Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can't Spin This

It's looking like a skirmish in the Iraqi city of Haditha was a civilian massacre at the hands of US troops. There's really no other way to put it.

Our guys have been over there for three years now. They are overworked and overstressed. They are surrounded by death and destruction every day.

The Marines serving in Haditha last November had apparently lost one too many comrades to an IED and basically went apeshit. When the simian shit stopped flying, at least 24 Iraqis, including many unarmed women and children, had been cut to pieces by American weapons.

The rage of those Marines was justifiable. To say their actions were not would be a ludicrous understatement.

Building a democracy is no walk in the park. Both the American Revolution, which was about creating an independent country, and later our Civil War, which was about creating a united one, were as brutal and bloody as any conflicts.

But no one is going to accept that this bloodbath was a necessary step on the path to Iraqi independence. It was as senseless as the incident that sparked it.

One could hope for understanding from our allies and our Iraqi "hosts" that in war "things happen," but we would never accept that reasoning if the situation were reversed. Never.

Can we expect Iraqis just to forgive and forget? We should never expect anyone to do anything we're not prepared to do ourselves.


And the fact that there initially was a cover-up of this incident only hurts us more. The story that the dead civilians had been killed by the same IED that took out a young Marine didn't hold water since the victims were riddled with bullets, not shrapnel.

What we can expect, unfortunately, is that the longer we stay on in Iraq, the greater the potential is for more Hadithas, Fallujahs and Abu Ghraibs. The people who criticize a "cut and run" policy are just substituting obstinance for reality.

This war started bad and sloped downward at an exponential rate from there. It's time to extricate ourselves from our own mess.

27 comments:

Jack K. said...

Anyone remember Viet Nam? My Lai?

Beyond that, I care not to comment.

(I'm not sure what to say.)

Just a note.

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

nice new photo "alex". my favorite so far. im not sure if ive fallen down the rabbit hole or gone to the milk bar!!!!!!!!!!

re: the post
yep. its gone badly. all the goodness achieved will be forgotten and replaced with the moments of horror to be etched forever into minds that will use it to define our inherent evil. but it isnt specific to americans. please remember that people.

/grrrrrrrrrr

ardlair said...

I'm sorry to labour the point again, but, this in part comes back to the problems created when a state mixes up nationhood with religion.

On blog pages not too far from here, Americans, allegedly good christians, call for the extermination, annihilation, of all things muslim in the world. Characterise Islam as innately evil. Not just in Iraq, but everywhere. Nuke mecca and all that.

As soon as you see yourselves as "gods chosen people" and others as the great satan, then you are in for trouble. Real trouble. And that, regrettably, is what George Bush has got half of you to do.

You gotta be more than pissed to shoot kids in cold blood. You gotta see them as less than human. I agree with K9 that people from any nation can act this way....but when you think about the situations when it has happened en masse it has been when one group has characterised another as subhuman, usually on the basis of religion.

So get religion out of your politics America, before you really start a religious war. And slaughter even more innocent children.

Pete Bogs said...

to all: couldn't have said it better myself...

Pete Bogs said...

ps: k9, thanks for noticing, my droogie... oops, I mean doggie!

Ben said...

Hello Pete

I've been reading up on that story and frankly: I am not all surprised that it has happened.

Not a very optimistic view, I know.
But I cannot help it: War brings out the worst in people. And yes, K9, everywhere and always on both sides!

I for one do not trust your army or any other one, including the one I had to serve in. And that one - the Swiss one - is a ridiculous bunch but still accountable for several suicides of young men every year.

Mind me: I'm not trying to insult the U.S. troops. The USA coming to Europe in WW2 probably saved me from having to live in a Nazi-Europe these days. And for that (being the descendant of a great-grandmother who died from fear when the Nazi mob was ruling Germany's streets) I will always be thankful.

Also: It was the US who played a major part in stopping the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia when Europe was just watching.

But Korea, Vietnam, Iraq ...

Pete Bogs said...

ben - nice to see you again... and, not that I'm inclined to say so, but you saved me from having to use the standard American phrase, "We saved your asses in WWII!" LOL

always a pleasure to have you here for a visit...

Hellpig said...

There always has been and always will be a very small % of soldiers who are in fact also criminals.

War is what it is......

