May 26, 2006
Who Of Us Can Say “We Didn’t Know”?

I’ll confine this post to a few items recently reported in the mainstream media:

From MSNBC:

A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood,” a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. “The Americans came into the room where my father was praying,” she said, “and shot him.”

Jerome Doolittle and Joyful Alternative point out two horrible stories appearing in regional newspapers.

From The Hartford Courant:

A Courant investigation has uncovered extreme examples of failures by the U.S. military to properly screen, treat and evacuate mentally unfit troops.

From the Harrisburg Patriot News:

[Tonya] Conway … unsuccessfully argued to a military review board that she was unfit for duty.

“I have a contract to fulfill,” she said. “I have to go. Their final word is I have to report or I will become AWOL.”

Conway said she has not recovered from her first tour in Iraq, with the Army in 2003. The smell of bodies and the shock of incoming fire still haunt her. She believes she has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

If soldiers mentally unfit for duties are knowingly sent into combat and thereafter commit the kind of atrocities that MSNBC tells us have happened already and likely will happen again, who is responsible? Who of us can say ’We didn’t know’? Tbogg asks “Now can we compare it to Vietnam’? I ask: Does anyone in Washington have any memory of what the world tried to accomplish at Nuremburg?

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Posted by Buck Batard at May 26, 2006 07:09 PM
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It is not only that mentally unfit soldiers are sent into battle, more importantly, battle strips the humanity from those sent to the battlefield to kill or be killed.

It is the parable of the film "Old Yeller", where the dog saves the family by killing a rabid bear. The dog, in risking its life in this courageous feat, becomes rabid itself, and then has to be shot. In the film, there is a puppy sired by the dog, it provides a "happy" ending. Here, there is no "happy" ending.

We have sent men into battle. Those who have taken an honorable and sacred oath for our defense. But through war, these men who committed these horrific crimes, are no longer human. They have become rabid, ravening, killing machines. Their humanity has been stripped from them until they are no more than shells. They can not differentiate between those who threaten them, and those who don't, or worse can't threaten them. In terms of what makes us human, they are as dead as Terry Schiavo before she finally stopped breathing.

Many more of those in battle are are damaged almost as much. They manage to retain control their most harmful external reactions, but they too are have lost much of their humanity. But all of us are touched.

This is the face of war. It is not that these things happen in war. It is war that makes them happen.

This is why we must never send troops into battle, unless there is no other choice in defending ourselves or lawful allies. This useless, criminal, illegal war of aggression, a "Crime Against the Peace", a "Crime Against Humanity" does more than kill and damage bodies, it strips the humanity from not only the soldiers on the battlefield, but all of us.

Posted by: m on May 30, 2006 8:12 AM
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