Monday, March 19, 2012

One Question the Media will Never Ask about Soldier's Killing Spree

What if Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, the soldier who confessed to killing sixteen Afghan civilians in their sleep, wasn't crazy?  I don't recall any of the soldiers who urinated on the dead body of an enemy soldier, or those who tossed Korans in the trash, or those who raped, sodomized and tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib as being diagnosed with mental illness.  War is unpredictable.  It can even twist a normal human being into a robotic exterminator.  This is why sensible countries steer clear of fabricated conflicts.

I could never pass an exam on the rules of modern war as interpreted by American Generals and the White House.  My mind is far too easily confused when it comes to understanding who has the power to draw the boundaries between what is and is not permissible in war and then make those arbitrary pronouncements stick. Is it okay to kill civilians -- wedding parties, people sleeping in their beds, school children -- with bombs dropped from drones so long as the bureaucratic paper work shows that the specified target was a military one?  In that type of case the victims were merely collateral damage.   If so, the only real difference I can see in this tragedy is that Sergeant Bales was not a drone, he was only pretending to be one.
A column by Charles Davis, entitled:"Drones, Civilian Deaths and The New York Times points out:
Never mind that Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution, hardly a radical anti-war group, suggests that "for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died." Put aside the fact the New America Foundation more conservatively estimates one in five of those killed are civilians. And forget that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has documented credible reports that "[m]ore than 160 children" and somewhere between "385-775 civilians" have been killed in U.S. drone strikes. The mere fact that Obama administration officials like John Brennan assert, contrary to all available evidence, that few if any civilians have died is all that matters to a respectable stenographer.
This war in Afghanistan has done more than kill people.  It has so addled the brains of those who support it, that they are no longer able to see that a dead child killed by a drone is no less deceased than one slaughtered by a rogue soldier.  
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