Moral Bankruptcy

Submitted by ross on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 16:12

By Ross Caputi

Scott Olsen was shot in the head with a projectile by the Oakland Police on Tuesday October 25th. Scott was a young veteran who did two deployments to Iraq with the Marine Corps. It is unclear exactly how Scott felt about his deployments to Iraq, and it is unlikely that he will be able to tell us any time soon. His injuries have left him unable to speak.

However, it is clear how the #Occupy movement feels about Scott's "service". Many people in this movement feel outraged that the police attacked a veteran. Iraq Veterans Against the War, an organization in which Scott was a member, has not hesitated to highlight his two deployments to Iraq as they called for vigils across America in solidarity with Scott. Veterans for Peace, another organization that Scott belonged to, also emphasized Scott's deployments. The New York Times has reported that "his injury — and the oddity of a Marine who faced enemy fire only to be attacked at home — has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, as well as calls for solidarity". This appears to be true. Scott's "service" has made the police brutality against him more egregious than it would have been otherwise.

This response to Scott Olsen's attack reveals where the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan stand as an issue in the #Occupy movement. As a moral issue they stand somewhere on the sideline; however, as an economic issue they do get some attention. Scott Olsen's deployments to Iraq are being spoken of in a positive light, rather than as voluntary participation in an immoral and brutal occupation. The word "service" is being used to describe what Scott did in Iraq, and nobody bats an eye. It appears that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are an issue for the #Occupy movement only because of what the occupations have done to our economy. The #Occupy movement is focused on economic injustice at home, not on the crimes we are committing abroad.

The irony that Scott was put in the hospital by some of the same tactics that his Marine Corps has used against Iraqis has escaped most Americans. Neither IVAW, nor VFP, nor the #Occupy movement have said a word about it. Nobody has drawn a connection between what happened to Scott and what happened to Iraqis when the US military fired into crowds of peaceful protesters and killed civilians; like in Fallujah on April 28th, 2003 when the US killed 13 civilians. The lies of the Bush administration, the more than one-million dead Iraqis, the millions of refugees and orphans, and the dramatic rise in cancers and birth defects in Iraq have all been forgotten as Americans speak about Scott's "service".

We should all decry police brutality wherever it rears its ugly head. Yet police brutality and the murder of innocent civilians in foreign countries are both moral issues; and to decry one without decrying the other suggests a rather serious disconnect. It is this disconnect that is plaguing our country. We decry economic injustice at home, but stay silent about the immoral occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We decry police brutality at home, while our troops brutalize innocent people abroad. It is difficult not to come to the conclusion that Americans only care about themselves.



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Police brutality vs. massive military death & destruction

Submitted by staff on Mon, 10/31/2011 - 00:54.

It's quite true that the single case of police brutality against Scott Olsen is comparatively insignificant in the balance with the crimes of our invasion, destruction and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  These crimes--like the "original sin" of American genocide and dispossession of Native Americans; the massive kidnapping, enslavement, degradation, and mortality committed against Africans; the unnecessary holocaust of aerial bombing in Germany & Japan in WWII, and now the destruction and nuclear pollution of Iraq and Afghanistan--are TOO BIG TO HANDLE for many or most people.
Personal response to a single act of injustice against a single person, such as the wounding of Scott Olsen by Oakland police, is far easier.  Compare the media attention to the single infant rescued from the carnage of hundreds dead in the recent earthquake in eastern Turkey.  This limited response of empathy for Scott and outrage at the police may fall far short of what, ideally, is required; but it is also a step in the right direction which should be encouraged--and then expanded.
Bob Cable

the high road

Submitted by staff on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 23:12.

ross , you take the high road,
at this moment in time, Scot was the one standng on the frontline of the occupy protest and t took a bullet to the head. He may not be everyone's hero but he needs all our support. Your arguement fails on this

Actually it brings him justice

Submitted by staff on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 23:45.

I believe that Ross' article actually brings justice to Scott's attack.  This is an important issue that Ross is highlighting and he is extremely courageous to talk so openly about it.  More people need to open their eyes to the brutality that the Iraqi and Afghani people face daily-remember back to the wikileaks "Collateral Murder" video.

ocuppy cincinati,vvaw/ai southwest ohio march in support of scot

Submitted by staff on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 20:28.

ocuppy cincinnati,vvawai march in support of scot on 10/29/ soldarity,sonny

 Brilliantly written and I

Submitted by staff on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 17:36.

 Brilliantly written and I share your sentiment..

 Brilliantly written and I

Submitted by staff on Sun, 10/30/2011 - 17:36.

 Brilliantly written and I share your sentiment..

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