How many civilian massacres does it take to see the systematic savagery of US soldiers?

How many civilian massacres does it take to see the systematic savagery of US soldiers?
16 March 2012     Nima Shirazi     USA and the War on Terror
The killing has gone on unabated for ten years and is routinely ignored by the mainstream media, which choose instead to praise American soldiers for their heroism and sacrifice.
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By Nima Shirazi
Wide Asleep in America
11 March 2012
 
The bodies of Afghan civilians loaded into the back of a truck in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district of Kandahar
Nearly eight years ago, on April 1, 2004, former speech writer and Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, Peggy Noonan wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, where she was a contributing editor. It began like this (emphasis in original):

The world is used to bad news and always has been, but now and then there occurs something so brutal, so outside the normal limits of what used to be called man's inhumanity to man, that you have to look away. Then you force yourself to look and see and only one thought is possible: This must stop now. You wonder, how can we do it? And your mind says, immediately: Whatever it takes.

The brutal, inhuman event she was referring to was the killing in the Iraqi city of Fallujah of four American civilian contractors, whose SUV was ambushed by rocket-propelled grenades the day before.  The four men, all employees of the infamous mercenary outfit Blackwater, were shot, their bodies burned, mutilated, and dragged through the streets in celebration.  The charred corpses of two of those killed that day were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.  The news, and accompanying photographs, sent shockwaves of horror and disgust through the United States and prompted endless editorials from coast to coast.

Why is Obama outraged when a "rogue" soldier murders civilians but not by his own drone attacks?

Why is Obama outraged when a "rogue" soldier murders civilians but not by his own drone attacks?

Is there a morally significant difference between the massacre of 16 civilians by a US Army sergeant and "collateral damage"? Ask Afghan civilians, says former US marine Ross Caputi.


Obama and Cameron may fool themselves over Afghanistan but they can't fool 73% of us

Obama and Cameron may fool themselves over Afghanistan but they can't fool 73% of us

13 March 2012
Robin Beste
Afghanistan and Pakistan

The latest poll shows that seven in ten people believe that the Afghan war is unwinnable and even the media is beginning to catch up with what has long been obvious to the British public.
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By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
13 March 2012

"No, Barack, I'm not kidding. 73% of people in Britain really do think the war is unwinnable."

"Success in the Afghan province of Helmand is within the Army's grasp," head of the British army General Sir Peter Wall wrote in The Sun on Sunday on 11 March 2012. "Our soldiers are making a huge difference… Security in Afghanistan is vital to our safety back home."

It's the same line spun by David Cameron, who said yesterday that nothing must "derail the very good work that American and British and other Isaf forces are doing in Afghanistan".

They really do think the British public was born yesterday if they think we'll swallow this nonsense.

The war now in its eleventh year -- lasting longer than the combined total of World War I and II -- has been a catastrophe from beginning to its fast approaching end.

It has brought nothing by mass slaughter and devastation to the Afghan people and huge cost in lives and money to the United States, Britain and the other invading countries.

The reality of this pointless war has been brought home in recent weeks by the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier, the killing of six British troops on 7 March, the deliberate burning of the Koran by the US Army, which provoked nationwide outrage, and the pictures of US troops urinating on the bodies of Afghans they had killed.

The latest slaughter in Afghanistan is part of a decade of savage civilian killing: until Nato leaves, it is certain to continue

Comment is free

Massacres are the inevitable result of foreign occupation | Seumas Milne

Afghan villagers during a prayer ceremony for victims of Sunday's killing of civilians, apparently by a lone US soldier, in Panjwai. Photograph: Allauddin Khan/AP Afghan villagers during a prayer ceremony for victims of Sunday's killing of civilians, apparently by a lone US soldier, in Panjwai. Photograph: Allauddin Khan/AP

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Tuesday 13 March 2012

US forces Kill 16 Civilians, Afghanistan

Think Afghanistan protests are just about burnt Korans? Think again. 26 February 2012 Glenn Greenwald Afghanistan and Pa

Think Afghanistan protests are just about burnt Korans? Think again.
26 February 2012     Glenn Greenwald     Afghanistan and Pakistan

Afghans themselves are making clear that this latest episode is but the trigger for underlying grievances about a decade-old, extremely violent foreign military presence in their country.
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By Glenn Greenwald
Salon
26 February 2012
 
Most American media accounts and commentary about the ongoing violent anti-American protests in Afghanistan depict their principal cause as anger over the burning of Korans (it’s just a book: why would people get violent over it?) — except that Afghans themselves keep saying things like this:

Protesters in Kabul interviewed on the road and in front of Parliament said that this was not the first time that Americans had violated Afghan cultural and religious traditions and that an apology was not enough.

