Wednesday, September 22, 2010

War crimes

In 2006, 2007 and 2008 nonviolent civil resisters made attempts to block deployment of the Stryker brigades from the Port of Tacoma, Washington. This series of attempts was a manifestation of the port militarization resistance movement, a movement opposing the use of civilian ports by the military. The movement characterized the wars as illegal and claimed a right and duty to offer nonviolent resistance. Media characterized the resisters and their accompanying demonstrators as aggressive, pushy, and guilty of interfering with legitimate troop movements. Hawkish bloggers characterized them as unpatriotic. I think we can now characterize them as prescient and correct.

Now comes news that some of the troops from that Stryker brigade are allegedly engaging in war crimes. A freaked out troop asked his former Marine father what to do about the murders of Afghan civilians his unit was committing. His father immediately tried and tried and tried to get the Army to investigate, with no success, and so more such crimes were committed and now his son is one of those charged in the subsequent murders.

It's so fundamental that the war in Afghanistan, which was a response to a horrific crime of terrorist destruction on September 11, 2001, has now caused so many more crimes that the US will never leave that nation rationally expecting its puppet government, its installed democracy, to survive. And of course the other war that the movement has opposed all along, Iraq, is a loss--a government barely more functional than whatever is happening in Mogadishu--and that one is now widely understood by anyone who isn't immersed in Fox News as predicated upon lies.

Where is our national honor in this? Absent. Politicians and mainstream media cravenly pound it into our culture, our consciousness, and our national conversation that our military is honorable, brave, and that sacrificing a little for them is just what we must do to honor how brave and selfless our troops are.

Army Specialist Adam Winfield wasn't brave enough to confront, or even report (except in a Facebook message to his father) murders he witnessed committed by his squad leader and others at the orders of his squad leader. Indeed, when the father, Chris Winfield, talked to the Army he was told that his son should wait to report it until after he was home from Afghanistan to avoid repercussions. What brave advice, advising courageous integrity. No fear. They are the military, and we are told to excuse them, pay for them, support them, ruin our economy for them, because they are obviously bravely prepared to give their lives for us.

But not brave enough to report murders committed by each other. What a high standard of courage and what a willingness to sacrifice.

What will Patraeus say about this one? What will the White House say? They were quite exercised about some obscure Florida pastor who might have burned some paper, ruefully talking about that offense helping al Qa'ida recruitment. This set of war crimes in Afghanistan burned actual live civilians and left them dead. The conduct of our soldiers is producing endless numbers of recruits to the ranks of terror and this is inevitable. Occupying someone's country will tend to turn them to terrorism and insurgency, religious fundamentalism and internal oppression. They cycle is predictable and violence is not a path to peace.

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