One more thing,the ideal of comparing one masacare to the 1400 years of islamic murder and rape of 100k+ people is pure bullshit,once again defending the enemy..worthless traitor(Ardlair)

Pete Bogs said...

I'm not comparing anything... all this ultra-violence and killing is wrong, wrong and terribly wrong, whoever does it...

Aunty Belle said...

Now, chillens' this heah is the best thang about the incident--that we'uns is not dancin' jigs in the street and howling in delight at the deaths of the victims, and sayin' Allah wills it--naw, we's appalled, not proud-- tha's the difference, chicks.

Bawgs, splendid haberdashery.

ardlair said...

I condemn all acts against innocents undertaken in the name of others' non-existent gods. I condemn islamic violence.

And thanks Hellpig, for making my point so much more clearly than i ever could.

Pete Bogs said...

AB - what's wrong with jigs? or reels for that matter?

no, we're not doing those things, we're doing something else - covering up the truth with a concocted story about accidental deaths... not acceptable... you seem to be saying it's not so bad because we're not celebrating it back here... whatever our reaction, it's still murder and it's still wrong...

on 9/11 I'll post my thoughts about that kind of dancing in the street, btw...

Jack K. said...

War is almost always avoidable and unnecessary.

When people are downgraded to the status of less than me in value they can be, and sometimes are, killed, maimed, raped, etc. It doesn't take a war for these things to happen. Just read your daily newspaper.
"How could he drop his children from the 15th floor balconey?"
"They were playing the wrong kind of music in the picnic park."
"He looked at me the wrong way."
"I had to do it to let the government know, I had had it with its stupid way of encroaching on my freedoms."

In wartime the best comes out in most soldiers. Michael Yon has been posting some of his observations from Iraq. You might find some of them interesting. Or not.

Karen has an interesting posting that says a lot about all this.

ttfn

(Nice chapeau, Pete.)

Bird said...

I'm on the tail end of a 7 day fete (parties of one sort or another since last Thursday), but dropped by to catch up with the Clarity and the Muck.

As usual - some clarity from our pal Bogs and some thoughtful, insightful commentary from others; but alas, some muck as well. And this muck is ruining the U.S.

For me, it's quite simple - I have my own brand of nationalistic hubris - it translates into this - WE SHOULD BE FAR BETTER THAN WHAT WE ARE.

Because we are the biggest kid on the block,the one with the most juice, (not to mention we weren't invited to Iraq; rather, we invaded as conquerers for no good reason)etc., it's incumbent upon us to behave with honor and integrity, with compassion and kindness. Our standards should be high and we should stive more fully to attain them.

Hubristic? Absolutely! Nationalistic? You bet!

I want my country to be better, to be the beacon of democracy and fairplay we espouse ourselves to be. We are not that - yet.

Hellpig said...

"Bird said. we invaded as conquerers for no good reason"

Ask the Iraqi women if it was for a good reason......your statement is why America can't be better,not with thinking such as yours.

Ardlair thanks I am glad you agree that you are a traitor who sympathizes with the enemy,I think I made my point as well

Pete Bogs said...

bird - was wondering where you'd flown off to... a well-deserved furlough, sounds like...

I agree we need to be global leaders we claim to be... we need the principles to back up our words and live up to our ideals... we've veered far away from that for some time now...

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

with all due respect, why are these the first iraqi deaths anybody (left leaning) gives a rat's about? why is it that when us soldiers kill its the biggest crime you ever heard of? yet saddaam kills the hell out of his own people for the longest time and not one freaking peep!

i keep thinking about a line in apocalypse now: arresting someone here for a war crime is like handing out speeding tickets at the indy 500.

got that right cap'n willard.

/grrrrrrrr

Pete Bogs said...

k9 - are you an assassin?

I think the difference here is PROOF... collateral damage, and even intentional civilian deaths, are talked about all the time... but this has even the military and the president investigating - allegedly...

and the big deal is how the hornets who've already been stirred up over there will react - with more outrage and more car bombs... and also how our allies will react - can they stay our allies with so many screwups happening? people tend to distance themselves from that, if they have even a shred of smarts...

jack - thanks for the nod to my noggin... got the hat in Dublin in '03... I love it...

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

that's classified bogs. (howl)
what do you call it when the assasins send assasins?

stirred up hornets? uss cole. nigeria. lebanon. achille laural (er whatever, tequila bloggin' here urp)9-11...chechen school kids ad infinitum

allies? was that?

