“The crimes of the U.S. throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless, and fully documented but nobody talks about them.”
– Harold Pinter
If you even casually follow news about America’s occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s hard not to be shocked by the crimes that have been committed by U.S. and allied military forces.
Most recently, reports have surfaced about an American military “kill team” in Afghanistan that randomly murdered innocent Afghani civilians for sport, even severing body parts from them as souvenirs.
The accused are soldiers from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, which happens to hail from Joint Base Lewis-McChord right here in Washington State, near Tacoma.
Among the “trophies of war” that soldiers collected include finger bones, leg bones, and teeth, with “kill team” ringleader Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs specifically hoarding severed fingers and teeth to make for a necklace. Gibbs even joked about placing dismembered fingers on the “care packages” of other soldiers — just for kicks and giggles.
Kill team soldiers also posed for photographs with their ghoulish war trophies, reportedly mugging for the camera in a manner reminiscent of the “thumbs up” photos of American soldiers during enhanced interrogation (i.e. torture) sessions at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Beyond this, U.S. troops smoked hashish stolen from locals and planted weapons like AK-47 ammunition on the corpses of their murdered Afghani victims in order to frame them as attacking “insurgents” and thus provide a cover story for these killings.
When one member of the unit, Private First Class Justin Stoner, reported the hash smoking to his superiors, he was beaten — with Gibbs plotting even worse retribution for Stoner once they returned to the U.S.
According to the testimony of Specialist Adam Kelly, “He [Gibbs] basically told me that when we got back to Fort Lewis he was going to cripple him [Stoner] — you know, paralyze him — something to that effect … Basically just fuck him up so that he was never going to be right again. And that he was going to kill his mom, so he would forever have to live with that, knowing that, you know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Though prosecuting these crimes, the American government has predictably tried to suppress release of the photos that depict the troops posing with their human body part trophies, apparently afraid of the public relations disaster that they would cause.
Like the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the government is politically spinning these actions as that of a “rogue unit.” And the mainstream free press is largely parroting this “few bad apples” alibi.
Political damage control is in full effect.
The last thing that America wants is for people around the world to understand that, far from being an isolated example, these crimes are symptomatic of the brutal colonialist nature of America’s occupations, where U.S. bombings and counter-insurgency campaigns deliver carnage just as much as “rogue” kill teams.
Indeed, people might begin to question the fraudulent justifications for America’s war on terrorism in general.
Like the deceptions about “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) in Iraq, the US war against terrorism is a straight up lie.
Behind the official political and media rationalizations, the reality is that America is waging aggressive war for one ultimate purpose: global domination.
Not anti-terrorism. Not WMDs. Not women’s rights. And certainly not freedom or democracy.
American control of energy resources like oil from the Middle East to Central Asia; U.S. military encirclement of targeted “enemy” states like Iran, Russia, and especially China; US naval control of key strategic trade routes from the Strait of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca; and American geopolitical dominance over the Eurasian landmass itself.
These are the true objectives of America’s wars, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, from Democrat to Republican alike.
It’s been said that the business of America is business.
But the business of America is empire.
And there’s no business like empire business.
America’s continental “Manifest Destiny” of the 19th century continues in the 21st century, but on a planetary scale.
Welcome to the American Empire.
And as chilling as these recent Afghan atrocities may be, what’s even more twisted is the response of many Americans (including Asian Americans), who can barely stifle a bored yawn over this latest war crime.
For some Asian Americans, these wars seem remote in terms of both geographical distance and political concern, even though they are in Asia. Indeed, it’s notable that there is a relative lack of antiwar organizing in the Asian American community compared to the activism of a previous era when the U.S. was involved in another Asian land war: the Vietnam War. While there are pockets of Asian American antiwar opposition like the campaign involving war resister Lt. Ehren Watada, many in the community are largely apathetic or ignorant.
Like many Americans in general, they are indifferent to the suffering that US “democracy” spreads throughout the globe, and they are oblivious to a basic reality: The “ragheads” and “sand niggers” that America murders in Southwest Asia today are but the symbolic descendents of the “gooks” and “slopes” that America slaughtered in Korea and SE Asia yesterday — and likely the precursors to many other yet-to-be-named victims tomorrow.