War Is Murder
Recently by Karen Kwiatkowski: The Wolf You Feed
Well, it sure is murder for our boys in desert cammy. Five of our finest are now charged with running an unauthorized hit team, targeting random Afghan civilians for a little stress-relieving target practice. What's the problem here? The CIA has been doing this for years with its own militarized groups. The DoD is doing this with its own special forces. Xe and other contractors do this with the holy blessing of both DoD and CIA. The President and the Congress have authorized this kind of thing, separately and together. Obama even asserted that he is comfortable and righteous in his role as decider-in-chief on which American citizens may live or die.
I just don't get the outrage. There should be none, given the public adoration of Petraeus and anyone else "serving his or her country" in uniform. These military enlistees, from great states like Montana, Alaska, Idaho and Florida, are doing not only the job they have been trained to do, but they are conducting themselves in the same spirit as their commanders.
A spirit of brutality, righteous judgment, self-pity because we want so much to "do good" to the ungrateful, a spirit of hate, and a spirit of self-indulgence. That's American foreign policy in a nutshell, and it's not new.
United States foreign policy is brutal. Just ask (if you can find any) native Americans who trace ancestry back to the geography of the Appalachians or the Great Plains. The great mass murderers on both sides of the War between the States in the 1860s had practiced their craft on Native Americans for years, and Mexicans too, for good measure. During and after Reconstruction, these senior officers and their lieutenants continued their era of extermination of those we held in contempt, those who lived on land we wanted, and those who would not conform to our religious, economic and social world order.
Skip Hawaii, our reconstruction of the former Spanish Empire, and the bloody mysteries of American-prosecuted war that has continued unabated since the formation of the Washington printing press, that wonderful liberator of the state and its wickedly brilliant elites, the Federal Reserve. There's way too much blood in this racket for polite people to see. We don't want to know.
But today, we speak of murder. Coldblooded, just for fun, gangland-style, trophy-hunting, punch drunk, hilarious murder.
And predictably — the Army cannot explain how the lack of a strategic or even clearly tactical mission in Afghanistan and Iraq has created a stagnant spreading cesspool where soldiering ethics are slowly churned and degraded until our own people don't know up from down. The Army brass promotes Afghan "democracy" and "voting" and bemoans the fact that this bit of bad news (along with untold murder of Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Yemenis as ordered) somehow detracts from Washington's Overall Successful Occupation.
The Army says only that these soldiers were a few bad apples. Rogue, but not like Sarah Palin rogue, not like the character Rogue in the X-Men movies, not like the popular Nissan Rogue, but you know, bad rogues. The ones who get caught and hung out to dry.
In the grand scheme of things, these rogue murders have a silver lining. Not for the unlucky sons of bitches who served as target practice, of course. And the reporting of these atrocities by the mainstream media is not likely to improve. Old media can't see past its dinner at the state table. Alarm, shock, and muted outrage will be dutifully followed by the bad-appleness of it all and a comfortable burial under the twin pillars of "we can't do anything about it" and "it was for national security."
Indeed, can anyone swear — given six degrees of separation — that these recent Afghan victims (and those of the authorized murders conducted by CIA, DoD and contracted teams) were not in some way related to terrorism against the United States? I myself heartily disapprove of the criminally insane US foreign policy, and I hate our modern government, with its unlimited separated powers of bankster, shyster, and huckster. I would applaud loudly the bringing down of such a state. I count myself as a spiritual sister to those the US government has murdered, and I am angry at my powerlessness. I have the budding heart of a terrorist. Thank goodness, I'm part of a much larger group of Americans, young and old, who generally feel the same way. When we become a force to be reckoned with, the state will negotiate, or concede.
Until that time, the state recognizes as enemy, and as potential terrorist, any person, any idea, and any emotion that challenges its legitimacy. The state has no ability to be benevolent, because it deals with minimizing risk. In the end, a potential terrorist is as good a target as a trained and practiced one. Families, sharing beliefs, bonds and emotions, are little different than a trained terrorist cell, in the eyes of an empowered state bureaucracy. Thus, when the state throws down the "terrorist threat" strawman, and tells us that the soldier/murderers of the moment felt threatened and terrorized (even by so simple an act as an unarmed Afghan man walking alone along a street in his own neighborhood) most of the American public can only stare and mumble.
Afghans, and Iraqis too, are learning a lesson — perhaps a refresher of one learned in previous eras of conquest by massive, seemingly invincible, alien kingdoms. That lesson, if I may be so bold, includes the evolution of resistance and the fine-tuning of rage and hatred into better means of opposition, enhanced methods of sabotage, improved ability to maneuver, to kill, to weaken and to terrorize the occupier.
This news-blip regarding murder and the collection of Afghan body parts leaves most Americans who see it with mild concern about our offensive policy around the world, and perhaps a vague sense of anxiety about what we will face as these soldiers come home to live in our neighborhood, to serve as our police forces and city inspectors, to marry our daughters and father our grandchildren.
We will forget. This happened far away, and we have other problems, both local and national. The Afghans, on the other hand, will not. They are way ahead of us in terms of suffering at the hands of the Washington ruling elite. They are way ahead of us in terms of figuring out how to survive and deal with a brutal military and political occupation for the sake not of democracy or women's rights or "the children" but for the sustainment of the US military industrial complex, and expansion and stability of the US-centered commodities/currency dynamic, and as leverage for coming national defaults.
We are murdering and warring for a Middle East that is safe for the complementary goals of Israel's economic expansion into and US military domination of the region. The Daily Bell explains: "[Afghanistan is] a regional war that pits Pakistan against India as well as the Taliban against the current Afghan central government. The reality is clearly that the West wishes to extend and cement its control over the Middle East via military power. Even the upcoming war with Iran, if it comes to that, may be seen as an extension of this unstated but obvious policy."
The silver lining is that while this policy is unstated, it is becoming increasingly obvious — to the parties involved and to the rest of the world. An indebted, morally exhausted, and globally disrespected 21st century United States needs friends more than ever, to get through our current national predicament in one piece. The silver lining — due to the fluttering of the murderous wings half a world away — is that our own American evolution towards small, independent, self-governing, and peaceful republics is hastened.
September 21, 2010
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page.
Copyright © 2010 Karen Kwiatkowski