Friday, June 02, 2006

Further Down The Spiral

As the Haditha incident continues to unfold, the war supporters on the Right are working overtime at making excuses and justifications for what can only be described as revenge killings by some U.S. Marines. It's the same excuses once again that were trotted out for Abu Ghraib: "It's a few bad apples" or "an isolated incident". Conservatives cling to their American exceptionalism like drowning rats in a shipwreck. And the storm is growing worse (from the BBC, via Attaturk):

The BBC has uncovered new video evidence that US forces may have been responsible for the deliberate killing of 11 innocent Iraqi civilians.

The video appears to challenge the US military's account of events that took place in the town of Ishaqi in March.

The US said at the time four people died during a military operation, but Iraqi police claimed that US troops had deliberately shot the 11 people.

A spokesman for US forces in Iraq told the BBC an inquiry was under way.

Poking around on the internets, I've read that the shootings in Ishaqi do not appear to be close-range or "execution style" as those in Haditha do. A small comfort, to say the least.

Potentially even more disastrous than Haditha and Ishaqi is the claim by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Prime Minister the Bush administration fought to get into power, that atrocities being committed by U.S. troops are commonplace.

[Info courtesy of kos, who seems to be having server troubles as I compose this.]

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians.

As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.

In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by many troops in the American-led coalition who "do not respect the Iraqi people."

"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," he said. "This is completely unacceptable." Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.

It bears repeating: this is the Prime Minister the folks thinking for Bush wanted. Maliki is supposed to be the voice of a U.S. aligned Iraqi government and he's making accusations that would constitute war crimes for other nations.

I post these stories heavy with resignation and disappointment, especially since they come as no surprise. This is the reality of war, and we who opposed the invasion of Iraq knew from the start that it would come to this. War always does. Certainly, we have noble "rules of engagement" and such. But the reality is that there is no true civility in war. At least in the minds of conservatives, it seems there is a fervent belief in a controlled war, that we can invade and occupy Iraq while only harming the "evildoers". A childish notion that denies everything history has to tell us about the reality of warfare. Innocents are always caught in the iron jaws of war, their well-being destroyed, their homes leveled, their lives and those of their family snuffed out.

The most tragic part of this is that it's a war that never had to happen. It's tragic the millions of Germans and Japanese that were killed during World War II. But the governments of those nations gave the world little choice but meet violence with violence. Not so, Iraq. There was never any real threat to the United States from Iraq. Bush and his supporters chose this war and each of these incidents lies at their feet.

War is not a game of Risk. It's not Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. And it's certainly not a useful way to spread anything but misery and destruction. Perhaps the Pro-war Right will think about that a little harder the next time one of their empty suit President's decides to "spread democracy" with a gun.

I won't hold my breath...

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