|May 29, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
Haditha is Just the Tip of the Iceberg, As My Lai Was in Vietnam
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Alas, the massacre at Haditha -- in which women, children and men -- were executed by U.S. Marines will be the My Lai for Iraq.
That means war hawks will argue that the Marines were under intense pressure -- which they were -- and these "sort of things" are to be expected in war. They will excuse the horrific actions as an inevitable outgrowth of a war without rules.
And they are right, you know.
Not that these GIs should be excused from accountability, but the real people who should be tried and sentenced are Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush and Rice. They, like Kissinger, Nixon and Johnson, put the Marines in this modern version of Dante's inferno for reasons that defy logic and honesty.
With Vietnam, My Lai was a real event that became a symbolic battle over whether U.S. soldiers should be held accountable for atrocities. They should, but, more importantly, the people who put them in an untenable position should be legally charged for war crimes -- and for misleading the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and the American people.
My Lai was only the tip of the iceberg in Vietnam. It was one atrocity among many, but it was the one where the soldiers got caught.
We have reviewed and recommended the painful, powerful 1971 documentary, "Winter Soldier" (just released on DVD and made available to the viewing public for the first time in decades) , because it details how commonplace the outright murder, torture and rape of Vietnamse was by American military personnel. It was very simple to hide these murders. Any Vietnamese who ended up dead was identified as a member of the Viet Cong, whether they were or not.
The "Winter Soldier" film website notes: "In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, an astonishing public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held at a Howard Johnson motel in Detroit. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed.
"Though the event was attended by press and television news crews, almost nothing was reported to the American public. Yet, this unprecedented forum marked a turning point in the anti-war movement. It was a pivotal moment in the lives of young vets from around the country who participated, including the young John Kerry [although his appearance is just a brief visual image]....Their courage in testifying, their desire to prevent further atrocities and to regain their own humanity, provide a dramatic intensity that makes seeing Winter Soldier an unforgettable experience."
This is a raw, searing film that rubs salt on an open wound. It is profoundly moving, sad and a powerful indictment of those who lead us into conflicts that are cul-de-sacs of horror.
And it offers a comparative window that opens our minds to the macabre realities of what the U.S. military is doing in Iraq.
Despite Bush's tiresome and dishonest lofty rhetoric of contrived patriotism and ironically phony words of his love of freedom, the reality on the ground in Iraq is seen in the indiscriminate torture and killings carried out by U.S. troops or their Iraqi militia proxies. Abu Ghraib, Falluja, Sadr City, Ramadi: These are just a few locations where "everyone was a Muj (insurgent)," just as in Vietnam, every civilian was a Viet Cong sympathizer, once they were dead.
Drilled holes in the head of a 12-year-old child who was then shot to death. Babies "executed." Detainees tortured with dogs, electroshock and drownings. Massive bombardments of the civilian population. The detonation of mosques.
No, Haditha was not an isolated incident. The Pentagon tried to cover it up for months, according to Congressman John Murtha.
The war crimes committed everyday in Iraq run up to the desk of George W. Bush.
Yes, BuzzFlash does honor our troops this Memorial Day.
They deserve better, much better, than the failed and criminal leadership that sent them to a war that they could never win. Now, they are just there as sitting ducks because the Bush Administration doesn't want to "lose face" or appear "unmanly" by bringing these soldiers home to safety.
Bush said that their mission was accomplished several years ago.
Then, what are they still doing in Iraq?
And why is George W. Bush -- a man who has done great harm to our military, put our soldiers in harm's way for a fool's dream, and authorized crimes against humanity -- still in office and not in a docket?
Think about this question when you are horrified by Haditha.
Haditha was not an aberration. It is the rule of conduct in Iraq, not the exception, as was the case in Vietnam.
The responsibility for Haditha and all the other inhumane crimes in Iraq begins with Bush and Cheney and work their way down.
Remember our troops in Iraq this Memorial Day.
They deserve to be home, now.
They should not be the foot soldiers -- dutifully following orders -- of a megalomanic, lying, incompetent, evil cabal.
They, do indeed, deserve better.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Recruit 5 people to sign up for BuzzFlash alerts and help spread the truth: http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/subscribe.php