Politics, Religion And The Military, A Recipe For Disaster
A dozen American soldiers are under arrest, five for murder, in crimes that we may never know the full extent of. The accusations, killing for sport, collecting fingers as trophies, is “meat” for the media. It will sell papers, it will bring TV viewers and, combined with the threatened Koran burning and the “hatefest” over the Manhattan Islamic Center, everything imaginable is being done to make certain that terrorism is alive and well and aimed at the United States.
The Koran burning is cancelled but we can’t undo the murders, not this set, not the last nor the decade long nightmare beginning, not with 9/11 but the election of George W. Bush, or more honestly, Dick Cheney.
Today’s killers, accused killers, alleged killers, are they serial killers, criminal psychopaths, or “boys out for a good time and things got a bit out of hand?” Do we blame them or the America’s failed attempt to build a permanent wartime standing army, replacing traditions with cheap politics and “revival tent” religion?
A normal argument that “liberals” make is that it wasn’t them but their environment that was responsible. That’s just an excuse and we all know it. We also know that this isn’t the first time this has happened. The stories, all verified, of kidnapping and rape as with Dr. Aafia or dragging detainees behind vehicles, torturing them with power tools or flying them to the ends of the earth, Egypt, Bulgaria, Poland, “one way trips” that no “detainee” has ever returned from or has ever survived, are no different than these new crimes.
We also can no longer ignore the fact that, thus far, over 75% of our “terrorist detainees” are the wrong people, simply “mistaken identity.” The remaining 25% are waiting for court dates for release. Estimates that as low as 5% of those captured, detained, really kidnapped, during the Bush administration were ever involved in anything.
These are the facts, not published but real, the results of court records open to every American.
When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued opinions that kidnapping, torture and indefinite detention of anyone, American citizen or not was, in his opinion “legal” he knew where this would go.
Were Nuremberg type trials to begin today, they could go on for years, the defendants filling the dock making up a “who’s who” of America’s political, economic, religious and media elite. Oh, and more than a few from our military would be there too. It would almost be as though we had “flushed” the Pentagon. At one point, we could claim that, even where there were parallels between the “War on Terror” and Hitler’s “Blitzkreig” and “Final Solution,” we could always claim our scale was so much smaller.
We aren’t so certain of even that anymore, how could we be when nothing can be trusted, nothing from any source under control by the corporations that tell us what they want us to believe. How many secret prisons is America running? Where are they? How many have been held there for how long? How many have been killed?
The people of Nazi Germany, when asked these same questions didn’t know.
How many are we killing each day in Afghanistan? Hitler sent special military groups, a Nazi “Special Forces” into the Ukraine and Belarus, to wipe out the local population. Are our Predator unmanned aircraft doing the same thing, randomly wiping out Afghanistan and sections of Pakistan, village by village? Much of the world thinks so and nobody has been able to prove them wrong.
Five or ten years from now, how many countries will be exhuming mass graves, sites of victims of America’s psychopaths?
There is no difference between these five recently arrested and the Special Forces squads doing exactly the same thing. The only difference is using known unreliable intelligence, let me correct that, known “gossip” as a basis for executing civilians or doing it for entertainment.
What we have seen is that, inside our military, the pride of our nation, where our sons and daughters risk their lives in what they have been told is honorable service of mankind, we are harboring criminal psychopaths who murder the innocent at the orders of the Pentagon’s “grocery clerks.” From the 1979 film by Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now:
Colonel Kurtz: I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin?
Captain Willard: I’m a soldier.
Colonel Kurtz: You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.
I am supposed to say these men are not guilty. I don’t believe it for an instant, nobody does. They are only doing what they were taught. Murder and hate became “policy” for the military when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, an ignorant extremist bigot, was chosen by President Bush to head our armed forces.
He and Vice President Dick Cheney, retreads from the disastrous Nixon years, petty political functionaries, saw the opportunity to recreate the military as a political and religious organization modeled on Himmler’s infamous SS. It isn’t just forcing religious instruction on the troops or the selective screening at the service academies with special preference given to Evangelical, read “Christian Zionist” applicants, giving us the “dumbed down” officer corps that has overseen the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Will the last real warrior resigning in disgust please turn out the lights
It wasn’t just in the training, constant talk about “the conflict of civilization,” Christianity versus Islam. The normal “pep talks” about military tradition were replaced by political vitriolic, partisanship and playing on racial and ethnic fears, class envy and cheap propaganda. They Nazi’s never tried anything like this, the educational level of their military was much higher than that of typical American recruits. Their professional officer corps, taken from the Junker class, sons of the noble houses, were replaced by political hacks from the Nazi party. Some, like Erwin Rommel, were great commanders.
