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“We’re Committing Genocide”
The Wrong Direction

by Kim Petersen
May 18, 2004

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The New York Times editorial “The Wrong Direction” is another morally devoid offering from the corporate media. (1) The article rightfully objects to the barbarity bestowed upon fellow human beings in the American gulag but it ignores certain facts and moral tenets.

It persists in calling upon support for US troops who are foreign invaders and engage in atrocities against an occupied people. The Times frames the reference point from the troops’ perspective. They are portrayed as victims (and in a sense they are) while the obvious victims are callously marginalized. It defines the issue as being about support for the troops rather than support for the fundamental rights of Iraqis to run their own country free of occupiers

Even if one supposes the main issue was support for the troops, this is best achieved by bringing them home. Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey lucidly described the fate of the troops in Iraq. He has an important message for the American public: “What they need to know is we killed a lot of innocent people.” (2)

The Times’ expresses pathos for what the troops are doing to their own reputation. This needs to be addressed, but why the lack of concern for the victims of troop atrocities? Massey said, “You know, I honestly feel that what we’re doing is wrong over here. We’re committing genocide.” (3) Although the killing is massive and wanton, it does not constitute what is generally regarded as genocide. Nonetheless, Massey’s speaking out against the illegitimate actions of an invading nation is brave and the admission of wrongdoing is a major step toward atonement.

In its recommendations the Times does not call for the release of the prisoners even though a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross maintains that up to 90% were wrongly incarcerated. (4) This evades the fundamental question: what right does the US have to arrest any Iraqis in their own country? Morality was first abrogated when the US-UK attacked a defenseless, non-threatening country. Hence whatever follows is in contravention of basic morality.

The corporate media does its best to steer people in the wrong direction, away from the fundamental issues.

Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at:


(1) Editorial, “The Wrong Direction,” New York Times, 14 May 2004

(2) Quoted in Paul Rockwell, “Atrocities in Iraq: ‘I killed innocent people for our government’,” Sacramento Bee, 16 May 2004

(3) Ibid

(4) Alexander G. Higgins, “Red Cross: Iraqi Abuse Widespread, Routine,” Guardian, 10 May 2004

Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen


* The Shame
* The Pornography of War

* The Fairy Tale of Liberation
* The Lesser-of-Two Evils
* The Etiology of Hate
* The New York Times’ Search for Missing Friends
* Anti
* Canada’s Political Hypocrisy on the Palestinian Right to Live in Their Homeland
* The Ethnic Cleansing of Africville: Identity Politics in Canada
* Passion Against Anti-Semitism
* Thwarting the Democratic Will of Haitians
* Sports As War
* Rubber Numbers and the Sanctity of Human Life
* Same Shit Different Asshole!
* Clear and Present Danger: The War President Contextualizes
* The Pits of Cherry Picking: Bush and Blair Must Resign
* Distinguishing Neocon Commentary from Drivel

* Relinquishing Sovereignty: People Power or the Police State
* Parecon: Toward an Equitable Economy
* The Great Auks, Wild Salmon, and Money

* Toxic Farmed Salmon
* Necessary Chinese Illusions: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
* CBC Newspeak
* Looking Back on Year 2003
* Rhetorical Absurdities
* Dreaming of an Imperial Christmas
* Canadian Government’s Looming Support for Son of Star Wars

* One China
* Shifting the Blame: Now it’s Mr. Chirac’s Fault
* Challenging the Justification of Killing