The Abominations of War: From My Lai to Haditha

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This is the most difficult article that I have ever had to write,
but I have to write it anyway, unfortunately.

I, and just about anyone and everyone who criticizes George Bush
and this war are accused of “not supporting the troops.” Since my
son, Casey, was killed in Iraq because of lies and to actually make
that country safe for our corporate interests, I have been saying
the only way we can support our troops at this point is to get them
the hell out of this illegal and immoral war.

The massacre in Haditha on November, 19, 2005, is just another
way to underscore the fact that our troops are being turned into
war criminals in what one article called: “The Worst War Crime of
the Iraq War.” (Sydney Morning Herald; May 28, 2006) In a
stunning display of shameless hypocrisy George Bush said of the
(not uncommon) butchering of innocent civilians in Haditha:

“Our troops have been trained on core values throughout their
training, but obviously there was an incident that took place
in Iraq.”

Bush also said this following a meeting of his cabinet: the world
will see a “full and complete” investigation.

Another false piece of propaganda that we are fed is that we need
to support the president, especially when we are “at war.” I say,
“No, way!” Our kids know the difference between right and wrong
before they are sucked into a military system that dehumanizes our
soldiers and forces them to dehumanize the “enemy” to the point
where it is apparently acceptable behavior to kill children and
to cover up the murders. Can we all assume that little Georgie was
never told that cold-blooded murder is wrong seeing that his family
has supported wars and their inherent crimes for at least three

The double standard that our leaders have set for themselves and
the troops is amoral and corrupt. I have not seen anywhere in the
discussion of this topic that, not only is Haditha not the
worse war crime committed by American or coalition troops, but the
entire war is a war crime. The Pentagon needs to be dismantled,
cleansed with holy water and purified by incense and left to lie
fallow for generations in atonement for all of the crimes that have
been planned and committed within its walls.

The following list of illegal, immoral, and atrocious behavior
is obvious and not all-inclusive by any means:

  • 12 years of devastating sanctions that were responsible for
    killing over 500,000 Iraqi children.
  • Destroying antiquities and culture is a war crime and prohibited
    under Geneva Conventions.
  • The invasion of Iraq is a preventive war of aggression against
    a country that was no threat to the USA or the world and was expressly
    prohibited by the Geneva
  • The invasion was
    not sanctioned or approved of by the United Nations
  • Shock
    and awe
    ” targeted civilian centers and killed many innocent
  • Abu
  • Guantanamo.
  • Extreme
  • Use of chemical weapons, especially white
    enhanced with napalm, particularly in the second
    siege of Fallujah.
  • Targeting
    hospitals, clinics, and threatening Medical Doctors
    with execution
    if one treats “insurgents” (which can apparently include babies
    and pregnant women).
  • Using highly compensated
    to carry out executions and torture.
  • Forcing a style of government on the citizens and manipulating
    the outcome of the elections.
  • Dishonoring the Constitution of the United States by invading
    Iraq without a declaration of war by Congress and by breaking
    our treaties with the United Nations and the ratified Geneva Conventions.

George Bush is correct. A “full and complete” investigation needs
to be made into the crimes against humanity in Iraq, and if justice
prevails, this would in turn lead to the trial and conviction of
George and the rest of the neocon purveyors of torture and murder,
for which the maximum penalties should be applied.

The level of accountability needs to rise higher than Specialist
or Private and should reach up down the very blackest bowels of
an administration that lied through its teeth to get our country
into a war of aggression and occupation. The commander in chief
needs to be prosecuted: NOW!

The most difficult part of this writing is in trying to reconcile
the fact that our soldiers, for one example, in Haditha, could not
show conscience and restraint, qualities which may have prevented
a murderous rampage. When one sees the pictures of bodies burned
beyond human recognition; hears of 2-year-old children being killed
out of revenge; women being shot for failing to stop at a checkpoint
that is in the middle of THEIR country; prisoners being tortured
in despicably inhumane ways; ad immoral infinitum: one should be
appalled and ashamed to call oneself an American. That some of our
soldiers would stoop to the level of their leaders to commit such
atrocities is unspeakable. Bush says our troops have been trained
in “core values” when he as a so-called born again Christian can
claim that God told him to invade Iraq and it’s okay to spy on American
citizens like he is some kind of sick voyeur with a penchant for
death and destruction.

War, under any circumstance, is not a “core value” of humanity;
in fact, it is the ultimate failure of humanity. War turns our mostly
normal American youth into wanton murderers who have lost their
own humanity and love of others. Haditha in this war and My Lai
in another disgusting war were unfortunately not aberrations. War
is the abominable aberration.

the Uniform Code of Military Justice
, our troops are forbidden
from obeying unlawful orders and Iraq was unlawful before it ever
began. Our soldiers need to start disobeying the unlawful order
to even be deployed to Iraq and not raise their weapons in appeasement
to the Bush Regime and say: “This war is the criminal, I am not.
Threaten me if you will, but I am not going to be an accomplice
in your crimes against humanity.”

We as people working for peace have long held that the people of
Iraq did not deserve the treatment that they are getting from BushCo,
but it is our troops who are pulling the triggers and pushing the
buttons or flushing the Koran or sexually abusing prisoners, and
we know about it, so that makes us accessories to the crimes, unless
we are actively trying to end the severe breach of compassion and
mercy that is being carried out in the Middle East.

Yes, we have to work to end the war and to hold everyone who commits
atrocities accountable, from private to president, but we also have
to support our soldiers that do not want to kill. It is a tragic
dichotomy in this society that one can be executed for killing someone,
but also be executed or imprisoned for disobeying an order to go
and take the life of another human being in war.

There are several ways that our young men and women can be supported
in resisting the evil of BushCo and Iraq. The
GI Rights Hotline
is there to help soldiers get out of going
to an illegal and immoral war and the War
Resister’s League in Canada
needs support to help our soldiers
find sanctuary and safety. Counter-recruitment
is also a powerful tool to use to prevent our children from being
sucked into the evil war machine and being used as cannon fodder/weapons
of mass destruction for profit.

Where can the people of Iraq go to find sanctuary and safety?
They have no place to run to and they have no voice to end this
war of terror that is being waged on them by the USA.

It is up to us to be the voice of the babies of Iraq and of the
other people whose only crime was to be born in the wrong place
at the wrong time with the additional bad luck of living on top
of rich oil reserves.

Support the troops? I support only those who are NOT supporting
the exploitation of the Iraqi people, and those who do not allow
the war profiteers to carry on with their death and destruction
all for the sake of an opulent lifestyle. I do not support those
who are supporting a criminally insane and treacherous foreign policy.
However I, as the mother of a slain soldier, will do anything I
can to support all of them by working to shorten their stay in an
unwelcoming country, and bring them home from the quagmire that
their so-called commander in chief forced them into.

Also, when our troops do come home from the war, they need all
of the counseling, job training and help they require to transition
back to a life where most people don’t even recognize that there
is a war being waged.

BushCo and the war machine killed my baby. They have killed tens
of thousands more.

BushCo need to be prosecuted and punished like the common criminals
that they are.

We owe this to the people of Iraq, the world, and our own soldiers.

We owe it to ourselves.

5, 2006

Sheehan is the mother of Spc.
Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04
She is co-founder of Gold
Star Families for Peace
. She is the author of Not
One More Mother’s Child
and Dear
President Bush

Sheehan Archives

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