“This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead and killing our children,” said Maruf Hotak, 60, a man who joined the crowd on the outskirts of Kabul, referring to an episode in Helmand Province when American Marines urinated on the dead bodies of men they described as insurgents and to a recent erroneous airstrike on civilians in Kapisa Province that killed eight young Afghans.

“They always admit their mistakes,” he said. “They burn our Koran and then they apologize. You can’t just disrespect our holy book and kill our innocent children and make a small apology.”
And:

Members of Parliament called on Afghans to take up arms against the American military, and Western officials said they feared that conservative mullahs might incite more violence at the weekly Friday Prayer, when a large number of people worship at mosques.

Afghan civilian death toll reaches record high

Afghan civilian death toll reaches record high
• UN report says 3,021 civilians killed in 2011
• 8% increase on 2010 and fifth consecutive rise
• Number of suicide bombings static but toll rises 80%

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 4 February 2012 12.53 GMT

An Afghan civilian is carried away after being killed in a bomb attack in Jalalabad. Photograph: Rahmat Gul/AP
The civilian death toll for the war in Afghanistan reached a record high last year with 3,021 deaths, according to the United Nations.

The number killed rose by 8% last year – the fifth consecutive rise – with a further 4,507 civilians wounded, the UN report said. Many were killed by roadside bombs or in suicide attacks, with Taliban-affiliated militants responsible for three-quarters of the deaths.

The number of deaths caused by suicide bombings jumped to 450, an 80% increase over the previous year, even though the number of suicide attacks remained about the same.

"A decade after the war began, the human cost of it is still rising," said Georgette Gagnon, director for human rights for the UN mission in Afghanistan.

The single deadliest suicide attack since 2008 occurred on 6 December, when a bomber detonated his explosives-filled vest at the entrance of a mosque in Kabul, killing 56 worshippers during the Shia Muslim rituals of Ashoura.

Roadside bombs remain the biggest killer of civilians. The homemade explosives – which can be triggered by a footstep or a vehicle and are often rigged with enough explosives to destroy a tank – killed 967 people in 2011, nearly a third of the total.

The figures come as Nato begins to map out plans for international troops to withdraw and hand over responsibility for security to Afghan security forces.

Piss on war: death, desecration, and Afghanistan

Piss on war: death, desecration, and Afghanistan
15 January 2012     Hamilton Nolan     Afghanistan and Pakistan

Most sickening of all are politicians who sit in office chairs and start wars and wave flags as young men and women go off to kill and die and be psychologically and emotionally damaged for life.

By Hamilton Nolan
Gawker
12 January 2012

Cartoon by Steve Bell
A video emerges showing US Marines pissing on three Taliban corpses in Afghanistan.

The outrage machine grinds into motion. The media bestirs itself from its slumber. Americans momentarily pay attention to the war in Afghanistan again.

Politicians rush to add their names to the chorus of identical statements. All inflamed over the least bad thing that soldiers do in war.

Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed.

Having your limbs blown off.

Having your house incinerated by a drone-fired missile that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed.

Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced.

Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.

War is horrible. War is sickening. Wars started for supremely righteous causes are just as horrible and sickening in their consequences as wars started for less than righteous causes.

Politicians who sit in office chairs and start wars and wave flags as young men and women go off to kill and die and be psychologically and emotionally damaged for life are the most sickening of all.

US troops seen urinating on bodies

US troops seen urinating on bodies

The US Marine Corps said it would investigate a video showing what appear to be American forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

The video could aggravate anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan after a decade of a war that has seen other cases of abuse. The Marine video release comes at a sensitive moment, with Washington trying to promote Afghan reconciliation as US troops gradually withdraw from the country.

The video, which was posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on three corpses.

One of them jokes: "Have a nice day, buddy." Another makes a lewd joke.

"While we have not yet verified the origin or authenticity of this video, the actions portrayed are not consistent with our core values and are not indicative of the character of the Marines in our Corps," the Marines said in a statement.

"This matter will be fully investigated."

Two US military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the video appeared to be authentic at first look but Reuters could not independently verify the video or its source.

A Muslim civil rights group in the United States condemned the alleged desecration of corpses in a letter to defense secretary Leon Panetta.

"Any guilty parties must be punished to the full extent allowed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and by relevant American laws," the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in the letter, a copy of which was sent to media organizations including Reuters.

Strong reaction to the story spread on military-related websites, including on Stars and Stripes, the leading US Defense Department-authorized news publication.