James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, June 02, 2006

Murdering Civilians as Policy

DownsizeDC.org's new campaign is to pressure Congress to actually debate the War in Iraq. Two questions may pop into mind: what took you guys so long, and why not take a stronger position? Both questions are answered here. Of course, here at Independent Country I am free to take a much stronger position against the war, and I do.

The Haditha Massacre is the latest scandal/disaster coming from that insane, immoral, and unconstitutional war. Justin Raimondo writes,
We are not talking about National Guard units, here: these are U.S. Marines, highly-trained killing machines who know the rules of war, know the difference between a woman with a baby in her arms and a group of insurgents, and know, furthermore, that the war they are fighting is supposed to be against terrorism. Would they succumb to "stress" like some housewife who's run out of vacuum-cleaner bags, go ballistic, and slaughter 24 innocents, including women and very young children, if they didn't think they could get away with it? In short, would they have done it if it wasn't policy – directed, encouraged, and condoned by their commanders?

Hell, no.
Last year, I wrote about the "El Salvador option" – the emerging strategy of this administration in fighting a losing war, which amounts to throwing off all constraints and simply terrorizing the Iraqi people into cowed submission. We are now seeing the results of this policy of desperation in practice. Haditha is not just an "isolated incident," but evidence of a new strategic orientation by the U.S. military – a scorched-earth policy designed to stave off the humiliating prospect of impending defeat.

Further evidence of this new orientation is the revelation of yet another massacre, this time in the village of Abu Sifa, about 600 miles north of Baghdad. Of course, it isn't a revelation to readers of Antiwar.com and this column, where we covered it in detail back in March. The Times of London reported it, most of the American media ignored it, and the news dropped like a stone, clear out of sight and out of mind – except that, as in the case of Haditha, a videotape has come out that vividly documents American atrocities.

A pattern emerges: Haditha, Abu Sifa, Abu Ghraib, and all the others now bound to come out in horrifying detail. These place names will become the new slogans of the Iraqi insurgency, which will be fueled as never before – and perhaps immeasurably strengthened by rising Shi'ite anger.

Haditha might not be the "rule," but it's not the exception either; as Dahr Jamail has reported, Iraqis are being slaughtered every day. William Norman Grigg, on the other hand, give our troops more of the benefit of doubt, he but does make an important moral point that clearly established the Americans as the "bad guys" in this war:
When people find themselves on the receiving end of an unwarranted foreign attack, they will get angry and fight back against the invaders in any way they can – and they are entitled to. Were our nation invaded by a foreign power possessing an overwhelming military advantage, Americans would set roadside bombs, seek refuge in civilian dwellings, and kill the enemy without remorse. It wouldn't matter to us one bit if the invaders justified the invasion in humanitarian terms, or invoked their “superior” political and cultural insights. We would fight as hard as we could, for as long as it takes, to expel the foreign invaders from our home soil.

That is true about any human culture – American, Iraqi, whatever. The defense of one's family, home, and homeland from foreign aggression is a “core value” all people instinctively understand. It is getting people to forget or ignore that reality that requires the type of indoctrination our troops will have to undergo.

The critical question about the Iraq war is this: Which side in that conflict is fighting the type of war described above, the only type of war that can be morally justified?

If you are fighting on your home soil, with your family at your back, against an invader whom you have not materially wronged in any way, your war is justified.

Is that a description of the war our government is waging in Iraq? Or of the war that some (by no means all) Iraqis are waging against our government in that country?
It is a universal, God-given right to use lethal force to defend one's home.
In combat – from what I understand as a student, not a participant – the dominant impulse is to protect one's buddies, with a passionate, instinctive fury akin to that of a father defending his home.

So – what happens when decent men are ordered by dishonorable politicians to invade and occupy distant communities? The invaders come under attack from people defending their homes, and retaliate in predictable fashion when their buddies are killed. And here is where it gets really nasty: The commendable instinct of American soldiers to protect their buddies collides with the equally instinctive recognition that the insurgents are doing exactly what Americans would do if the roles were reversed.

What happens, most likely, is a complete moral meltdown – of the sort that apparently happened in Haditha.


  1. I have to disagree somewhat with Justin Raimondo about the Marines in Iraq. Many are on their 3rd tour in the last three years there. His analogy to housewives is specious and he draws a flawed conclussion on top of it.

    The reality is that being in a battle zone takes a psychological toll. This is something that we know from earlier wars like Vietnam. That toll gets amplified when guys keep getting sent back because our military is stretched way too thin around the world to give them a break from such an incredibly high stress environment.

    That doesn't mean that these massacres aren't part of an insideous plan by the Brass, though. That may well be part of the equation. God knows I wouldn't put it past these NeoCons. But we can't dismiss the obvious factors such as combat fatigue and other similar psychological issues and hope to arrive at a meaningful conclussion either.

    I think William Grigg gets closer to the reality of the situation. Although he too seems to miss some of the psychological issues that are part of the equation over there.

  2. GreginOz12:15 AM PDT

    Seems John Negroponte has hit his straps in Iraq! Ah yes, Nicauraguan Death Squad mentality...segue to Iraq! Just think, the vets will return to The States (those that don't die via depleted uranium), finely tuned to enlist in SWAT teams, with all humanity removed. Happy happy, joy, joy.