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Tomgram: Gregory Foster, A Case for Demilitarizing the Military

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* The Rolling Stoneexpose of the Special Forces A-Team that allegedly "disappeared" 10 men and murdered eight others in Afghanistan.

* The video of four Marines urinating on dead Afghan bodies, alleged to be Taliban fighters.

* The photos of 82nd Airborne Division soldiers posing with body parts of dead Afghan insurgents.

* The burning of as many as 100 Korans and other religious texts by American troops in Afghanistan.

* The unceasing surfeit of sexual assault reports in the military (22,000 between 2010 and 2014).

Such episodes aren't, of course, only of recent vintage. Walking the calendar back a few years reminds us of many other similar examples:

* 2011: the suicides of Marine Lance Corporal Harry Lew and Army Private Danny Chen after hazing and harassment by fellow soldiers.

* 2010: the Khataba raid in Afghanistan in which Army Rangers killed five civilians, including two pregnant women and a teenage girl.

* 2009: the massive sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base, in which 43 female trainees were subjected to sexual predation by instructors.

* 2008: revelations about a Pentagon military analyst program in which retired senior officers working as news commentators received special access to insider briefings and information in return for publicly promoting Bush administration policies.

* 2007: a U.S. Naval Academy scandal involving a Navy doctor secretly videotaping midshipmen engaged in sex acts; a Walter Reed Army Medical Center scandal involving extensive patient neglect and execrable living conditions; and revelations concerning massive Iraq War contracting fraud, bribery, and kickbacks totaling $15 million.

* 2006: the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl and the murder of her family by five Army soldiers in Mahmudiyah, Iraq; the murder of an Iraqi man in Hamdania, Iraq, with associated kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy, by seven Marines and a Navy corpsman; and the relief of the USS Enterprisecaptain for producing and showing sexually explicit and offensive videos on board.

* 2005: the massacre of 24 Iraqi men, women and children by Marines in Haditha, Iraq, and the associated cover-up in which all criminal charges were dismissed; and the Pentagon's planting of stories favorable to the war effort in the Iraqi press.

* 2004: the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman and the tragedy's associated cover-up, extending up the chain of command to the Pentagon.

* 2003: massive acts of prisoner sexual abuse, torture, rape, sodomy, and murder by Army personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

* 2002: the deaths of two unarmed civilian Afghan prisoners, who had been chained to the ceiling and beaten by U.S. troops, at the Bagram internment facility in Afghanistan.

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Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch (more...)
 

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