by ralphlopez, Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 05:43:40 PM EDT
Once again, as many soldiers who have turned against the occupation have stated, these are not isolated nor even unexpected events. This is the nature of a brutal military occupation in which the enemy is the entire populace and the goal is control of resources or to maintain geopolitical fragmentation of a state.
Outspoken Iraq veteran Ethan McCord says of another incident caught on video, of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 on a wounded man and those trying to help him, words that are applicable to the entire occupation (I refuse to call this a war. A war has two sides with armies facing each other who have roughly the same firepower. This is a slaughter.)
"Instead of people being upset at a few soldiers in a video who were doing what they were trained to do, I think people need to be more upset at the system that trained these soldiers. They are doing exactly what the Army wants them to do."
Part of the brainwashing in the Army which teaches the dehumanization of an occupied population are words sung in basic training as you run or march:
we went to the market where all the hadji shop,
pulled out our machetes and we began to chop,
we went to the playground where all the hadji play,
pulled out our machine guns and we began to spray,
we went to the mosque where all the hadji pray,
threw in a hand grenade, and blew them all away.
Now as Obama draws down what is being called the "rebranded occupation" to the 50,000-troop permanent American presence, bolstered by what Jeremy Scahill calls the "coming surge" in private security contractors, we have the power, the many who worked for him and had high hopes, to demand the country be given back fully to the Iraqis. We might not like the geopolitical outcome (a Shiite government leaning towards Iran) but it will tell the world we have renounced Bush foreign policy and are ready to make amends. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has called for prosecution of Bush administration officials for "conspiring to manipulate intelligence in order to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq."
IVAW alleges that Bush administration officials conspired to create the perception that Saddam Hussein presented an imminent threat to the United States in order to bypass an uncooperative U.N. Security Council and secure a congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq. The growing body of evidence, including testimony from British officials in the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry, indicates that Bush officials could be charged with criminal offenses against the United States and violations of international law for making false claims to national self-defense.
Seumus Milne of the UK Guardian writes:
The horrific cost of the war to the Iraqi people...and the continuing fear and misery of daily life make a mockery of claims that the US surge of 2007 "worked" and that Iraq has come good after all.
It's not only the hundreds of thousands of dead and 4 million refugees. After seven years of US (and British) occupation, tens of thousands are still tortured and imprisoned without trial, health and education has dramatically deteriorated, the position of women has gone horrifically backwards, trade unions are effectively banned, Baghdad is divided by 1,500 checkpoints and blast walls, electricity supplies have all but broken down and people pay with their lives for speaking out.
Please sign the Open Letter to the Iraqi People, authored by former soldiers in Iraq, and work to demand from your congressman that this country be given back to its people. The letter reads in part:
"We did unto you what we would not want done to us. More and more Americans are taking responsibility for what was done in our name. Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny...."
Do not hate the soldiers in this video. Pity them. We have all played a part in this. Like the soldiers who have stepped forward to renounce their actions, we can still step forward too. In The Kiterunner (recommended) the narrator is told in a mysterious message from his past, "There is a way to be good again."