Tag Archives: Haditha

Six Days in Fallujah if you missed the fun

Screenshot of Six Days in Fallujah first person shooter by AtomicAs virtual-gaming distributer Konami reconsiders its release of SIX DAYS IN FALLUJAH, gaming pundits ask “Is it too early to role-play the Second Battle of Fallujah?” To non-US-vets it’s known simply as “Fallujah,” as one would denote Lidice or Srebrenica, by name alone. I don’t know, when will it be appropriate to satiate the nostalgic veteran gamer’s appetite to reenact war crime?

The obvious sarcastic question would be to ponder if White Phosphorous is among the player’s arsenal. Likewise, in “free fire zones” where US rules of engagement permitted the shooting of anything that moved, do you accumulate points for killing the civilians or running them over with your tank?

It would be interesting to see how Atomic Games, neighbor of Blackwater, reenacts the raid on the Fallujah hospital, or the strafing of refuges trying to cross the river when US forces had blocked the infamous Blue Bridge. Are key episodes actionable, or do you sit by as the game cycles through the script, where women and very young children were let to pass to safety, but men and boys were forced to back to the city to be dispatched automatically as combatants.

Is there a game version of My Lai? Perhaps the entire manslaughter safari of the Tiger Force Unit in Vietnam. My guess is there would be plenty of takers. How about the Russian destruction of Chechnya, or the assault on the Warsaw Ghetto? Why not?

Until it becomes okay to blend hypothetical roleplay with real human tragedy, gamers will have to be satisfied with fictional scenarios like Grand Theft Auto and Chainsaw Massacre. I wonder if Amazon already has preorders for customers salivating at the first chance to replay the Manson LaBianca-Tate escapades, Ted Bundy’s cross-country trek, or if they’re jonesing over Iraq, the Haditha tea party and barbecue.

Support the Troops executing civilians

German regulars execute 36 Serb civilians in Pancevo, Vojvodina in retaliation for the deaths of two SS men
Early in WWII, a German Army film staff recorded this deed in color: enraged by the loss of two officers on April 21, 1941, the invading German soldiers gathered 36 random males from the town of Pancevo, Vojvodina and hung or shot them. How different was this from what US soldiers did on November 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq? In Haditha American Marines killed the women and children too. The Pancevo events in 1941 were kept from the German public lest their support for their troops waiver.

Offending the troops

War crimes in IraqOffending the soldiers: I get into this trouble every time. IF YOU ARE A SOLDIER AND YOU ARE NOT UNEDUCATED OR NOT A MURDERER, and you know it, then neither criticism would apply to you. If you are caught up in our government’s very nasty actions and you are doing all you can not to participate, you know war critics are not addressing you. Does that make sense?

On the other hand, if you feel you’ve no recourse but to do what you’re told, kill babies, mother-raping, father-killing, and those mean nasty terrible things, you’ve got to know this: they couldn’t do it without you.

To be clear, our American wars of aggression (Iraq and Afghanistan included), our illegal occupations, our extra-judicial air strikes, our maltreatment of people, our abandonment of civilized behavior, our use of torture, etc, are WAR CRIMES. They are the uppermost of criminal acts, they are CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. To suggest this is a matter of opinion would be like trying to insinuate that murder is not. Just because you’ve been mislead by the war-monger bandwagon does not excuse what you and it are doing. Wake up and smell the corpses.

If it offends you to be called a murderer even though you work only behind the scenes, or even though you think you’re fighting on the side of good, or even though your definition of “good” is a dead Iraqi, it’s time to stand up and accept the condemnation you have earned. You’re a dumbass dumbfuck dupe doing the bidding of immoral mass-murdering businessmen. You bring dishonor unto everything we used to think made us Americans. You discredit the bright ambitious minds that created our democracy. You tarnish the legacy of those veterans who fought for equality and justice and prosperity. Do you think a failing grade in civics or ethics or religion calls for an attaboy? You deserve consolation without doubt, because your thinking-inability is certainly not your fault, but not an endorsement to put your failed education to work killing and marauding at whim. Put down your gun you big ol’ galloot and figure out an honorable way to earn a living.

If your mutiny would mean that your even-worse behaving comrades-in-murder feel they need to shoot you for breaking rank, well that’s what you and they have coming, isn’t it? Unless YOU can convince them otherwise. Quit looking to antiwar people to fight your battles. We don’t need to go to Iraq or wear your boots to know what you’re doing is immoral. Lucky for you, most of us are forgiving and compassionate. I see the murder of one million Iraqis and think a dressing down is the least you deserve.

Condemning our soldiers

We’ve sentenced our soldiers to death, why not condemn them too?

At the supermarket this evening I ran across an unusual number of Fort Carson soldiers doing their shopping in their OIF camo and buzzed heads. I deliberated with making eye contact, but they seemed like condemned men in what we know now to be death-row uniforms, being led by their girlfriends or mothers through the aisles to buy their last meals.

I wanted to look at those young men with condemnation. Poor lads, but pawns for a murderous agenda. Please don’t kill anyone I wanted to say.

