Monday, March 12, 2012

Why'd he shoot? (Full Story Needed)

The full headline, in smaller script than is usual for newspapers, as I saw it peering into the newsbox this morning on the street:     

U. S. official call for calm, warn of potential reprisals, after soldier allegedly kills civilians in Afghanistan; Karzai demands account.  "

So far I have looked a few places for comments. Not surprisingly, I have not seen any published comments from a persons who thinks like an ordinary person. The people of this "democracy" get as usual no word from a regular sort of person, who, nevertheless, incredibly, may see what is happening here a lot more clearly than say CNN or NYT. Maybe I should scratch around a little more to get an idea. I'll check and see if anybody gets what is quite obvious to me------- and what certainly a few of us must get.
So, what's the result? First, I read the main story about it in the NYT on-line. The reporter from the Times writes: "long seething public outrage has been growing explosive..."  This is an observation of something "other," or far off, reported in deference to neutrality, observation. Neutrality, of course, is the main pose of  U. S. journalism, but what about understanding what is going in their own back yards? That "Long seething public outrage has been growing explosive here,..." [followed by a recounting of only the recent incidents, which makes it sound ungrammatical, since two recents events, the book burning event and the desecration of Afghan corpses event bring to mind not "long" seething public outrage but only recent outrage] is like a neutral observation of somebody else, some other, or someone else's country, an exogenous territory, but why not understand yourself before you understand or comment on someone else, out "there"?
    If U. S. persons have no understanding of themselves---if the newspaper writers cannot report on the nature of their own society, ...what then?

Here's a little more apocrapha. Obama says:
“This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

As to my grammatical quibblings I checked again and noticed that the article mentions in the next sentence yet another recent event involving the U.S. killing what are called "civilians." Let's have a look:
Long seething public outrage has been growing explosive here, spurred by the apparently inadvertent Koran burning by American personnel last month and an earlier video showing American Marines urinating on dead militants. Adding to the problem, the massacre occurred two days after an episode in Kapisa Province, in eastern Afghanistan, in which NATO helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents instead fired on civilians, killing four and wounding three others, Afghan officials said ..."

My objections seem to me to hold. Given that a newspaper provides explanations, there is no explanation of "long" seething public outrage, just of more recent outrages. Is the reporter telling the full story? The reporter fulfills his or her duty to provide the news by flatly stating that there are "long seething" feelings of public outrage but there is no explanation of what the "public outrage" or the outrage or ill feelings or whatever they are are about --- in any specifically "long" sense. How long has the U. S. been in Af? Ten years? Does "long" mean all ten?

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