Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On Killing the Enemies of America

The recent release of an Apache helicopter gunner video by WikiLeaks has caused something of a stir. There have been previous similar video releases, though they are usually reversed contrast as in night-camera or otherwise made to seem more video game like and less... real.

This latest one has caused something of a stir because it is very graphic, brutal, hideous, and grotesque. In it, a number of Iraqi men are seen to assemble, to go about some sort of business, to chat with one another, chat on their cell phones, and they are seen to be blasted by Apache cannon-fire, many killed, some wounded -- and then killed -- and those who come to pick up the wounded are also blasted and killed. Turns out there were some children in the van that came to attend the wounded, and the children were gravely wounded in the fire from the Apache gunship. Their father was killed.

This video is getting some attention in the mainstream -- not a lot, but some -- because two of the Iraqis killed were employees of Reuters news service, and Reuters had been trying to get the gunner's video for years through the appropriate channels at the Pentagon. The incident happened in 2007 during the Surge. The other dead and wounded Iraqis have been generally ignored by the mainstream media. No surprise there. The general random extermination of Brown People Over There has not mattered to the powers that be at the mediaplexes since it was determined by the Pentagon that there would be no count nor accounting of dead and wounded Brown People in the Glorious War On Terror (in Perpetuity.) It would not be the job of the Pentagon to concern itself with their dead and injured. Period. So our media has followed suit.

There's been some sense that this incident must be an anomaly of some sort, because surely Our Forces do not randomly exterminate people Over There like this. And I say "randomly" because the video shows men on the street with cameras and with (possibly) a few weapons going about their business in a dangerous neighborhood where there had been some conflict recently. The men are fully in the open, they are not showing the slightest hostile intent, nor are they in any way menacing or conducting military or "terrorist" operations of any kind that can be determined from Above. Nevertheless, those who will kill them are heard discussing the men's weaponry and hostile intent as if it were real and they were not making it up on the spot.

And this goes on all the time. It has from the beginning of the Iraq invasion.

The presumption has been, from the beginning, that any Iraqi male is by definition Enemy, and any armed or thought to be armed Iraqi is subject to summary execution from Above (or from the ground if that is more convenient.) Anyone in the way, too bad.

And that's what happens here.

It's been going on just like this from the outset of hostilities. And if reports of pre-invasion actions over Iraq bear any truth, and I suspect they do, it was going on just like this for years before the invasion itself.

To the Iraqis, this is random murder, random slaughter. Anyone could be targeted and taken out at any time, for no reason at all that the Iraqis can determine. It is purely arbitrary from their point of view, not unlike the fictional situation faced by Earthlings in H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."

In that work, Wells was positing a parallel situation between the experiences of Londoners subjected to the invasion of Martians, and Natives in foreign lands subjected at the time he wrote (1898) and being subjected to random and incomprehensible arbitrary extermination by their New Overlords.

This is how Imperialism was imposed in those days, and we can see from videos like this that this is how this is the way Imperialism is imposed today.

The point is to target and kill randomly so as to make it impossible (so it is assumed) for the Natives to respond coherently. It will drive them to despair, and in despair they will welcome their new masters and submit to their commands. It worked in the Old Days, more or less, and it is supposed to work now.

Just look at Iraq now!

It would appear that those who are doing the targeting and killing really have no clue what they are doing. They are also imagining things about their targets (such as their weaponry and their intent) that has no earthly basis in what's visible to them from Above. They're simply making it up and convincing one another of the "truth" of their fantasies. It comes across as similar to a drug induced illusion that is not in any way real, but they are convinced that what they "see" is the Truth.

On that note, it's of some interest that Rummy had a grand scheme to create a small force of rugged killers, who would be drugged up to maintain their constant readiness and ability to kill without question and in so far as possible under their own initiative. It looks from this video to be that's what we've got in the air over our various hostile locations around the world. No rational person seeing what the video shows would reach the conclusions about the armaments and intentions of the Iraqis on the ground that these killers from Above do. Their actions are brutal, but their beliefs are unreal.

As I say, this has been going on, relentlessly, in all our theaters of endless war for a very long time now. It is the way our Imperial Operations are conducted.

The killers declare some threat to exist, request permission to exterminate, and do it.

And our leaders continue to wonder why the Natives hate us.

WikiLeaks says they will release more such video anon. Eventually, perhaps, Americans will come to understand that this is the way their Empire is established and they will turn away from it in disgust, but I actually doubt it. Previous experience shows that Americans have no problem at all with randomly exterminating brown people who are in the way. None.

And of course, no matter what happens, the military will lie about it and their lies will be routinely disseminated without question by nearly all the English speaking mass media. It is what they do.

The 39 minute full version:


  1. There is an article on truthout that confirms that this video describes the rule rather than the exception. And you're right - there is no outrage, little coverage, no mourning for the dead.

    I sometimes think that I'm going mad. I weep alone for the victims of our massacres and then am forced to delete glurge emails demanding that I pray for our troops. I guess I'll know that I'm in trouble when there are no tears and I no longer feel assaulted by a world gone insane.

    In that article, one of the soldiers was quoted as saying that an after-dark curfew was effected and that policy was to kill anyone out at night, for any reason. My boyfriend was living in New Orleans, just outside of the infamous Ninth Ward, and working in the French Quarter when they instigated a similar curfew after Katrina, with similar consequences. Yes, our military was shooting at unarmed civilians in NOLA for being out after dark, months after the hurricane, when the looting and civil unrest was nothing more than a memory.

    Of course, as some say, "it was in a bad part of town", so that's okay then. Just like Baghdad is a war zone, so those people shouldn't have been walking down the street and the samaritan shouldn't have been driving his children to a tutor when he was killed trying to save someone's life.

    What is WRONG with people?! How does this happen?! How can ANYONE possibly think this way?!

    I remember reading a novel once in which a character asked the question "How will the world end?".

    The answer? One person at a time.

    As an aside, thank you for linking here from UT. I've not posted before but have read for a while and very much appreciate your point of view. Over on Glenn's comment section, I tended to misunderstand you quite a bit for some reason - this is much better. I've learned a lot from you and I appreciate it. So again, thank you.


  2. "The Hurt Locker" was pretty good until the final scene (though I hate the shaky cam stuff). Then it just returned to a horrible kind of Hollywood-romantic vision of war. Prior to that, it presented the visuals for how completely insane the whole thing is. War. Especially in Iraq. But war is war is war and it's always going to manifest the very worst possible things humans do to each other, which is why we should avoid it like the plague.

    America has lost its moral compass because it can't think beyond its own personal comfort zone. On a macro scale, we reflect the rise of libertarian and conservative philosophy that preaches me me me me and mine, and sees "freedom" as the ability for individuals to amass massive wealth, regardless of how that impacts others along the way.

    We shouldn't be surprised at the effects when the promotion and celebration of selfishness becomes a national policy. Me mine me mine moves from the individual to the nation and anyone who gets in the way of that goes down.

    If we don't rebuild our sense of "community", we'll never stop treating other nations as perpetual punching bags. I know that sounds all too New Agey, but it's just true. The celebration of selfishness can't but lead to this kind of indifference and contempt for the lives of others. It's just inherent in the dynamic.

    BTW, Ché, you have mail.