/grrr

/howllllllllll

Pete Bogs said...

I'm with you on all the terrorist activity.. I've not been asleep the last 20+ years... the hornets I were referring to are the Iraqi insurgency... we saw no such thing there before our little visit...

Hellpig said...

Why do you label them insurgents? they are not from Iraq


They are TERRORISTS

Aunty Belle said...

Bawgs..grab aholt heah, chile'--ain'tcha heard of INNOCENT until proven guilty? IF this happened the way the first reports say, then we can correct the tone heah--but let's keep in mind that:
A) we don't know yet what happened
and it could be that the lilly-livered terrorists hid behind skirts of women and cillens--which makes those "civilians" anything but...
b) this is a war not a picnic--we have been very careful--a bad incident does not invalidate the mission or the greater good--iffin' we was of a mind to we could throw REAL Shock and Awe, not a play-like version--so admit up front that we'uns been pretty careful for a dern war--give-up false pretenses, honey--this is a war. People die, even "civilians".

All that said, how-some-ever, every effort to determine the truth and to discipline the errant must be undertaken.

Pete Bogs said...

a) why did our guys concoct a story about the civies dying from an IED blast, when they were riddled with bullets? fishy...

b) I'm shocked at your disregard for human life... that's exactly the kind of shit logic these men will use when they go on trial... stuff happens, oh well... but this was not collateral damage and it was no accident... civilian massacres ok? what are you smoking out there at the farm? and don't tell me it's "hams!"

infinitesimal said...

K9)

Apoc. Now is a movie based on the book: "A Heart of Darkness"... J. Conrad

it speaks to craziness that can happen in shitty situations.

but you are right, why are people just now upset?

Belle)

I am shocked by your demeanor as well.

Aunty Belle said...

Doan be shocked chillens--be fair.

We doan have all the evidence and we'uns ought not pre-judge the event.

Is it fair to make more of an issue over this than the zillion incidents of US and Coalition troops who have lost their lives saving Iraqi's from their own insurgents?

Contessa, Bawgs, really now--Ya'll
might be a tad too ideologicaly interested in negative news--however dreadful, than in remembering that terrorists use civilians, and our kids have saved and protected thousdands---any we lose to loose canons is too many, but try to be fair on this matter.

Pete Bogs said...

AB - actually I remember QUITE WELL that terrorists use civilians indiscriminantly... the point you're missing is we are allegedly "better" than them... not if we do the same things they do... if so, we're actually worse, because we're hypocrites to boot...

how much evidence does it take to know this: the victims were full of bullet holes, not shrapnel, from American weapons... maybe terrorists dressed up as us, eh? how much evidence do you need?

and let's humor you for a minute and pretend that these soldiers are tried and found not guilty... well, that's the military coverup continuing... it's all about saving face for us... any investigation carried out by the same people involved in the crime is questionable... it's like Bush with his investigations of Katrina lapses, etc. of course his own people are going to deemphasis the negative aspects... don't expect any good at all to come from this...

and by the way, it's not an obsession with bad news for me, it's an obsession with the truth - and the truth sometimes doesn't look so good on your own people... you must be one of those people who thinks it's the press' job to report good, happy things only... that's not news, that's propaganda...

Aunty Belle said...

BAwgs, puddin' yore points is well aimed--but cain't we settle fer this: The evidence is not in, in full. Mayhap that these "civilians" ain't no such a thang...mayhap that these Marines went nutzoid...but tryin' em' in the press, second-guessin' their deeds from the comfy airchair that sits in the middle of safety and security--well, that is as hypocritcal and disturbin' as the deed imputed ter the soldiers, ain't it?

Now--as fer negative/positive news...I meant to say that yore expectation is fer negative info when it comes to reports of military /Iraq....not sayin' that we should have Mr. Roger's Neighborhood at 6pm evr'y night. Am sayin' that there is good news outa Iraq that is much UNDER-reported.

Lastly, why not acknowledge with pride the thousands of good (and unnecessary) deeds done by the troops fer the sake of the Iraqi's ?

The "gotcha" mentality is off-puttin' when ya' think that fer evr'y regretable loss of innocent life, they 's thousands who are saved and helped by the troops--the perspective is missin'....tha's all Aunty Belle is noticin'.