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Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Kind of People Are We Becoming in Iraq?

I saw the video today of the Apache helicopter shooting people in the New Baghdad suburbs most of whom appeared to be unarmed. Two Reuters reporters carrying cameras were killed in the carnage. The helicopter also fired on a van that arrived to assist the wounded. Two children in the van were seriously wounded as well. Would it have made a difference if there had been a red cross on the van?

Why is it that so many so-called conservatives are such hawks? I can just hear a few defending everything that happened and shrugging her shoulders over collateral damage. Read the article posted on Pat Buchanan's website and watch the short version of the video below. The longer version is posted here. Do you think the actions were justified? Especially firing on the van?

War unleashes the worst in most people. During the Middle Ages the Church had many more holy days than today because fighting was forbidden on holy days. It seems as if today the ROEs (Rules of Engagement) are so loose that killing civilians in large numbers is inevitable and even desired.

What I personally found most horrifying about the video was the discussion in the cockpit as if this was a video game. At My-Lai Lieutenant William Calley said, "Waste them!" about the Vietnamese villagers before his men mowed down about 500 civilians. Doesn't seem attitudes have changed much. Just kill them all.

This quotation from the article illustrates the horrifying reality that can happen in war:
What is happening in Iraq seems to reflect what psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton calls “atrocity-producing situations.” He used this term first in his book “The Nazi Doctors.” In 2004, he wrote an article for The Nation, applying his insights to the Iraq War and occupation.

“Atrocity-producing situations,” Lifton wrote, occur when a power structure sets up an environment where “ordinary people, men or women no better or worse than you or I, can regularly commit atrocities…. This kind of atrocity-producing situation … surely occurs to some degrees in all wars, including World War II, our last ‘good war.’ But a counterinsurgency war in a hostile setting, especially when driven by profound ideological distortions, is particularly prone to sustained atrocity – all the more so when it becomes an occupation.”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

...which is why women don't make very good soldiers. Consider the source of the video, Femmes. You've been had.

So long...

Mary Ann said...

Are you saying the two reporters from Reuters weren't killed? How exactly have we "been had?"

But I agree, women should not be in combat and should not be in the field at all except in a medical capacity.

But atrocities in war do happen. I know a judge who served on the military tribunal that tried Calley.

As for the video. I'm not aware that the military has claimed it's innaccurate or faked. Are you?

Ray Schneider said...

An edited video designed to create the perception of an atrocity may or may not be accurate.

These guys had likely taken fire. When you engage in mechanized modern warfare you can create an awful lot of devastation in a short while.

Warfare is nasty business and there's no getting around that, but I think you need to know a lot more to know whether it was adequately motivated. They guys were getting clearance to fire based on a set of engagement rules.