That racists and right wing bigots view people who don't dress like us or live like us as less than human is conventionally accepted. However, the devaluation of the lives and humanity of the brown and the black and the foreign has also been a persistent, if less often voiced, part of the liberal American view of the world. And this lethal condescension is not unique to our liberals. Richard Seymour, the author of "The Liberal Defense of Murder" who blogs at Lenin's Tomb, writes in a recent essay in the Guardian
In every country whose rulers have opted for empire, there has developed among the intellectual classes a powerful pro-imperial consensus, with liberals and leftwingers its most vociferous defenders.This belief becomes lethal when considering the "cost" of imperial adventures. The fifty people in a wedding party killed by a US bomb are important only insofar as they are a useful club with which to beat the Bush administration. That these were human beings with lives and loves is an understanding so far from the picture as to be nonexistent. With the coming of the Obama administration these people will also lose their value as clubs. And because they have been dehumanised more will be killed with ease. Ask most anyone how many people were killed in the Vietnam War. Like as not the answer will be 58,000 or thereabouts. Think upon the question and the answer.
Liberal imperialists have resisted explicitly racist arguments for domination, instead justifying empire as a humane venture delivering progress. Even so, implicit in such a stance was the belief that other peoples were inferior.
Liberals came around to opposing the Iraq war in large numbers only when it became clear the beating we were taking in world opinion. The initial military victory was cheered on in most liberal venues - at least if the liberal New York Times and NPR are any indication. The slaughter in Falluja may have caused a slight discomfort but the effect did not last very long. My fear is that by the time the inhumanity that is sure to be practiced - after all our enemies are less than human - in this, the "right" war, leads to a further slide of US power and prestige many many more will have died. One's heart bleeds for what has happened and what will happen. But not, it seems, of bleeding heart liberals.
Commenting on the strikes the Guardian says
The strikes will help Obama portray himself as a leader who, though ready to shift the balance of American power towards diplomacy, is not afraid of military action.Well, that makes it alright then.