Murdered in Afghanistan?

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At Camp Casey in Crawford Texas, of course there are a very many people who have a heartbreaking story to tell. They are the families of the soldiers who have died in a war started because of a lie. Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in only for those who survived them to find out that they’ve been lied to and their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers have died for nothing. And no, I’m not talking just about the Iraq War today. I’m talking about the war we were lied into before Iraq: I’m talking about the invasion of Afghanistan.

If you have finally come to the realization that George W. Bush and his entire administration have lied to you about the reasons for the Iraq War, then it only stands to reason that you are about to break into another realization. And that is — that reality — is that the invasion of Afghanistan was another war built on lies. Without the invasion of Afghanistan, there would have never been an invasion of Iraq. These two events are not separate entities. From the day George W. Bush lied and said that "Terrorists hate our freedoms" and that 9/11 was an "act of war" and not a crime, was the day the big lie started. This big lie includes Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

This is the one taboo subject, it seems, few are willing to speak about. But it is true; the war on the Taliban and the invasion of Afghanistan was yet another crime committed by the Bush administration. It is another war that is draining our youth and national treasury and it is another war that the United States can never win. It is also just one more straw on the camel’s back that is destroying the US armed forces.

At Camp Casey, I met a man named Juan Torres who had a compelling story to tell. It was a story about his son, named Juan Torres Jr., who was officially listed as the 134th US soldier to die in Afghanistan. Juan Torres Jr. was a 25-year-old Specialist in the Army Reserve. He was assigned to the 453rd Transportation Company based out of Houston, Texas. The US Army has reported that Juan Torres Jr. died at Bagram Air Force Base on July 12th, 2004 due to a single gunshot wound to the head. His death was listed as a non-combat related injury. The Army also claimed to have investigated the death of Juan Torres Jr. and reached the conclusion that his death was suicide.

But here is where the story takes a most horrifying and repulsive turn; here is where the story turns into an abomination that will nauseate any American who has ever served — or known someone who has served — in our once proud Armed Forces. Shortly before his death, Juan Torres Jr. had called his father from Bagram Air Force Base. Juan Jr. was overwhelmed with fear. He was distraught because of rampant drug abuse, drug dealing, and trafficking among officers and enlisted men inside of Bagram. He was especially upset that officers, as high up as Captains, were involved with this drug trafficking and their superior officers were doing nothing to put a stop to it.

Juan Torres Sr. does not speak English particularly well. In fact, his English is sometimes difficult to understand. But, being a foreigner in a foreign country, I could feel his pain and I could relate to what he wanted to say and his frustration at his own inability to communicate his thoughts. I videotaped an interview with Juan Torres Sr. Here is a transcript of that interview about his recollections of the final telephone call he had from his son, Juan Torres Jr.:

"My son said, u2018Daddy, there’s a lot of drugs here. The officers are dealing in drugs. I don’t like it. I talked to all my friends and told them u2018Don’t use drugs’ because it’s really terrible here.’ I told my son, to say nothing to anybody. I told him that he only had a little bit more time until he could come back. I begged him to be quiet. But he said he couldn’t. He said, u2018But, Daddy, these are American soldiers, they are not supposed to be doing this. I have to try to stop them.’"

"My son worked everyday from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. But the day before he died some officer changed my son’s working hours. They changed his schedule and told him to go off duty at 6:00 PM and come in at 6:00 AM. The next day, when my son didn’t report for duty in the morning, they reported that he died. The Army claims that he shot himself in the head while taking a shower. That doesn’t make sense. They murdered him inside the shower. When he was taking a shower, and he couldn’t defend himself because he was unarmed, he was shot in the head."

"I want to name the people who did this. One is a sergeant, and one is a captain. I sent lots of letters to congress, lots of letters to the Pentagon, but no one is interested. Nobody helps me; maybe it’s because my son is Hispanic, maybe because I don’t speak English so good. Or maybe no one helps because everyday lots of soldiers die."

"The military claimed that that they closed the investigation of my son’s death on September, 24, 2004 — about two months after my son died. But these people lied. They sent me many letters saying that they investigated but one of my son’s co-workers from his office told me, u2018Mr. Torres, I’m sorry but nobody ever investigated your son’s death because we didn’t have the people to do it — we were so undermanned. Lots of soldiers are dying and I’m so very sorry.’"

"First I got an anonymous phone call from a soldier who knew what had actually happened to my son. I have now spoken with over three-dozen soldiers who told me what really happened. But they are afraid that if they say their names, that something bad will happen to them or their families."

"I don’t know what to do. I’m only waiting for God to give me justice. My son served this country since he was 17 years old. He was first sent to Kosovo. He served this country for eight years and then was murdered by American soldiers who are dealing in drugs and smuggling drugs from Afghanistan because he was getting ready to report them. And the worst part about it is that the US Army refuses to investigate and claims that my son committed suicide. That’s a lie. He was murdered because he was going to report the drug business at Bagram Airbase."

Juan Torres Sr. I feel for you and your family. You think that no one listens to you but I did. And for what it’s worth, I want to help you to get this story out and to do whatever I can to get you justice.

And for you, dear reader, this is just one more story among the many; just one more story about a desertion, a suicide, a death; another disaster for a family. This is the story of just one more death in George W. Bush’s book of dying for a noble cause. This is just one more story about the decline of the United States. It’s a snapshot of what our military has become; it is a mirror of American society today. Thank you George W. Bush. Thank you for keeping America free and for keeping our military great. Could anyone read the above and not wonder how much longer it will be until the US military collapses like a house of rotten toothpicks?

Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has the distinction of being fired from every FM radio station in Tokyo — one of them three times. His first book, Schizophrenic in Japan, is now on sale.

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