Moral Slaughter

October 29, 2009

End of the week and bad war-related shit.

Beyond the US domestic horror of Joe Lieberman, military exercises in the Middle East are becoming way-more frightening than any paranormal or blair-witch fantasy could envision, creating a deep hole-drain in anything that remains of a moral fiber in the facade of a so-called American Ideal.

The righteous, or “just war,” is a lie perpetrated since day one — no such thing as a good murder, despite all the literary and artistic rhetoric babbled-out by political people and pundits pointing at the dire need to make the planet collateral damage.

In March 2003, at the time of the Iraq invasion, I was an editor/writer at a twice-weekly in Central California and responsible for the lay-out (and content) of several pages, including ones for religious activities, church services, specials and the like — after interviewing some local preachers/lay people on the religious/moral grounds for the war, I came away with the distinct impression that anyone with any sense of ethics would know the Iraqi endeavor was near-pure bad and appeared to signal a significant schism in history.
Of course, not that many people truly and fully understood back then (I didn’t) the true terror of George Jr.’s White House — the near fabrications, the outright ‘Curveball‘ lies, the twisted-torture of the US Constitution — and only some gut instinct told me these assholes were so-full of shit.
However, what I really didn’t comprehend was US-home-grown war criminals on a grand scale spawning two horrifying endless wars in faraway places as part-and-parcel of a long, freakin’-ass long war on terror — a worldwide and timeless conflict created by the US that feeds off itself.

And history is indeed now rampant, one would have to be a total dumb ass not to realize 9/11 and its after-effects of Afghanistan and Iraq made the world a much-more strange and violent place.
Even a pastor within George Jr.’s own supposed Christian denomination, Methodist, told me the Iraqi invasion did not fall under the premise of  the “just war” doctrine  — in fact some Texas Methodists crafted a petition/letter of complaint against George Jr. (“a member of Park Hill United Methodist Church (UMC) in Dallas, Texas”) and his boss, Dick Cheney (“local membership unknown”) for being “undeniably guilty of at least four chargeable offenses…crime, immorality, disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The UMC, and dissemination of doctrine contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The UMC. For these offenses, we the undersigned call for an immediate and public act of repentance by the respondents. If the respondents do not reply with sincere and public repentance for their crimes, we demand that their membership in the United Methodist Church be revoked until such time that they sincerely and publicly repent.”
Hahaha…gotcha! Hell first will freeze way-over.

Meanwhile, back up to speed: Bad wars getting way-badly worse, especially in the nefarious Af-Pak zone of insanity.
Wednesday morning, Taliban gunman staged an explosive pre-dawn raid on a guest house in Kabul, shooting-to-death six UN workers and a couple of Afghan security people — the scene was anti-pretty.
According to the New York Times:

The police said one of the victims, a woman, had been shot in the head, and another burned to death.
A cellphone video taken by a security official and seen by a reporter showed just the head and torso of a third victim, apparently cut in half when one of the attackers detonated his suicide vest.

And to add JP4 to an already-roaring fire, the Times has also reported the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, has been on the payroll of the US CIA the past eight years — since the October 2001 invasion.
Key long-range quote from the brothers Karzai story:

“If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves,” said Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the senior American military intelligence official in Afghanistan.

No shit sherlock!
And says it all for Gen. Stan McNasty (oops, sorry, I always do that) McChrystal’s big, bright idea of a counterinsurgency program — the so-called ‘population-centric strategy’ — to turn the tide of an already-lost operation, to give the US a victory in that endless war on terror.
The good general is all mouth and no brains — even with all the NATO troops (about a 100,000) and the vaporous-like Afghan forces (from 50,000 upwards to 200,000, but mostly not many at all according to some experts) against the suspected 25,000 (tops) Taliban, a 12-to-one ratio in favor of NATO, there is still no sign of any kind of tide turning.
And what’s worse, dumb-simple bombs are beating the shit out of the most-powerful military in all of history — IEDs killed eight US GIs on Tuesday in several incidents in south Afghanistan.
From Wired‘s Danger Room blog on these “dumb-down” devices:

We’ve become accustomed to the idea that a weapon’s potency grows with its sophistication: “Smart” munitions are more effective than dumb ones; supersonic jets can shoot down slower planes.
But Afghanistan and its IEDs are proving the exception to that rule.

Couple dumb with bad terrain and you’ve got the mixing of a hell-hole.
Due to the asinine US military set-up in a rugged, jagged, mountainous Afghanistan, placing outposts way out in country, nearly-non-accessible except by air — by helicopter.
As insurgents plant sometimes up to 100 IEDs a day, and although the military is throwing a lot of money and time to figure how to better detect booby-traps (the Danger Room post above goes into some detail on that aspect), the only way to move troops and supplies is by whirlybird.
A good look at this dangerous situation — three choppers went down on Monday (two collided) killing 14 Americans — can be found at a Popular Mechanics piece from last April, which proclaimed: “Afghanistan is hell on helicopters: Temperature swings can ruin seals and gaskets; towering mountains with low air density sap power from spinning rotor blades and engines; dusty deserts gum up hydraulics; and enemy combatants pepper the machines with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.”
A terrible place to be right now.

