WAR CRIMES, AMERICA’S MORAL MELTDOWN
Over 40 years ago, I was in Vietnam, part of an American military effort draped with shame and failure. My Lai was the crowning achievement of the war, nearly 600 women and children mowed down by automatic weapons fire. The man we know as General Colin Powell helped shove it under a rug. Lt. Calley, worse than many of Himmler’s SS executed for war crimes during World War II, became a hero to many Americans. Killing civilians was “policy” in Vietnam. You could murder anyone you wanted as long as they could be made to look like enemy combatants. If you killed them with a knife, even if others held them to the ground, you were awarded a Silver Star. This isn’t conjecture, I know this to be a fact.
When the Bush Administration sought legal protection from accusations of war crime, shopping the dregs of the legal world and coming up with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, someone willing to sign off on virtually anything, we could see it coming. We had an administration of “Chickenhawks,” psychotic war mongers who were physical cowards, shirking wartime service through trickery, influence and excuses. Thus we ended up with a President who claims to have been a National Guard mail clerk in Alabama, missing the 10 years of combat during Vietnam, a war mongering Vice President who piled up student deferments and a Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who did a short peacetime stint in the Navy.
Congress was worse, with the “war party,” the GOP, lined from one end to the other with draft dodgers. Their only noticeable veteran was John McCain. The real mastermind of the Bush Administration was radio host Rush Limbaugh who claims he was rejected for service in Vietnam because of an anal cyst.
What those of us who actually fought in a war knew is that the leadership of the military itself, called by Colonel David Hackworth “the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon,” was utterly corrupt and bereft of real combat experience, leadership ability and moral character. That leadership has, if anything, gotten worse.
As our two most recent disastrous wars played out, one seemingly forever, we began with stories of prisoner abuse, kidnappings, torture on a mass scale. The Wikileaks video showing two Apache helicopter crews murdering unarmed Samaritans was quickly ignored. In fact, dozens, perhaps hundreds of incidents of criminality have been covered up, the press delightfully complicit, never asking why nothing is done, never asking why the military never calls anyone of rank and power to account.
When reports come in, such as those from FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, that planeloads of narcotics are moved across the world by the US military or we hear that bales of American aid money are being transported out of Afghanistan to, well, we don’t know, do we? Are we really sure that it isn’t the military itself that is stealing the money, running the drugs, managing the $65 billion dollar a year drug operation in Afghanistan? Is there any reason, any scrap of proof that can show they aren’t doing it?
When the Bush administration decided to “outsource” the war, “outsource” the CIA, turning a third of our massive defense budget over to political cronies, shouldn’t all of this been expected?
When the American “Taliban,” we can’t call them anything else, Christian Evangelists, read “Christian Zionists,” not really Christians at all, but a distorted, a perverted form of Christianity more science fiction, heavy on apocalypse, heavy on “end times” and very light on real scripture, a “Christ free” version of Christianity, was pushed onto our military, mass killings, drunken orgies, drug use, torture and inhumanity had to be expected.
What is the worst possible situation imaginable? How could we have found so many wartime cowards to lead a nation during a period of threat? What was the threat? Was it real or one concocted by the endless nest of military and intelligence geniuses, best call them what they are, phonies and vermin, the golfing partners of the military industrial complex.
Hadn’t we better admit that we have allowed ourselves to be led into, not only wars, but a total sacrifice of American freedoms and values, entirely for the glorification of cowards, phonies and sociopaths? Does this seem a bit harsh?
Excuse me for being angry.
Last week, Dr. Aafia, a housewife from Boston who was kidnapped while visiting her father in Pakistan, was convicted of trying to kill several Americans. She had been in detention, raped and tortured for years. Were the people she was accused of trying to kill, a totally fictional crime, themselves like the death squads that roam Iraq and Afghanistan, shooting innocent civilians from armored vehicles, helicopters, tossing hand grenades into crowds?
Today we learn that the current murder squad being investigated in Afghanistan operated in Iraq. This is one such unit, there could be dozens. Today we learn that the Army knew about this all along, members of these military units that claim they were under threat of death, forced to participate in war crimes, had reported the incidents.
Nothing was done. ABC News carried the story today, parents were told, the Army was called.
Were hundreds killed? More?
It is one thing losing a war. It is one thing seeing America pass laws nullifying our constitution and civil rights. It is one thing watching so many Americans cheer war crimes, atrocities, injustice, torture.
Imagine how this is going to play out. Afghanistan has a population between 30 and 40 million. Pakistan has nearly 200 million people. They are all going to hear about this. We spend billions, not millions, not tens or hundreds of millions but billions winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people, all so we can be “safe from terrorism.”
What a crock.
We hope people are afraid of us because if they aren’t, they certainly hate us. Do people in Pakistan and Afghanistan get afraid? Don’t we hear, every day, all day long, about how crazy they all are, wanting to blow themselves up? Are we stopping terrorism by sending Americans over there, so they can be murdered conveniently, none of those phony visas, passports or magic trips through Israeli run airports for them.