At the checkout I looked from the side into the pale blue eyes of a shaved-bald, sunburned junior-security-guard-in-training, and pitied the Iraqis for whom our uneducated underclass are making on-the-spot decisions about life and death. These are boys you do not imagine should be entrusted with an ounce of authority, much less guns. (In fact, critical operations such as protection of our politicians or of the Ministry of Oil are not entrusted to these boys, but rather to professional private contractor mercenaries.)

Hang the soldiers’ commanders of course, but brand these poor soldiers too for what they are. Brand them lest others, their children for example, follow their apparently patriotic path. Shit happens, that’s the soldier’s apology for killing the undeserving Iraqi, let it be the mantra over the soldier’s condemnation as well. Your leaders were bad men, but you followed them. Let no one imagine that your complicity was laudable, even acceptable. Shit happens Bro, now you IT.

I’d just been thinking about the necessity of confronting war-doers head-on instead of letting the opportunity pass for the sake of civility. Political aids to President Bush, for example, retiring at age 36 to spend their loot on their children, averting being confronted with their critics. We need to punish these people. A newscaster who characterizes the Haditha episode by saying “the marines were attacked by an IED” should meet the fate of a propagandist.

Let no war-supporter go un-criticized, and why not start now? Perhaps it will prompt some to think about why they are being condemned with such ferocity? Perhaps our scolding can lay the groundwork to effect eventual introspection and reform. How could anyone begin to think they might actually be guilty of war crimes if their accusers are always so civil? Certainly such accusations must be merely academic, otherwise would they not come with a noose? By waiting politely our turn to intone, by not calling urgently for each miscreant’s apprehension, are we not misleading the soldiers about the reprehensibility of their role?

We can talk about forgiveness later. Right now we have to stop the unthinking manslaughterers.

These colors do run

Save our soldiers from prosecutionWell looky here…These colors do run… straight to their mommies when they unload their weapons into civilians and for once get caught.
 
The website is called save the soldiers, sign their petition if you’re inclined. They want people who “support our troops no matter where they are or what their mission is…”

Their poster depicts GI Sebastian being pierced with arrows from the Left, from Murtha, and from the Mainstream [sic] Media. And look at the bull’s eye: “Haditha Propaganda.”

But looky in the news: more evidence of the atrocities committed in Haditha, even worse than had yet been reported, revealed by photos found traded among the soldiers themselves. Of women executed while cowering for mercy. Some of the pictures even set to music on somebody’s Playstation.

All along the soldiers were telling a different tale, crying that they were being falsely accused. The Iraqis meanwhile tried to get their story out, including the testimony of a young girl who survived by playing dead among her dying brothers and sisters. In Haditha twenty four civilians were shot at point-blank in retaliation for a nearby IED.

We’ve learned from returning soldiers that standard US practice after and IED detonation is to shoot every Iraqi within sight. In Haditha there were not enough to kill in the street so the Marines went house to house to execute local families.

We may hope these Marines were just bad apples. But as much as the military is defending these bad apples, it makes me think bad apples are the norm. And as we’ve learned from other episodes, bad-apple-hood is systemic and sanctioned by Rumsfeld himself.

Take a look at the pictures from the Marine training at Parris Island. There’s a mural depicting our enemies against which the soldiers discard their empty beer bottles. The Marine apple basket is likely rotten to the corps. Who’s gonna tell the mommies?

El Paso Co. to respect the Sanctity of Life

County resolved to uphold the sanctity of life in Haditha
We got a heads-up from our friends at Newspeak about an impending anti-abortion proclamation by the El Paso County Board of Commissioners. I accidentally read the 2nd page first. If you strike out half the WHEREASes, the resolution is about all human life. And their concluding paragraph dots the i. Those crazy pro-war Republicans are finally speaking out against Bush’s atrocities. It’s about time. We can be proud that El Paso County proclaims an end to war.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the undersigned members of the Board of County Commissioners of El Paso County, Colorado hereby proclaim January 21-28, 2007, as Sanctity of Human Life Week in El Paso County. As we reflect upon the sanctity of human life, we call upon our residents to recognize this week with appropriate ceremonies in our homes and places of worship, to rededicate ourselves to compassionate service, and to reaffirm our commitment to respecting the life and dignity of every human being.
DONE THIS 11th day of January 2007 at Colorado Springs, Colorado

THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO

Dennis Hisey, Chair
Jim Bensberg, Vice Chair
Wayne W. Williams, Member
Sallie Clark, Member

Time Magazine banality of puff

Dead presidentBagNewsNotes drew my attention to the cover of a recent Time Magazine, a posterized image of Iranian President Mahmmud Ahmadinejad. The photo was manipulated reminiscent of OJ’s mug being darkened for sinister effect.
 
Readers commented on Ahmadinejad being made a cartoon, or a throwback to student movement political posters. I’d put it back further. I think the photo editors at Time are after a tin-type look, suggesting the Islamic Revolution is profoundly backward, belonging to the century before last perhaps.

