Monday, March 28, 2011

Spreading democracy by atrocity

Rolling Stone, iconic magazine of pop culture, presents a shocking Special Report, The Kill Team.
". . . While the officers of 3rd Platoon peeled off to talk to a village elder inside a compound, two soldiers walked away from the unit until they reached the far edge of the village. There, in a nearby poppy field, they began looking for someone to kill. . .

". . . The two soldiers, Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and Pfc. Andrew Holmes, saw a young farmer who was working by himself among the spiky shoots. Off in the distance, a few other soldiers stood sentry. But the farmer was the only Afghan in sight. With no one around to witness, the timing was right. And just like that, they picked him for execution.

"He was a smooth-faced kid, about 15 years old. . .

". . . the soldiers began taking photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. Holding a cigarette rakishly in one hand, Holmes posed for the camera with [Gul] Mudin's bloody and half-naked corpse, grabbing the boy's head by the hair as if it were a trophy deer. Morlock made sure to get a similar memento.

"No one seemed more pleased by the kill than Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the platoon's popular and hard-charging squad leader. "It was like another day at the office for him," one soldier recalls. Gibbs started "messing around with the kid," moving his arms and mouth and "acting like the kid was talking." Then, using a pair of razor-sharp medic's shears, he reportedly sliced off the dead boy's pinky finger and gave it to Holmes, as a trophy for killing his first Afghan. . . "
Famed correspondent Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker:
". . . killing itself, whether in a firefight with the Taliban or in sport with innocent bystanders in a strange land with a strange language and strange customs, has become ordinary… This is part of the toll wars take on the young people we send to fight them for us."

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2 comments:

  1. I don't know Norm if I can accurately explain my feelings of what I have seen here. The most humble attempt would be that any good they may think they have done is totally obliterated by the actions of these men. They took the life from this boy and mocked him in death, there is no greater savageness than that! Very disturbing.
    Is there any man amongst us that can justify such a thing without selling his soul? I don't think so.
    Don

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  2. I agree but this event in Afghanistan, unfortunately, is not a single tragedy of a single campaign or unique to this war. I wonder if the killing of an innocent directly by the hands of a soldier is any greater a crime than killing civilians with unmanned drones?

    The USA does not compile statistics about civilians killed by its unmanned drone aircraft. This was disclosed in response to a FOI lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union demanding that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas.

    McClatchey News says,
    The prosecution of war crimes at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan promises to become one of the Army’s most honorable episodes – if it focuses as much attention on commanders as it has on enlisted soldiers.

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/03/28/111160/commentary-exemplary-army-justice.html

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