Sorrows of Empire: 16 Afghans Killed in Rampage
At what point does it stop becoming war and begin to be called murder? Wars are generally fought to mete out some kind of takeover, defense, or political disagreement, but what exactly is Afghanistan? Much blood is spilt building a nation, but do the powers to be expect us to spill it for them?
Recent events according to the New York Times:
“Residents of three villages in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province described a terrifying string of attacks in which the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. The man gathered 11 bodies, including those of 4 girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.”
This merely adds an exclamation point to last month’s scathing report. Lt. Col Daniel Davis broke ranks and exposed the “truth and lies about Afghanistan.” After months of interviewing virtually the entire chain of command from young soldiers to top brass he claimed to have “witnessed the absence of success virtually on every level.” This after America’s longest running war and over $500 billion has purchased a fair share of failure, scandal and heartbreak. Here are some brief excerpts from the last decade:
- Jul. 1, 2002 – US bomb hits wedding party killing 20
- Jul. 11, 2008 – US ‘killed 47 Afghan civilians’
- Dec. 31, 2009 – Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children
- Jul. 8, 2009 – US Marines protect Afghan heroin fields
- Jan. 5, 2010 – CIA loses 7 in Afghan triple agent double cross bombing
- Feb. 15, 2010 – NATO kills 12 civilians
- Feb. 22, 2010 – NATO airstrike kills 27 civilians
- Mar. 11, 2011 – Cousin of Afghan president is killed in NATO raid
- Apr. 16, 2011 – Afghan soldier strikes inside military base; 8 NATO troops die in attacks
- Jul. 12, 2011 – Half brother of Afghan president dies a gangster’s death
- Aug 26, 2011 – 31 US troops mostly Navy SEALs killed in helicopter crash
- Sep. 23, 2011 – US ‘Death Squad’ murdered and mutilated innocents Afghan civilians and kept body parts as trophies
- Nov. 26, 2011 – NATO’s kills 25 Pakistani troops in cross border skirmish
- Jan. 11, 2012 – US troops recorded urinating on corpses
- Feb. 21, 2012 – NATO revealed to be burning Korans spark mass protest
All of the aforementioned incidences, to which I may have added a hundred more articles, are all classified by the U.S. government and other western nations as “rogue”, “unrelated”, “isolated” or mere missteps.
The late Chalmers Johnson detailed in Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic how it is the very nature of sustained occupation to devolve into similar circumstance. How many wedding parties need to be strafed before our policy of long-term occupation is questioned at the highest levels? What event needs to occur before our troops are returned home?