Letter from America: The Pornography of Violence – 2
I am not surprised either to learn about the My Lai style murderous orgy executed by a U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bales (38) on March 11 in Afghanistan that killed 17 innocent Afghans. Nine of the dead were children; some others were women and elderly men. The bodies of some of the victims were set on fire.
These innocent victims were attacked as they slept in villages that were supposed to be protected by soldiers on Bales’s base. What a betrayal! In terms of number of victims while surely Bales’s massacre is much smaller in magnitude, it is no less criminal than what had happened in Srebrenica in July of 1995 when the Dutch-speaking peacekeepers of the UNPROFOR did nothing to stop the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serbian and Greek Orthodox Christians under the command of General Ratko Mladic.
Contrary to some early reports, the latest massacre in Afghanistan had neither anything to do with the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) nor was it an isolated event done by a rogue member. It is inconceivable that a soldier like Bales could get out of his base twice after 1 a.m. unchallenged and without anyone’s knowledge. How did he manage to do so much damage alone?
As the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reported there is something sinister about the entire massacre and the responsibility for the crime goes up higher in the chain of military command. Just days before the massacre the villagers were threatened by American soldiers: ‘A bomb exploded on our vehicle. … We will get revenge for this incident by killing at least 20 of your people.’ (CSM, March 20, 2012) It was not surprising that the U.S. government kept the identity of the soldier hidden until he was safely flown out of Afghanistan.
It has been quite some time that we have been hearing about the Kill Team within the NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan. Last year, Mark Boal of the Rolling Stone magazine published a lengthy expose on this “kill team” group that included a link to a number of the photographs. He wrote, “Indeed, it would have been hard not to know about the murders, given that the soldiers of 3rd Platoon took scores of photographs chronicling their kills and their time in Afghanistan. The photos, obtained by Rolling Stone, portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing Afghan civilians is less a reason for concern than a cause for celebration. “Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people, whether it was the Afghan National Police, the Afghan National Army or locals,” one soldier explained to investigators. “Everyone would say they’re savages.” One photo shows a hand missing a finger. Another depicts a severed head being maneuvered with a stick, and still more show bloody body parts, blown-apart legs, mutilated torsos. Several show dead Afghans, lying on the ground or on Stryker vehicles, with no weapons in view.” (March 27, 2011)
The recent massacre of Afghan civilians is part of a much broader trail of war crimes that has allowed brain-washed hateful soldiers to commit the so-called collateral damages, bombing ‘mistakes’, drone attacks, the urination on dead Afghans, the collection of body parts from their victims as souvenirs and the burning of the Qur’an, and has given them a sense of immunity knowing from past records that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes may not even serve time behind the bars. And these criminal soldiers cannot be blamed for entertaining such thoughts when we know that not one of the eight Marines charged in the 2005 massacre of 24 people in Iraq, including women, children and a man in wheelchair, was imprisoned. One was acquitted and the charges against six others were dropped. The Sergeant who admitted ordering his men to ‘shoot first and question later’ was given a plea bargain, serving no time behind the bars. Similarly, the United States military has recently decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for their involvement in a NATO airstrike in November 2011 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Like pornography, violence is an addiction. And America is addicted to violence. It is this culture that glorifies violence through pre-emptive strikes not just in the towns and villages in harm’s ways in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan but also everywhere within the USA. It finds excuses for the trigger-happy executioners that shoot and kill their victims (often a minority inside, and of ‘other’ race or religion outside the USA) without feeling any guilt or remorse. In a clear case of cognitive dissonance, the general public, mesmerized by vile messages from the ultra-nationalist, racist and bigoted elements within the politics and political discourse of America, thus see no evil or crime for these criminals. At most, they see Zimmerman as a threatened victim within the society, and Bales as a victim of unpopular wars -- started by George W. Bush, and now continued by Barack Obama – who had made bad decisions or acted in self-defense.
It is this evil culture that is again trying to push America to launch pre-emptive strikes against Iran, in spite of all the evidences that show that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. Forgotten are the facts that Bush Jr. and Cheney were wrong in their perceptions about the Iraqi WMDs and should be tried for misleading the American public, let alone bankrupting the country and committing crimes against humanity.
When America refuses to punish its criminals for their crimes against the ‘other’ people, it destroys more than its concept of justice. It devalues the lives of their victims. These criminals deserve the contempt of this nation and not either excuse or applause.
The death of Trayvon was the result of a long line of violent acts, the culmination of hate and suspicion and doubt in this country. This country has allowed people to kill and brutalize those that they don't like. This pornography of violence must stop. Otherwise, as Malcolm X once said, America’s chickens are coming home to roost. It will reap what it had been sowing.
For the first part, see: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2012/03/25/letter-america-pornography-v...
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