Who is ultimately responsible? The answer is easy, the American people. All the signs were there. The 2000 election had a smell about it, the jackals behind the scenes during Iran Contra, you remember that, don’t you? The Reagan administration? Whatever you want to call it, it was our government getting into the “crack” business and, as a sideline, peddling arms to Iran, you know, missiles and such, by the shipload.
Oh, you forgot?
It wasn’t more than a few months before we got 9/11, the largest coordinated attack on America in its history, confounding our air defenses, intelligence services, even the laws of physics were violated. Learn what you can do when defense contractors own TV networks.
There is another aspect of “war crimes” we have missed, how it allows the public to blame veterans. 40 years after Vietnam, most of that army is dead, endless numbers dying soon after the war, suicide, diseases, so many diseases, the reasons, we will never know.
Nobody cared, nobody cares.
With half the survivors of Vietnam, what few are still around, sick and dying, congress talks about little else other than trying to get out of paying medical expenses for their lingering deaths caused by Agent Orange poisoning. The Gulf War vets are having identical experiences.
Our new vets, well, you can read about them every day. Today they are mass murderers. Yesterday they were killing their families. Maybe when they get out of prison or the insane asylums, they can all join service organizations and drink, smoke and talk about the war while planning bingo and pancake suppers.
Or, they can buy motorcycle gang attire and ride around Washington pushing for new wars so others can die slowly like they did, like their fathers did.
Is this how it really is?
When did America get the idea that the only way to be “safe” was to make the entire world fear it? How did that work out for ancient Rome? As soon as things got a bit dicey, money got tight, political trouble set it, the barbarians descended on the Empire like locusts. This is where the Dark Ages came from, you remember them, don’t you?
When the barbarians sacked Rome in 476 AD, there was nobody left to defend it. Everyone had gone, died off, whatever people do after becoming useless.
The parallels between Rome and the United States are not minor ones, not anymore. America has offended and alienated the entire world. Our only hope is sinking hopelessly in debt to finance war after war, all fought with armies that are crumbling around us.
Was this the plan all along? America is certainly an empire, albeit a failed one, with troops stationed around the world. I still love joking with German friends how they have been occupied for 65 years. They are doing well by it, money to burn, prestige and vast economic power while the United States sits, broke, broken and facing continual rumors of civil war or Balkanization. You haven’t heard that? Listen to the news, what do you think all this means?
Who do we blame? Our entertainment industry has worked hard to foster fear and hatred, to keep America on a permanent war footing. Of course that same industry is controlled by a small nuclear power in the Middle East with delusional dreams of world conquest.
They control the news also, prettymuch all of it. We can’t forget this factor, not at all. We aren’t just going crazy on our own, we have professional psychotics helping us every step along the way.
Are we simply supposed to stop fighting for America? Maybe is that a wrong question. Were we really fighting “for” America at all? David Ray Griffin, in his new book, Cognitive Infiltration, makes a case that the “attacks” America supposedly responded to after 9/11 couldn’t possibly have come from the Arab world. Imagine, if you will, December 7, 1941. Buy Griffin’s book. Read it. “Grow a pair.”
What if, after the Pearl Harbor attack, the US invaded Canada?
This was 9/11.
What can we expect? Billions have been spent, thankfully not our tax dollars, but privately, to get Americans to hate Islam and to force Islam to fear and hate America. Thank that same “special country” for this. They have a plan. It involves America “going away” as soon as possible. It seems to be working very well for them.
What America can’t expect is leadership, civilian, military, economic, anything. That time is gone. We are in an age of gangsterism, we don’t build, we steal, we don’t defend, we torture and brutalize.
How do you know if you are part of it? Do you watch the news? Are you enraged because they tell you to be enraged or are you enraged because you know you are being lied to?
What is the difference between a human and a beast? Is there a difference at all? At one time, some saw religion as the defining difference except that half the killing, maybe most of the killing in our history has been driven by religion. Certainly the moral meltdown we now suffer is a result of the “Talibanization” of Christianity.
A majority of Americans who consider themselves “religious” favor torturing innocent people. No, these are the poll results. You can’t make up stuff like this. This was how witch hunts worked. What we used to do here in America, we used “faith based” initiatives to test the guilt of suspects. If you held a guilty person under water, they would survive. Then you burned them alive.
If you held an innocent person under water, they drowned, dead….
This is how we work now, exactly. This is what Americans, at least those who profess religious affiliations, demand of our government and they are getting it. Was that marriage between Christian Zionism and our military leadership fostered by Cheney and Rumsfeld, really meant to be more a political ploy than real religion, a mistake or were things supposed to end up like they have?
This is who we have become.
How is it working out for you?
Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran. A 100% disabled vet. He has been a featured commentator on TV and radio including Al Jazeera and his articles have been carried by news services around the world. He has been a UN Diplomat, defense contractor and is a widely published expert on military and defense issues. This article first appeared in Veterans and Foreign Affairs Journal.