Where Are This War's Heroes, Military and Journalistic?

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When Charlie
Company’s Lt. William Calley ordered and encouraged his men
to rape, maim and slaughter over 400 women and children and old
people in My Lai in Vietnam back in 1968, there were at least four
heroes who tried to stop him or bring him and higher officers to
justice. One was helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson Jr., who evacuated
some of the wounded victims, and who set his chopper down between
a group of Vietnamese and Calley’s men, ordering his door gunner
to open fire on the US soldiers if they shot any more people. One
was Ron Ridenhour, a soldier who learned of the massacre, and began
a private investigation, ultimately reporting the crime to the Pentagon
and Congress. One was Michael Bernhardt, a soldier in Charlie Company
who witnessed the whole thing, and reported it all to Ridenhour
(also confiding that if Ridenhour didn’t succeed in getting prosecutions
going he had a hit list of all the officers involved and planned
to execute them himself!). And one was journalist Seymour Hersh,
who broke the story in the US media.

Today’s
war in Afghanistan also has its My Lai massacres. It has them almost
weekly, as US warplanes bomb wedding parties, or homes “suspected”
of housing terrorists that turn out to house nothing but civilians.
But these My Lais are all conveniently labeled accidents. They get
filed away and forgotten as the inevitable “collateral damage”
of war. There was, however, a massacre recently that was not a "mistake"
– a massacre which, while it only involved fewer than a dozen
innocent people, bears the same stench as My Lai. It was the execution-style
slaying of eight handcuffed students, aged 11–18, and a 12-year-old
neighboring shepherd boy who had been visiting the others, in Kunar
Province, on Dec. 26.

Sadly, no principled
soldier with a conscience like pilot Hugh Thompson tried to save
these children. No observer had the guts of a Michael Brernhardt
to report what he had seen. No Ron Ridenhour among the other serving
US troops in Afghanistan has investigated this atrocity or reported
it to Congress. And no American reporter has investigated this war
crime the way Seymour Hersh investigated My Lai.

There is a
Seymour Hersh for the Kunar massacre, but he’s a Brit. While
American reporters like the anonymous journalistic drones who wrote
CNN’s December 29 report on the incident took the Pentagon’s
initial cover story – that the dead were part of a secret bomb-squad
– at face value, Jerome Starkey, a dogged reporter in Afghanistan
working for the Times of London and the Scotsman,
talked to other sources – the dead boys’ headmaster, other
townspeople, and Afghan government officials – and found out
the real truth about a gruesome war crime – the execution of
handcuffed children. And while a few news outlets in the US like
the New York Times did mention that there were some claims
that the dead were children, not bomb-makers, none, including CNN,
which had bought and run the Pentagon’s lies unquestioningly,
bothered to print the news update when, on Feb. 24, the US military
admitted that in fact the dead were innocent students. Nor has any
US corporate news organization mentioned that the dead had been
handcuffed when they were shot.

Starkey reported
the US government’s damning admission. Yet still the US media
remain silent as the grave.

Read
the rest of the article

March
5, 2010

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