predictable, it was inevitable. Equally horrific, predictable, and
inevitable is the devious reporting by the supposedly liberal media. The
"alleged" war crimes at Haditha might be the work of a "handful" of Marines
who "snapped" and, for those reading between the lines, those Marines are
guilty of something far worse than mass murder: They've soiled the pristine,
courageous image of the American military in Iraq. As Stan Goff sez: "The
bad apple defense is back."
Someone turn down the lights and start the My Lai slide show, please...
The date was March 16, 1968. "Under the command of Lieutenant William L.
Calley, Charlie Company of the Americal Division's Eleventh Infantry had
'nebulous orders' from its company commander, Captain Ernest Medina, to
'clean the village out'," explains historian Kenneth C. Davis.
All they found at My Lai were women, children, and old men...no weapons, no
signs of enemy soldiers. Calley ordered villagers to be killed and their
huts destroyed. Women and girls were raped before they were machine-gunned.
By the end of the massacre, hundreds of villagers were dead.
"This was not the only crime against civilians in Vietnam," Davis adds. "It
was not uncommon to see GIs use their Zippo lighters to torch an entire
village." Indeed, My Lai was not an aberration. On the very same day that
Lt. Calley entered into infamy, another U.S. Army company entered My Khe (a
sister subhamlet of My Lai) and killed a reported 90 peasants.
Of course it was. It had to be. To expect otherwise is to ignore the reality
we've all played a role in creating. "This culture has killed a lot of
people, and will continue to do so until it collapses, and probably long
after," writes Derrick Jensen in his new book, "Endgame."
Howard Zinn. "The American army attacked a group of 600 Moros in southern
Philippines-men, women, and children living in very primitive conditions,
who had no modern weapons. The American army attacked them with modern
weapons, wiped out every last one of these 600 men, women, and children."
The commanding officer responsible for this war crime received a telegram of
congratulations from Theodore Roosevelt.
"Jane and Joe Sixpack are shocked," writes Ted Rall of the Haditha
Massacre. "Congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation and,
for once, will probably get one. Political analysts worry that the Haditha
massacre could hurt U.S. propaganda efforts even more than the infamous
photos of torture at its Abu Ghraib concentration camp."
The Haditha Massacre is a PR problem. The Haditha Massacre is an
opportunity for the Democrats to posture. The Haditha Massacre is yet
another chance for "Jane and Joe Sixpack" to be reminded that when Iraqi
rebels kill a civilian, it's further proof of their inhuman status but when
an American soldier commits premeditated murder, it's an anomaly. It takes a
whole lotta propaganda to condition a populace to buy into this
formula...but as Goff reminds us: "They were not rogues. They were us."
The most infamous "aberration" during the Korean War was the No Gun Ri
massacre. Veterans of the U.S. Army First Cavalry Division told the
Associated Press in 1999 that Captain Melbourne C. Chandler, "after speaking
to superior officers by radio, ordered machine-gunners from his heavy
weapons company to set up near the bridge tunnel openings and open fire.
U.S. commanders had claimed there were 'infiltrators' among the villagers."
Chandler told his men: "The hell with all those people. Let's get rid of all
"Those who make the political decisions that guide this culture are more
interested in increasing their own personal power and the power of the state
than they are in human and nonhuman well-being," writes Jensen. "They need
the resources, and will get them, come the hell of depleted-uranium-induced
malformations or the high water of melted ice caps."
"Those who make the political decisions," of course, should be investigated,
charged, tried, and sentenced. But those who don't make the political
decisions must start recognizing that even if a miracle should occur and the
criminals responsible for the The Haditha Massacre face justice, it would
be a hollow victory if it ended there.