USA

Why the United States is never held to account for its atrocities

Glenn Greenwald - The Guardian

What is most revealed by the removal of the US Marine who killed 16 civilians from Afghanistan is the American belief that no other country can ever impose accountability on Americans.

US army staff sergeant Robert Bales is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, and then burning some of the bodies. The massacre took place in two villages in the southern rural district of Panjwai.

Though this horrific crime targeted Afghans on Afghan soil, Afghanistan will play no role in investigating the crime or bringing the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to justice.

That is because the US almost immediately whisked the accused out of Afghanistan and brought him to an American army base in Fort Leavensworth, Kansas.

The rapid exclusion of Afghans from the process of trying the accused shooter has, predictably and understandably, exacerbated the growing anti-American anger in that country.

It is hard to imagine any nation on the planet reacting any other way to being denied the ability to try suspects over crimes that take place on its soil. A Taliban commander quickly gave voice to that nationalistic fury, announcing: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan. The Afghans should prosecute him."

Iraq war criminals line up to wage war on Iran

Marina Hyde - The Guardian

The creatures of the US military-industrial complex, have somehow managed to pick themselves up from what should have been career-ending humiliation in Iraq and call for more of the same.

The thing about a supertanker is that at least you can turn it round. It takes a while, by all accounts, but you have to think any such vessel has the turning circle of a London taxi compared with the US war machine, which – like its erstwhile willing passenger Tony Blair – appears to relish its lack of a reverse gear.

Are we moving inexorably towards a strike on Iran? There is "a smell of fresh chum in the waters" again, as the rip-roaring journalist Matt Taibbi put it recently.

This week, not a decade after the Iraq invasion, several former officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency accused its head of mishandling the Iranian crisis. They levelled charges of western bias, relying on dodgy intelligence, and sidelining sceptics.

This may sound vaguely familiar. In fact, the situation has all the charmless nostalgia of those I Love 1982-style shows, which saw "expert" talking heads such as Vernon Kay and Kate Thornton reminisce about everything from deely-boppers to the Falklands with no modulation of tone.

Will the US go to war with Iran?