Presentations (Communicative Events)

Understanding "Us" versus "Them"

Sachs, Jeffrey D.

I'm afraid I'm going to talk more today about the obstacles to love than I am about love itself. I'm going to talk about the social circumstances in which hate arises, and particularly about the issues we're facing in our country and in the world right now, on a morning when dozens more people have been killed in Iraq, and when American warplanes are routinely bombing civilian neighborhoods in a manner that would have seemed utterly impossible—shocking and barbaric—to many of us, I think, just a short time ago. The newspapers are dreadful in what they don't tell us every day. The New York Times reported yesterday, "American armored vehicles roared through the villages surrounding Falluja, the western town at the heart of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, on Friday, as warplanes pounded rebel positions and ground forces ratcheted up their preparations for what appeared to be an imminent assault on the city."1 This is sheer propaganda, because already in the first line is the idea that our warplanes are pounding "rebel positions," not bombing civilian neighborhoods. We learned last week from The Lancet magazine, which published the most serious epidemiological study that has been undertaken regarding the casualties in Iraq since the war began, that there are by best estimates—though admittedly this is with high uncertainty—100,000 deaths in excess of what would have been expected based on prewar circumstances, and that the vast majority of those deaths have come through violent attacks by U.S. forces, principally bombing by our aircraft.2 and so we enact Guernica every day, and our newspapers report it as "warplanes pounding rebel positions." The Associated Press this morning said the same thing, that Marines fired a barrage of artillery at "rebel positions" inside Falluja; U.S. jets have been pounding the "rebel bastion" for days—not the city.

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Also Published In

Love and Its Obstacles
The Center for the Study of Science and Religion

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for the Study of Science and Religion
Published Here
March 4, 2013


Love and Its Obstacles is the proceedings of a symposium held on November 7, 2004, at Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, New York. The symposium was organized by the Center for the Study of Science and Religion as part of the Love Studies Project, a two-year exploration of the subject of love in a university setting, sponsored by the Fetzer Institute.