Monday, September 13, 2010

You Reap What You Sow

When you live in a national security state that tortures people and wages constant war, it’s hard to be surprised or even upset by stories like this:

WASHINGTON - Twelve U.S. soldiers face a variety of charges in what military authorities believe was a conspiracy to murder Afghan civilians and cover it up, along with charges they used hashish, mutilated corpses and kept grisly souvenirs.


According to the military documents, Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs and four other soldiers were involved in throwing grenades at civilians and then shooting them in separate incidents. Three Afghan men died.

Authorities allege Gibbs kept finger bones, leg bones and a tooth from Afghan corpses. Another soldier, Spc. Michael Gagnon II, allegedly kept a skull from a corpse, according to charging documents. Several soldiers are charged with taking pictures of the corpses, and one - Spc. Corey Moore - with stabbing a corpse.

We run an empire. Doesn’t this kind of thing go hand-in-hand with that? We give American kids assault rifles, send them into war zones and encourage them to waste “hajjis” and “get some.” If a few of them take this to its next logical step, do we really have the right to whip out our hankies and cry foul? We want you to kill for us, but only if you promise to kill nicely? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. These Frankenstein monsters are our creation. They are the organic by-products of a hyper-militarized culture that worships war. We declare war on anything we oppose. Every public event and national holiday is saturated with militarism. Our favorite sport is little more than a metaphor for war. And, as the great George Carlin pointed out, we have the only national anthem that mentions rockets and bombs in it. If these guys hadn’t been caught, we’d all be patting them on the backs when they got home. We’d thank them for their service and call them heroes.

Our culture and our institutions breed killers, and the fact that we’re constantly at war gives psychopaths plenty of opportunities to indulge their sadism. But rather than question that, we’ll treat this event as some kind of wicked aberration, blame it on a few bad apples (hashish smoking bad apples, no less!) and keep chugging along as violently as before.

These guys didn’t fall from outer space. They came from right here, the good old US of A. This is from a 1944 issue of Life magazine. The caption says, “Arizona war worker sends her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her.”

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