How Do We Decide Our Outrage About Civilian Casualties?

As the casualty count mounts in Syria, the outrage in the United States continues to grow.  The State Department has now made it clear they are very angry with Russia about their arms sales to Syria and because of those transactions, more people are dying.  Outrage is perfectly understood.  In fact let’s take it down to the bare bones.  An entity in one country is killing people in large numbers, many innocent civilians, and they are obtaining their arms from another country who benefits economically from the transaction.  The U.S. government has responded appropriately from a seemingly compassionate perspective.  The following from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland laid the spilling of Syrian blood at Moscow’s feet. “On a daily basis, on an hourly basis, we are seeing Russian- and Soviet-made weaponry used against civilians in towns all across Syria,” she said.

People are dying “on an hourly basis.”  We should all be appalled at this and the idea a foreign country is contributing to the deaths in another through their arms policy is shameful to say the least.  In fact, we as Americans should expect nothing less from our government.  They should ask for policies that lessen the deaths of civilians in other countries and make sure the lives of so many are not ended so violently.  And we actually have another case to look at as far as this outrage goes.

There is another country in the world where arms policies are very negatively affecting the lives of civilians in a second country.  And in this one, the casualty per hour estimate has been projected to be even higher than Syria’s of one per hour.  In this country, it is estimated by the affected government to be one per half hour.  In this country, just like Syria, the death toll is estimated to be over ten thousand in the past year.  The killings in both are very brutal and innocent civilians are not safe in either.

Since the cases are so similar, we would obviously expect similar responses from the U.S. government as they would be doing all they can to stop this type of violence against civilians.  So, has the U.S. government condemned the country responsible for an arms policy that is killing someone every half hour in another country.  Well, no.  But why not?  Who are these other countries and what is this other situation?

The country negatively affected with the one per half hour death rate: Mexico.  The country with the arms policy affecting Mexico: the United States.  What’s the difference?  It certainly doesn’t seem to be casualty count.  If it were, the outrage would be the same from the U.S. government.  A hypothetical State Department quote would look like the one on Syria with a few words changed: On a daily basis, on a half hourly basis, we are seeing American-made weaponry used against civilians in towns all across Mexico.  Which leads to another potentially uncomfortable question for the U.S. government.

Is the selective outrage because the U.S. economy profits from one and the Russian economy profits from the other?  We are left to simply draw our own conclusions judging from the facts.

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