Who Exactly Are the ‘Terrorists’?

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In the early morning hours of March 11, a US soldier assigned to “special ops” in Afghanistan, stationed near Kandahar, went into a local village and gunned down 16 people — including nine women and three children. At least three others were wounded. He went from house to house, in the predawn darkness, systematically murdering people while they slept in their beds: he then doused them with a flammable liquid and set them ablaze.

What is it about American troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan? From Abu Ghraib [.pdf] to the Mahmudiyah killings to the Hamdania murder of a crippled old man to the horrors of the Haditha massacre, it’s been one atrocity after another (see here, here, and here).  More recently it was the “rogue” team of killers that murdered Afghan civilians in the Maywand district for sport. Then it was US troops urinating on corpses, followed shortly afterward by the Koran-burning incident, the second such example of American contempt for the people they are supposed to be “liberating.” Now we have this, which — we’re told — is the result of a US soldier having a “breakdown.”

Was it a breakdown, or merely the logical extension of the soldier’s training and inclination, that caused him to go on a murderous rampage?  That hardly a month goes by without some kind of atrocity being committed should tell us something.

What it tells me is that America is a depraved nation, a country where the very worst-of-the-worst flock to join the military, free to kill and maim and rape to their heart’s content.

And Rachel Maddow wants to give these guys a “welcome home” “victory” parade?

Of course she does: even the “liberals” in our country are corrupted by the ugliness that pervades the national consciousness and poisons everything we do. “Honor the troops” is a given on the left as well as the right, because the above-mentioned atrocities are just “isolated incidents,” examples of soldiers who had “breakdowns” and went “rogue.” Their actions have nothing to do with our mission [.pdf], our mentality, or our decadent culture, which glorifies violence and disdains foreigners — especially if they’re Muslims. Oh no: these are all anomalies, there’s nothing to see here so please move along …

I’m not buying it. There is something wrong — very wrong — here: a trend, a significant uptick in the savagery that is part and parcel of every war. During World War II, American atrocities were relatively few and far between, although no less reprehensible. As the American presence abroad grew more substantial, however, and the cold war heated up, such incidents increased in number, and took on a more horrific — and systematic — character.

In Korea, American troops massacred hundreds of Korean civilians at No Gun Ri, and stood aside while their South Korean allies did the same at Kwangju. During the Vietnam war, vast areas under Viet Cong control were deemed a “freefire zone,” and entire villages were wiped out by US troops. The My Lai massacre revealed how American policy had ended in an orgy of brutality, and support for the war plummeted to new lows.

Embarked once again on an international crusade to save the world, our demons are unleashed — and they are more bloodthirsty and sadistic than ever. Why is that?

To begin with, American culture is more violent and sadistic than ever. When it comes to mass entertainment and the level of acceptable violence, there appears to be no limit: how else could a movie like Kill Bill or Natural Born Killers even get made, let alone generate millions in profits? In a healthy society, such films would be marginal: in America, they are hailed as great “art” and go on to become box office hits. Rome had its gladiatorial contests; we have Hollywood to excite our bloodlust.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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