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Death as entertainment

I have been taking part in the comment thread on this post on Samizdata, where I expressed concern over treating a clip of taliban fighters being killed as entertainment.

Let me make this clear. There are people in this world who need to be dead, and I include taliban amongst them. I may regret the necessity that we have to expend both blood and treasure to remove people as threats, but I do not regret the threat being removed.

My attitude is not squeamishness at the thought of war, it is not disrespectful of those who are Orwell’s rough men, heroes willing to endure the horrors and stand on the ramparts between me and those who wish me dead.

Sure, I regret the taking of human life. It is a pity that we can’t take out these people without killing them, but that is just absurdly unrealistic wishful thinking.

My problem is with this post, not on the actions it depicts. Whatever the necessity of the killing of these people, it is just plain wrong to treat watching their deaths as a way of passing time while (do I really have to say metaphorically?) chowing down on popcorn and slurping fizzy drinks.

Taliban or not, these were people. Watching their deaths is not entertainment.

Update: I don’t have trackbacks working yet on this site, so I will instead crow about this reference, and thank Mr K T Kat for his kind and complimentary words.


  1. Dave Eaton says:

    I spouted off a little contra your position at samzidata. I understand your points, I think. I don’t disagree entirely.

    I think there is value in such a thing, even in all its horror. The fact that some will hoot and yell and consider it ‘all good’ is too bad. There is a tension there- the human tragedy juxtaposed with the cool calculation of how to apply force. There’s some value in seeing how much confusion exists, even when one side has vastly more sophisticated weaponry. It is important to remember that despite all the hardware, war boils down to people killing each other.

    I do cheer for my side. I am unabashed in favoring my people and our allies over our foes. the deaths involved are of real people, with all the tragedy that this entails- each life lost and entire universe destroyed.

    It should give one pause. I’m still not convinced that it shouldn’t be viewed, or that one cannot take a certain pleasure in the way things worked out without being wholly barbaric. Chips and soda (which I take to mean viewing the clip without reflection or pause) are probably not appropriate. But a Huzzah for “our boys” may not be inappropriate.

    Some barbarism comes with being human, maybe. And God pity the person who has excised all his or her barbarism (and I invoke him as an Atheist…)

    In any case, I enjoy your writing, and welcome any counter argument.

    CountingCats writes:-
    In any case, I enjoy your writing, and welcome any counter argument.

    Dave, thank you for the compliment about the writing, I do my best. As far as your argument goes, I have no strong disagreement with you.

  2. K T Cat says:

    CC, I replied to your comment just now. I don’t share your views, but I’m glad I live in the same world as you.

  3. K T Cat says:

    I threw you a link.

  4. [...] two postings have revealed opinions in the comments I cannot countenance, and I now question just what [...]

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