Those more like the neo-con underclass that, in Iraq and Afghanistan, has overseen the torture and rendition programs and political buffoonery and continual prayer sessions, products of the service academies and ROTC programs, were killed by their own men.
The problem isn’t just the training or the wars or PTSD or “bad recruits” or even incompetent leadership. When General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff assessed the officer corps in 1941, just after the Pearl Harbor attack, he was shocked. Over 10,000 officers in what was a relatively small military force were removed as unfit for command.
President George W. Bush went the other direction entirely. Our first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was General Omar Bradley, possibly America’s finest military leader. On October 1, 2001, while the rubble of the World Trade Center was till smouldering after 9/11, Bush appointed General Richard B. Myers, a “neo-con” dandy, tasked with building a force better suited for a 3rd world dictatorship than a modern democracy. Myers turned to religious extremists, political hacks and any officer willing to trade honor for a career.
This is how America conquered Iraq, won a war, accomplished a mission and destroyed itself at the same time. It was always Cheney and Rumsfeld, it had been for years, in one administration after another. Myers was just “small potatoes,” a small man for a small job working for grocery clerks, collecting a bill.
Bush friend and ally, Saddam Hussein paid with his life. Was Osama bin Laden a Bush friend and ally also? History says yes.
When it came time for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to explain to the 9/11 Commission why the United States Air Force was on a “stand down” under his personal command on 9/11, it was General Myers holding his hand. Bad as these moments were, humiliating or worse, they may have been the high point of General Myers career.
Four years later, we had been beaten in two wars by forces one tenth our number, had worn our military down to a shadow of our most basic security requirements but one thing for sure, they would all vote Republican. It became a military of bloated waistlines, berets, dickeys, and medals for any and all. The American military became the most “thanked” and “congratulated” force in history.
With all the medals and fancy uniforms and 6000 calorie a day meals, or so the Pentagon loves telling journalists, something seemed to be very wrong.
Volunteers from the “all volunteer army” began “unvolunteering” in droves with 400,000, nearly a third of America’s entire military pool, active duty, reserve and National Guard, filing for service connected disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The majority submitted documentation, medical findings, indicating severe lifelong disabilities. The majority of filings support the fact that soldiers leaving the military after repeated deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq will never be able to work, support a family or, in many cases, manage their own affairs.
25% of those who remain in the military are on anti-psychotic medications with thousands of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a medical problem that precludes, not just combat deployment but any active duty.
Battalions of “disinformation” specialists spewed press releases by the dozen while military broadcasting parroted the neo-con and extremist Christian right, read “extremist-white supremist” Christian Zionist right message 24 hours a day to any member of the armed forces unfortunate to have access to a television. You couldn’t watch a rerun of Gomer Pyle without the inane blithering of Vice President Cheney, real leader of “Bush America,” another of a long list of American military experts without, not only one second of combat experience, but in Cheney’s case, as with so many, not a minute in uniform of any kind.
Yesterday, America was panicked because two minor religious leaders have publicly planned to desecrate a Koran. Similar leaders had been burning American flags at the funerals of soldiers fallen in battle. Were Bush still in office, these two manics would be having lunch at the White House.
Secretary Rumsfeld would have named them honorary military chaplains.
Today, five Americans are under arrest as serial killers in uniform. They and their friends and who knows how many others have been hunting the people of Afghanistan for sport, killing them like animals and taking trophies, or so the representatives of the military justice system allege.
Anyone paying attention for the past decade should know. All these five Americans, five or a hundred and five or a thousand and five have done is exactly what they were told to do. If you can torture, you can kill. If you can kidnap, you can kill. If rape is “interrogation” can murder be wrong?
Who do we blame? We blame the Commander in Chief. He knew what he had inherited, a sick and dysfunctional institution of bottom-feeders, fanatics and fools, morally bankrupt cowards and bullies hiding behind a uniform and a bible.
We all knew it, every one of us.
* Gordon Duff is senior editor of Veterans Today.