And right now, President Obama is deciding what to do with Afghanistan — in reality he’s weighting how much of an troop escalation should be allowed — as McNasty (oops) McChrystal wants at least 40,000 additional US troops, and up to 80,000 to do the job right, but now it seems the tortured nitwit general will end up getting far less fodder for his foolish fancies.
Obama, according to reports, will attempt a less ambitious plan in which 10 population centers and the Helmand River Valley in the south will see an increase in troops, a “compromise” it’s been called instead of trying to beat the Taliban out of the bushes all across the country — supposedly about 16,000 new GIs.
Much to Obama’s extreme-near-future misfortune, the only real course for the US in Afghanistan is withdrawal, a concept the White House has said is not even an option, which in turn creates a self-defeating, no-way-out strategy into a box canyon without exit signs or doorways — expect horror stories from there soon.
(Obama will have to curtail activities like his heartfelt photo op this morning at Dover AFB as the bodies of US peoples killed overseas were returned home — there will be way-too many of them).

One new twist in the ugly Afghan saga is Matthew Hoh, the first publicly-known U.S. official to resign in protest over the Afghan war.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel.
“I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

Much has been made of Hoh’s resignation, which paints not a good picture of the US/Afghan scenario and a lot of commentators, politicians and other sorts have lofted Hoh way up high as a banner for getting the US out of the country.
He was on PBS’ News Hour this evening, saying “I don’t believe al-Qaeda is coming back…” in addressing the fear the terror group would return and set up camp if the US pulled out, and a troop increase would only “fuel the insurgency” — good talk, though nothing really new, for the US getting the shit gone (I didn’t take notes).
One former Afghan legislator called Hoh “A Great American Patriot”.
Glenn Greenwald gets in on the act with a post found here.
Even Garrison Keillor came out of the smooth-voiced woods in honor of Hoh, ending an opinion piece in The New York Times: Time to move on. Tell the others. It’s a brand-new day. Let us start making our way on out of Afghanistan, Mr. President.
What’s been missed is the moral slaughter involved in these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was criminal and immoral from the get-go.

One quote from Hoh in the original Post story has not been much touched upon in which he discussed his time in Iraq and there were no qualms about killing, death and destruction there:

“There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed,” he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
“I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys.”

Nothing immoral and bad about Iraq — a complete criminal enterprise.

No one seems to feel anything about the Iraqi invasion being a war crime, immoral and really, really bad.
I didn’t catch that deeper, much-more scarier vein of verbiage in that last quote of Hoh’s until I read Chris Floyd’s most-excellent post on the subject.
Floyd always looks at stuff at a more truthful, less hampered way (he’s one of my daily reads — or when he posts, which is just about daily) and his take on Hoh begins first with an examination of an interview with Jane Mayer, which appeared in the New Yorker online, and concerned the use of unmanned drones and its effect on Pakistan.
Meyer replies that although about 10 top bad al-Qaeda guys have been killed, a shitload of ordinary folks have been slaughtered to get them.
Floyd counters:

What is astonishing about this is that the interview doesn’t end there, in a roar of outrage from Mayer and her interviewer: “They’ve killed hundreds of civilians!”
Hundreds of Pakistani civilians, men, women and children with no involvement whatsoever in war or terrorism; just ordinary people living their lives as best they can — just like your neighbor, just like your mother, just like you…or just like the people killed on September 11, whose deaths are used as an eternal justification for war and bloodshed on a global scale by the American state.
But these drone-murdered Pakistanis — these human beings, these fathers and mothers, these grandparents, these toddlers, these brothers and sisters — their lives are just statistics to be coldly weighed in the calibrations of imperial policy.
The “bad news” about their deaths is not that they were murdered, not that these utterly defenseless men, women and children were blown to shreds without warning, without the slightest chance of escape, by flying robots controlled by unseen hands a world away; no, the “bad news” is that these that these killing might possibly hamper America’s “counterinsurgency program”…

And Floyd’s take on Hoh:

Hoh doesn’t like the war crime in Afghanistan because it doesn’t seem to be working out too well — not because it’s wrong.
Mayer doesn’t like the CIA Predator program of targeted assassination and massive “collateral damage” because it’s too unregulated, too opaque, and we need to find ways to make it work better — more like the Pentagon program of targeted assassination and massive “collateral damage.”

Floyd pulls insight from another most-excellent writer, Arthur Silber, who blogs at Once Upon a Time… and although he can really become involved in his subject matter, he also cuts to the bone of reality.
In his post regarding Hoh and the US, Silber nails the bottom line:

The critical facts are few in number, and remarkably easy to understand: Iraq never threatened the U.S. in any serious manner.
Our leaders knew Iraq did not threaten us.
Despite what should have been the only fact that mattered, the U.S. invaded and occupied, and still occupies, a nation that never threatened us and had never attacked us.
Under the applicable principles of international law and the Nuremberg Principles, the U.S. thus committed a monstrous, unforgivable series of war crimes.
Those who support and continue the occupation of Iraq are war criminals — not because I say so, but because the same principles that the U.S. applies to every other nation, but never to the U.S. itself, necessitate that judgment and no other.
While it may be true that some “dudes” threatened Hoh’s life and the lives of those with whom he served, Hoh could never have been threatened in that manner but for the fact that he was in Iraq as part of a criminal war of aggression.
In other words, he had no right to be in Iraq in the first place.
And if he had not been, he would never have been in a position to “whack[] a bunch of guys.”

Highly recommend both Floyd and Silber — both more intelligently-eloquent than I.

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