05 April 2010

Worse than murder

Today, 5 April, 2010, Wikileaks released a video they had obtained. It is helicopter gunship video of an attack in Iraq. To this old Vietnam vet, the video is absolutely disgusting. This "brave" air crew seems to be enjoying the killing of what look to be unarmed civilians. I have watched this disgusting video three times now and still cannot see any weapons being carried or used by the people on the ground.
The air crew laughs at the destruction they are dealing out to these human beings. That is absolutely disgusting. In Vietnam, we Marines, I was one, at least had a grudging respect for the VC and NVA. This air crew have no such feelings from the audio on this video. The continue to ask for further permission to shoot again and seem to want to shoot even more. The video gives the appearance of a video game. Perhaps that is what the air crew are "thinking", that it is all just a big damn video game.
If this is what we are now training our troops to do, if this is now the "standard" behavior of "our" troops, then I have a very hard time having any respect for "our" troops.
Here is the link to this video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3GO&feature=player_embedded

I also want to include a link about our use of drones in our current wars. It is at the following address;www.counterpunch.org/rattansi04022010.html
A very huge hat tip and thank you to John Francs Lee for placing the link in his comment here at the old corner. As some of you may know, I am a regular reader of the Counterpunch web site, but always appreciate a good link to any web site.
I want to thank all of those who posted comments here on the drone post. Thank you all for your comments.  I feel very fortunate that you took the time to read my rants and then left comments. And yes, I even like those comments that don't agree with me. Sometimes I think I learn as much or more from the negative comments as from the positive ones.
Again, thank you all for your comments.
I think this helicopter video does tie in with the use of drones. It shows how the wars of America are becoming more like video games. Both also show the absolute immorality of war. Yes, with the drones, we don't have the pilot and gunner shouting and laughing, or do we? We have yet to see any video of the "pilots" who fly the drones, safe in their nice air conditioned bunkers at an Air Force base here in the old US of A. I have no doubt there are cheers when they complete a bomb run or missile strike.  Also, for the drone "pilots", the war is more like a video game. They are remotely piloting these air craft. They are in even less danger than the air crew in the above video. At least that crew was in the war zone personally..
YES, I am disgusted at the use of these drones.
Again, I refer you to a comment made by Mr. Lee here at the corner. He mentioned being shocked at the idea of one man beheading another.  Well, until the advent of fire arms, that is how wars, all wars were fought. Very up close and very personal. It took real bravery to fight in the days when swords and knives were the high tech weapons. All very up close back then. With fire arms, war became a bit more distant. Air craft made war even more distant. Now we have missiles and even drone (remotely piloted) air craft. War becomes ever more distant for the "combatants" today. But as we keep our "pilots" safe here at home, the civilians who happen to live in or near the war zones become more of a target. By making war so easy and relatively "safe" (for the drone pilots at least), we make war all too easy for the politicians to get us into. War becomes even more dehumanized than ever.
I personally believe that war is the most pornographic thing we humans have ever devised. I have said so here more than once. I know I have stated that to many people over the years. With the use of remotely operated war machines, we make it even more pornographic than ever. War made easy, is war made far too often in my view.
I have also observed that for the most part, those who are the loudest supporters of wars are those who have either never worn a uniform or they have never been in any war zone. We call those people chicken hawks. I call them bull-shitters and worse.
Another comment before I end this post. Just how "brave" does one need to be to drop a bomb or fire a missile by remote control? And yes, the very same question does apply to some one who detonates a road side bomb by cell phone or some other remote way of detonating it.
Thank you for your time reading this.

p.s. If you have trouble with my link to the Youtube video, please look to the right side of my blog and click on the link I have to Reality Zone. He has posted the entire video at his excellent blog. A very huge hat tip (thank you) to Reality Zone for that excellent service to us all.


RealityZone said...

Thanks Charlie.

I am still not over it.

charlie ehlen said...

Oh my friend, I don't think that I will even try to "get over" this mess. The audio is even more sickening than the video, which os more than bad enough. The air crew blames the people on the ground for bringing their kids to a war zone????!!!!!!
WE invaded Iraq and turned that country into a war zone.
WE are the ones with air power in Iraq. WE are the ones who kill from the air. And this crew places blame on the people who live there???
THEY are the ones who shot up unarmed civilians who tried to pick up the wounded to take them to hospital. THAT is a war crime recognized by ALL international laws.
America, what a country...........

Mimi said...

Helpless rage--that's all you can feel when you see and hear this revolting evidence of slaughter. What in the world have we become?

Nan said...

The "bringing their kids to a battlefield" comments floored me, too. Just how brain dead are those US troops if they don't recognize it wasn't a a battlefield until they turned it into one -- it's where the people they were shooting lived.

I have, btw, heard numerous reports that the US military has been deliberately targeting independent journalists (i.e., the ones that refuse to be embedded with US forces) since the day we invaded Iraq.

john francis lee said...

Chris Floyd is in despair at the lack of response from all of us Amcericans : The Muted Plain: Anticipating the Wake of the Wikileaks Revelation.

There are 209 days remaining 'til election day, 2010 in the USA. We may peacefully and non-violently rid ourselves of 435+34=469 of our 537 most deadly enemies on 2 November... or not. Up to us.

john francis lee said...

This man focuses on the "US-Them" dichotomy that he feels is at the bottom of all this atrocious nonsense.

Thomas Barton has been saying for years that it was the soldiers serving in Viet Nam who ended that war, not the civilians protesting it.

It will have to be the soldiers who end these wars, too.

There is no group more abused in our society than our soldiers, now "volunteers".

Not only are they sent to murder and be murdered by the War Criminals in power in Washington, but they are in the end thrown back on their own resources to end the wars those bastards start.

