Making Up for Good Intentions

I, and many other bloggers, wrote earlier this year about an incident in which a U.S. Army patrol fired on a car in Iraq that carried a mother, father, and six children. The parents were killed and one of the kids was badly wounded. What made this incident different from many other accidental (or reckless) shootings during the course of the war was the presence of a press photographer, Chris Hondros of Getty Images, who recorded the horror of the scene. Newsweek has a story in its current issue on the shooting’s extraordinarily unhappy aftermath.

I see this evening, by way of Mark Frauenfelder on BoingBoing, that a group of people in the Seattle area has set up a relief fund for the family, the Hassans (the parents left nine children behind; the boy wounded in the attack suffered spinal injuries and could be permanently paralyzed unless he gets access to expensive medical treatment unavailable in Iraq). The fund has been organized under the auspices of an Anglican church group and a tech consulting firm, and is taking donations by mail or via PayPal. Check out the relief fund page for yourself.

Perhaps the fund is just our typical Yank gesture: We’re so sorry we killed your parents; let us give you some cash. On the other hand, it’s a small way of trying to set right the damage wrought by all our highly principled, well-intentioned violence.