The composition of the picture, particularly the woodgrainish, oddly insufficient backdrop behind Ahmadinejad’s head, reminds me of the post-mortem photographs of dead outlaws in the American West. Pictures of the outlaws brought to justice, laid out semi-vertically against their wood-box coffins, were circulated in the old west to publicize their successful apprehension. This provided proof for everyone to see with their own eyes that a feared outlaw was dead.

Add to Ahmadinejad’s resemblance the dark hair and beard and I think this Time cover emulates a photograph made iconic in Latin America at least, spread around by our government as a warning to others: the Dead Che Guevara.

How do you suppose the Time editors excuse themselves for their art direction whim? Do they think readers will accept it as fair that one personage be accorded an intimate portrait on the cover of Time, and yet another receives a editorialized visage?

The editors at Time can’t expect their readers to remain naive for much longer. I’m encouraged by the trend in children’s TV cartoons to mock the manipulation toolbag of media artists. The cliche of Bambi Eyes for example is mocked from Spongebob to Jimmy Neutron. They make obvious the deliberate use of caricatured expressions when they are being manipulative. Our children’s media literacy will be greatly enhanced and Time’s techniques will have to become more sophisticated.

Haditha
I had a chance to peruse a copy of this issue at the dentist’s. Further inside is a profile of one of the marines, The Face of Haditha, on trial for a possible war crime in Haditha. Shooting 24 Iraqi civilians, some of them at point blank range. Sargeant Frank Wuterich speaks out, the headline reads, “for the very first time.” The layout features a large picture of Wuterich on the left and a brief bio and interview on the right. Let me cut to the meat of the article, Wuterich is not permitted by his lawyer to say anything about what happened at Haditha except that he believes with incredulity that the actions of he and his comrades were within their legal rules of engagement. Wuterich also ponders innocently why he has not been asked more by the military investigators about what happened at Haditha. Thus, Time Inc has slipped us two items: the suggestion of innocence, and the suggestion that the prosecutors are not after the truth.

Take a look at the photograph. Sargeant Frank Wuterich stands with his arms crossed in frank honesty. He’s got big brown eyes and he’s addressing us squarely, looking like our paperboy come to collect our subscription. He’s young, attractive as American Pie, with big doe eyes. He’s got a partially concealed tattoo on his forearm and in the article we read he has several. One tattoo he was reluctant to show the photographer, we’re told, is of a dagger skewering severed fingers and eyeballs, his wife “doesn’t like that one so much.”

Bloggers
On the issue’s back page is a whimsical article by book reviewer Lev Grossman defending himself against blogger Edward Champion who has been picking on him. Grossman’s piece is an honest rebuttal to a difference of opinion, but he ends it with the usual dismissal columnists use to trump their blogger counterparts, “at least I’m getting paid to write this.”

Paid by whom Mr. Grossman? By a media conglomerate which is distorting the news to an audience of readers less culturally savvy than a common child? Good for you.

Ignoranuses

What are you if you do not know the bad you are doing, or justify it because the best you can do right now is follow orders? Are you guilty of bank robbery if you only drove the getaway car?
 
Did you murder the children in Haditha if you merely delivered the mail to the person who serves the food to the person who shuffled the paperwork for the person who maintained the landing gear of the plane which flew the Bradley Armored Vehicle which carried the soldiers to Haditha to execute the women, children and fathers in the head at point blank range?

Aren’t you a little bit ignorant to believe that you played not an insignificant part in enabling that tragic crime among countless others? Aren’t you somewhat quite the asshole for rationalizing an excuse for yourself?

Go to the brig and serve your time sooner than facilitate more crime against humanity. You are not powerless, you can say no. It will require tremendous self-sacrifice, but the hardships will pale in comparison to the dishonor with which you are already going to live.

No Gun Ri

The killing of Korean women and children by Piccaso
A letter has come to light, written by the American ambassador to Korea in 1950, which details the American intention to shoot Korean refugees should they approach American troops. This letter not only led to the next day’s massacre of hundreds of civilian at No Gun Ri, but documents what can now be understood as a systemic policy of shooting civilians. The US Army shrugged off such accusations at the time. This letter was declassified thirty years later, and was overlooked in the department review fifty years later.

Shall we extrapolate about the US military’s actions these days?

Most recently we’re learning about the US massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha: family members being executed at point-blank range by a handful of enraged marines. First there was a coverup, then a denial. Now the atrocity is being described as isolated. The press is even playing along -backhandedly- by asking if Haditha will become Iraq’s My Lai.

Such a comparison would be correct if we remember that My Lai was actually one among many US atrocities in South East Asia. Such massacres of civilians were policy in Vietnam. The Wintersoldiers tried to tell us about it then, we now know about Tiger Troop and their death squad missions.

American Iraq War veterans are already telling us about the common military response to IEDs: shoot at everyone and everything in the vicinity. Unembedded reporters have been recording since the invasion began about American soldiers breaking into houses and shooting the men, women and children inside. As was done in Haditha.