After weeks of rage against the burning of the Koran in Afghanistan, on Sunday night in Zangabad village Kandahar province, a drunken U.S. Army sergeant raided houses in the middle of the night, opening fire and killing 16 civilians, including nine children and three women. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the rampage as ‘intentional murders’ and demanded an explanation from the United States.
The Nuremberg Tribunals defined war crimes to include acts such as torture or intentional killing of prisoners of war or civilians. It also includes unprovoked wars of aggression. Invading a country that is not a threat to the invader is a war crime. Now, according to the most basic understanding of the Nuremberg Principles, this incident was one of many clear cases of war crimes by the US. It is one link in a chain of massive killing of civilians that is often camouflaged under the euphemism of collateral damage.
In 2010, the WikiLeaks Collateral Murder video brought to the public eye what is known as the “Incident in New Baghdad”, where an Apache helicopter gunned down two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street and more to the point showed the malicious shooting of innocent civilians in the rescue van. Thank you WikiLeaks for calling the killing of innocent civilians for what it is: Collateral Murder. Now in the drunken massacre last Sunday, the international community witnessed another incident of Collateral Murder.
In an interview on DemocracyNow!, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence noted how the unwarranted death of civilians is a regular incident:
I think that the United States and military officials would like to characterize the massacre as exceptional, sort of one bad apple. But I think it actually encapsulates what the United States presence in Afghanistan has been all about. Unprovoked and uncaused attacks have been waged by the United States against Afghan civilians.
When an incident like this is exposed, people can see the real deeds behind the official government line. More and more, the gap between actions and rhetoric can no longer be concealed.
In the case of the current US wars in the Middle East, the stated rhetoric regarding the purpose of the invasions and occupations is that it is for US ‘National Security’. The clearest result is a whole lot of Afghan and Iraqi people dying and everyone in the world much less secure.
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill spoke in 2009 of how the continuation and escalation of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy is building new generations of terrorists who hate Americans after the loss of their families by ruthless slaughter.
The US itself is in even more danger. In fact many show concern that this shooting only added fuel to anti-American sentiments among Afghan citizen. Contrary to professed concern for ‘security’, the actions of the recent presidents seem intended to create the opposite.
What is being hidden by the euphemism of collateral damage? It is collateral murder. What is really covered up by the slogan of national security? It is the ultimate Orwellian doublespeak. Afghanistan is Obama’s war. His oral mastery seduced a nation. In reality his Hope and Change really meant ‘War is Peace’ and drone killing of innocent people is ‘bringing democracy’. Certainly the drone strikes, assassinations, continuing rendition and torture are his implicit signals to any soldier that it is OK to be drunk with power and go on a rampage. According to the Nuremberg principles, for any war crime on a smaller scale, the culpability of that crime goes up to the highest in command. Therefore, the equation of conscience leads us to the proof; Collateral Murder Times 16 = evidence of Obama’s War Crimes. This recent attack is just the tip of the iceberg.
Are American people still caught in the spectacle of the staged performance of officials, excitedly defend their leader and excuse murder? Or this time will we finally confront the reality for what it truly is, and bring the justice that is so long overdue? Time will tell.