the picture was
taken, Naeemullah was dying. He died an hour later.
Is he dead enough for you?
Dead enough not to disturb your victory dance in any way? Dead
enough not to trouble the inauguration parties yet to come? Dead
enough not to diminish, even a little bit, your exultant glee at
the fact that this great man, a figure of integrity, decency,
honor and compassion, will be able to continue his noble
leadership of the best nation in the history of the world?
Do you have children? Do they sit your house playing happily? Do
they sleep sweetly scrunched up in their warm beds at night? Do
they chatter and prattle like funny little birds as you eat with
them at the family table? Do you love them? Do you treasure
them? Do you consider them fully-fledged human beings, beloved
souls of infinite worth?
How would you feel if you saw them ripped to shreds by flying
shrapnel, in your own house? How would you feel as you rushed
them to the hospital, praying every step of the way that another
missile won't hurl down on you from the sky? Your child was
innocent, you had done nothing, were simply living your life in
your own house -- and someone thousands of miles away, in a
country you had never seen, had no dealings with, had never
harmed in any way, pushed a button and sent chunks of burning
metal into your child's body. How would you feel as you watched
him die, watched all your hopes and dreams for him, all the
hours and days and years you would have to love him, fade away
into oblivion, lost forever?
What would you think about the one who did this to your child?
Would you say: "What a noble man of integrity and decency! I'm
sure he is acting for the best."
Would you say: "Well, this is a bit unfortunate, but it's
perfectly understandable. The Chinese government (or Iran or al
Qaeda or North Korea or Russia, etc. etc.) believed there was
someone next door to me who might possibly at some point in time
pose some kind of threat in some unspecified way to their people
or their political agenda -- or maybe it was just that my
next-door neighbor behaved in a certain arbitrarily chosen way
that indicated to people watching him on a computer screen
thousands of miles away that he might possibly be the sort of
person who might conceivably at some point in time pose some
kind of unspecified threat to the Chinese (Iranians/Russians,
etc.), even though they had no earthly idea who my neighbour is
or what he does or believes or intends. I think the person in
charge of such a program is a good, wise, decent man that any
person would be proud to support. Why, I think I'll ask him to
come speak at my little boy's funeral!"
Is that what you would say if shrapnel from a missile blew into
your comfortable house and killed your own beloved little boy?
You would not only accept, understand, forgive, shrug it off,
move on -- you would actively support the person who
did it, you would cheer his personal triumphs and sneer
at all those who questioned his moral worthiness and good
intentions? Is that really what you would do?
Well, that is what you are doing when you shrug off the
murder of little Naeemullah. You are saying he is not worth as
much as your child. You are saying he is not a fully-fledged
a beloved soul of infinite worth. You are saying that you
support his death, you are happy about it, and you want to see
many more like it. You are saying it doesn't matter if this
child -- or a hundred like him, or a thousand like him, or, as
in the Iraqi sanctions of the old liberal lion, Bill Clinton,
five hundred thousand children like Naeemullah -- are
killed in your name, by leaders you cheer and support. You are
saying that the only thing that matters is that someone from
your side is in charge of killing these children. This is the
reality of "lesser evilism."
Before the election, we heard a lot of talk about this notion of
the "lesser evil." From prominent dissidents and opponents of
empire like Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky and Robert Parry to
innumerable progressive blogs to personal conversations, one
heard this basic argument: "Yes, the drone wars, the gutting of
civil liberties, the White House death squads and all the rest
are bad; but Romney would be worse. Therefore, with great
reluctance, holding our noses and shaking our heads sadly, we
must choose the lesser evil of Obama and vote accordingly."
I understand that argument, I really do. I don't agree with it,
as I made plain here many times before the election. I think the
argument is wrong, I think our system is so far gone that even a
"lesser evil" is too evil to support in any way, that such
support only perpetuates the system's unconscionable evils. But
I'm not a purist, not a puritan, not a commissar or dogmatist. I
understand that people of good will can come to a different
conclusion, and feel that they must reluctantly choose one
imperial-militarist-corporate faction over the other, in the
belief that this will mean some slight mitigation of the
potential evil that the other side commit if it took power. I
used to think that way myself, years ago. Again, I now disagree
with this, and I think that the good people who believe this
have not, for whatever reason or reasons, looked with sufficient
clarity at the reality of our situation, of what is actually
being done, in their name, by the political faction
But of course, I am not the sole arbiter of reality, nor a judge
of others; people see what they see, and they act (or refrain
from acting) accordingly. I understand that. But here is what I
don't understand: the sense of triumph and exultation
and glee on the part of so many progressives and liberals and
'dissidents' at the victory of this "lesser evil." Where did the
reluctance, the nose-holding, the sad head-shaking go? Should
they not be mourning the fact that evil has triumphed
in America, even if, by their lights, it is a "lesser" evil?
If you really believed that Obama was a lesser evil -- 2 percent
less evil, as I believe Digby once described the Democrats in
2008 -- if you really did find the drone wars and the White
House death squads and Wall Street bailouts and absolution for
torturers and all the rest to be shameful and criminal, how can
you be happy that all of this will continue? Happy --
and continuing to scorn anyone who opposed the perpetuation of
The triumph of a lesser evil is still a victory for evil. If
your neighborhood is tyrannized by warring mafia factions, you
might prefer that the faction which occasionally doles out a few
free hams wins out over their more skinflint rivals; but would
you be joyful about the fact that your neighborhood is
still being tyrannized by murderous criminals? Would you not be
sad, cast down, discouraged and disheartened to see the violence
and murder and corruption go on? Would you not mourn the fact
that your children will have to grow up in the midst of all
So where is the mourning for the fact that we, as a nation, have
come to this: a choice between murderers, a choice between
plunderers? Even if you believe that you had to participate and
make the horrific choice that was being offered to us -- "Do you
want the Democrat to kill these children, or do you want the
Republican to kill these children?" -- shouldn't this
post-election period be a time of sorrow, not vaulting triumph
and giddy glee and snarky put-downs of the "losers"?
If you really are a "lesser evilist" -- if this was a genuine
moral choice you reluctantly made, and not a rationalization for
indulging in unexamined, primitive partisanship -- then you will
know that we are ALL the losers of this election. Even if you
believe it could have been worse, it is still very bad. You
yourself proclaimed that Obama was evil -- just a bit "lesser"
so than his opponent. (2 percent maybe.) And so the evil that
you yourself saw and named and denounced will go on. Again I
ask: where is the joy and glory and triumph in this? Even if you
believe it was unavoidable, why celebrate it? And ask
yourself, bethink yourself: what are you celebrating?
This dead child, and a hundred like him? A thousand like him?
Five hundred thousand like him? How far will you go? What
won't you celebrate?
And so step by step, holding the hand of the "lesser evil," we
descend deeper and deeper into the pit.
article was originally posted at
A Different Kind Of Instagram Account:
Against images of sunsets and stir-fry on Instagram, there are
now pictures of the places where hundreds of people are being
killed by drones
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