Snapshots

America’s Crimes of War | Truthout

A decade into the Afghan War, the atrocities by U.S. forces - whether accidental or intentional - keep piling up along with assurances from American leaders that “this is not who we are.” But the unwillingness to impose serious penalties and the failure to adopt less violent strategies say something else to many Afghans, writes John LaForge. A U.S. Army Staff Sergeant walked through two villages in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, around 3 a.m. March 11, methodically shooting 16 people that he’d dragged from their beds with single shots to the head. Then he dragged corpses outside and set some on fire. Eleven were reportedly from one family. Nine were children.

The Taliban has promised revenge against “sick-minded American savages.” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared to confirm this characterization when he callously told the press later the same day, “War is hell. These kinds of events and incidents are going to take place. They’ve taken place in any war. They’re terrible events. This is not the first of those events, and they probably won’t be the last.”

“Events” and “incidents” aren’t the pronouns that come to mind when contemplating premeditated multiple murders of sleeping women and children. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai called the massacre an assassination and “an intentional killing of innocent civilians and cannot be forgiven.”

Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation, a former Special Forces Command officer in the Pentagon, tried to cement the blood-thirsty image of the U.S. at war when he said March 12 on the PBS News Hour, “This is not as out of the norm as it’s appearing in the media. … Afghans are used to being killed.”

“Sick-minded American savages” clearly are not confined to the killing fields. With the long record of U.S. massacres that have gone unpunished or been treated lightly, Afghans can be forgiven for demanding that the latest Son of Uncle Sam be turned over to Afghan authorities for trial.

In late November 2001, hundreds of captured Afghan fighters were packed into sealed shipping containers and moved to the town of Mazar. Hundreds died of asphyxiation en route, were executed when some of the bodies were dumped along the way, or were killed when the containers were riddled with machine gun fire in Mazar under the watchful eyes of 30 to 40 U.S. Special Forces soldiers. The documentary, “Massacre at Mazar,” includes eyewitness accounts of the killings. No soldier has ever even faced a U.S. inquiry.

Full Article: America’s Crimes of War | Truthout.

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