Letter: Iraqis just as important

By The Daily Illini

I was terribly troubled by Kiyoshi Martinez’s most recent column “Picture imperfect.” What I found most disheartening was his disregard for human life if it was not an American.

This mentality of “If he or she is not an American, he or she is not important” brings troubling consequences for thinking about present and future actions. If one is only thinking of the costs to one side, they lose sight of the larger picture. For a historical example, think of Vietnam. When Americans are asked how many Vietnamese were killed during the war, they usually say about 20,000, when the real figure was closer to 2 million.

Also, with this mentality, it should be no surprise that many people keep asking the question, “Why do they hate us?” Part of the answer is simple, but it involves self-reflection that isn’t allowed by the mentality that Martinez promotes.

I believe that we all should be subjected to the horrors in Iraq right now. This country made the decision to go to war, and if the reasons behind it are strong enough, they should be able to endure the reality of war: death, destruction and innocent lives lost.

Sadly, with the tight control over journalists through the “embed” system, Americans continue to see a rosier picture than exists. This is exactly what the military desires. Another instance of control occurred when the United States attacked Fallujah most recently: Their first target to secure was the hospital. With U.S. control of the hospital, there would be no visible casualties. No visual casualties means no international outrage, which is good for America.

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I am saddened when I hear of mounting U.S. causalities, which are now over 1,200. But, I hope everyone else can see that deaths of innocent Iraqis are important to keep in our heads and hearts.

Frank Stec

senior in communications and LAS