They have to do it all themselves. No one deserves our support more than our soldiers.

charlie ehlen said...

Thank all of you who have left comments here so far. Your input is greatly appreciated. I am not a writer by any means. Just an old former Marine/Vietnam vet who is now a disabled former machinist.
I call this video disgusting for the simple reason that it IS disgusting. Disgusting beyond my vocabulary.
My first reaction, after my first viewing of the video was utter contempt and I cursed for quite some time. Swearing at this does no good. Didn't make me any less disgusted either.
Call it my attempt to stay civilized or polite. I still find it disgusting.
Mr. Lee, again, your comments made me stop and think. That is always a good thing to do to me.
Yes, the politicians who caused this to happen will never be held to account and the troops will be left on their own to cope when they are no longer useful to the empire. Exactly as we did to the troops after Korea and Vietnam. When I was released from active duty in 1972, I don't even remember ever having heard the term PTSD. That came some years later.
As to a lack of reaction from the public, I wonder how many people actually watched this video. Of those who did, what can they say?
I agree there should be some outrage, but where do you vent that? Not everybody has a web page or blog. I have a Facebook page, but don't often use it.
I'll be extra polite here and say that maybe many of those who did watch this through are in shock. Remember, the public is constantly told that our troops are the "good guys". This shocks that notion to hell and gone.
Again, thank you all for your comments. It means a great deal to me that you took your time to read my rants and replied to them.

charlie ehlen said...

More from me.
Mimi, I agree that helpless rage is a first reaction. "We" are supposed to be the "good guys". Quite a shock to find out what really happens.
Nan, I also had read about the possible targeting of un-embedded journalists. I hope it is not "policy", but these wars are even worse in some ways than Vietnam was.
As the empire falls apart, or goes broke, things will get worse. Yes, no matter how bad it is now, it can get worse. That is a frightening thought.

john francis lee said...

Three things occur to me at this point:

1. This wikileaked snuff film is not an isolated incident, it's standard practice. This is how the US wages war : against civilians. The entire Wehrmacht is optimized to kill civilians. That's what "airpower" is for.

2. The perps are victims too. Doesn't make 'em less the perps, but they too are still victims. Victims of the Bitter Laugh.

3. This video was delivered by military people. Military people doing the MSM's job for them. The Military people, the victims on our side, left to their own resources are fighting back against the Wehrmacht that is murdering them, that has made murderers of them. While we all wring our hands on the sidelines these wars must be, will be, ended by the ordinary people in uniform, it's most direct victims, brutally ignored, on our side.

gesneri said...

Always good to read your blog, Charlie, even when the subject is as horrible as this was.

john francis lee said...

An example of a "military person" who is working to end this... occupation, continuing aggression, serial killing... is Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, USAF. She blew the whistle years ago from the Pentagon, on Douglas Feith's criminal cabal therein, and hasn't let up since. She is not a Counterpuncher, she posts at Lew Rockwell dot com, a libertarian site.

Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski comments that this is NOT war.

Some one of these outrageous acts of murder in our name will stir us to put an end to them... right?

Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski does remind that the guys riding around in these helicopters will be cops when they get back home.

They'll probably ride around in a helicopter in a town near you, note the "AK-47's and RPGs" in your hands in the parking lot at the mall - the "war zone", disparage you for "making them" murder your children along with you as they mow you down. Laughing all the way!

Then we'll put an end to this!..

Nah!.. not unless it happens to me directly. I'm not my brother's keeper.

And besides... I'll be dead after it happens to me... no more worries. It'll be on the next shift then.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too as a Canadian am horrified by this open disregard of even the smallest honour - shooting people who stopped to help the wounded - and there was never a shot fired from the ground. Absolutely sickening!
And our soldiers are sharing this kind of gallows humor in Afghanistan.
Absolutely horrifying!
Daniehl in Regina, SK Canada.

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john francis lee said...


From Current and Former Members of the U.S. Military

Peace be with you.

To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks video:

We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses.

We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van, and when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to the your pain, and the pain of your community on many other occasions.

There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused.

We have been speaking to whoever will listen, telling them that what was shown in the Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war: this is the nature of how U.S.-led wars are carried out in this region.

We acknowledge our part in the deaths and injuries of your loved ones as we tell Americans what we were trained to do and what we carried out in the name of "god and country". The soldier in the video said that your husband shouldn't have brought your children to battle, but we are acknowledging our responsibility for bringing the battle to your neighborhood, and to your family. We did unto you what we would not want done to us.

More and more Americans are taking responsibility for what was done in our name. Though we have acted with cold hearts far too many times, we have not forgotten our actions towards you. Our heavy hearts still hold hope that we can restore inside our country the acknowledgment of your humanity, that we were taught to deny.

Our government may ignore you, concerned more with its public image. It has also ignored many veterans who have returned physically injured or mentally troubled by what they saw and did in your country. But the time is long overdue that we say that the value of our nation's leaders no longer represent us. Our secretary of defense may say the U.S. won't lose its reputation over this, but we stand and say that our reputation's importance pales in comparison to our common humanity.

We have asked our fellow veterans and service-members, as well as civilians both in the United States and abroad, to sign in support of this letter, and to offer their names as a testimony to our common humanity, to distance ourselves from the destructive policies of our nation's leaders, and to extend our hands to you.

With such pain, friendship might be too much to ask. Please accept our apology, our sorrow, our care, and our dedication to change from the inside out. We are doing what we can to speak out against the wars and military policies responsible for what happened to you and your loved ones. Our hearts are open to hearing how we can take any steps to support you through the pain that we have caused.

Solemnly and Sincerely,
Josh Stieber, former specialist, U.S. Army
Ethan McCord, former specialist, U.S. Army