Equation of Conscience; Collateral Murder Times 16 = War Crimes

Image Credit: interpressnews.ge

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.

About the author

Nozomi Hayase is a contributing writer to Culture Unplugged and a global citizen blogger at Journaling Between Worlds. A phenomenologist by training, she brings out deeper dimensions of modern events at the intersection between politics and psyche, fiction and reality to share insight on future social evolution. She can be reached at: nozomimagine@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Equation of Conscience; Collateral Murder Times 16 = War Crimes

  1. nonviolentconflict says:

    Reblogged this on NonviolentConflict.

  2. David Stahl says:

    Excellent piece of writing. Thank you. Have been thoroughly disgusted with the mainstream media’s disgusting lack of disgust at this horrific crime in Afghanistan, with the media being more concerned with the effect on US policy (and safety) that this ‘event’ might trigger. How will this evil act affect me? seems to be the prevailing sentiment among MSM and even reader comments, rather than expressing genuine sorrow for the young and innocent lives lost, and sympathy/empathy for the Afghans who lost their children to this lunatic US soldier. At the very least, Americans should be taking to the streets to protest this unconscionable crime committed by an individual wearing their flag.

    Thank you again.

  3. AntoninusPius says:

    I hope we will bring justice!

  4. Dawn says:

    I believe we cannot lay the total blame for this incident on Obama’s plate. This incident and many here at home that involve violence are a result of our culture of dominance and greed. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is also a victim. He was apparently suffering from a mental breakdown due to multiple deployments to the conflicts in the Middle East. His neighbors knew him as a peaceful, family man. What changed him? What made him snap? This was a tragic outcome of a policy to redeploy soldiers over and over. How can we hope to be a negotiator of peaceful resolution anywhere in the world when we are the greatest promoters of violent solutions?

    I recently heard a description of how the Japanese are sending people in to cleanup the Fukushima reactor and that they have a limit of exposure. Once they reach that limit, they are replaced by someone new. I’m not advocating war – I am against war and am convinced there are peaceful solutions to most global conflicts. However, if we send men and women to combat, their exposure should be limited. The human mental condition can rarely stand up to continual onslaught of violence without experiencing that violence in some visceral way and without that violence becoming manifested through PTSD.

    The culture of dominance and greed is our responsibility. We all propagate it in some way and should all take responsibility. It is shameful that the main concern voiced by our media has been over what this incident will do to our relationships and not for the families who lost loved ones or the community and country that has been traumatized by this event. If this had happened in the US, we would all be sending personal messages, money, and support of any kind to the survivors. We do not need to rely on the media to speak for us in such a situation, especially when they are so insensitive.

    • the author says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think anyone who put themselves in a position to be entrusted with the power to kill masses of people must accept the responsibility for that position as outlined by the Nuremberg Tribunals. Therefore, we need to hold Obama and Bush/Cheney accountable for their war crimes.

      Here is the comment that I found that seems to outline the partial list of his culpability. I see him completely more than any other presidents that I never know reneging on his campaign promises.


      by DataShade

      “Read Glenn Greenwald’s columns. It’s not even just the things he’s signed into law; at this point, Obama is de facto more authoritarian than Bush.

      Support for Israel and MEK’s terrorist attacks on Iran’s citizens. Extrajudicial assassination of American citizens. Rabid pursuit of whistleblowers. War without Congressional authorization. Secrecy in defiance of campaign pledges of transparency. Putting Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for almost a year pre-trial because he shamed the administration; but putting a marine accused of murdering 16 civilians in gen pop. The “six strikes” Copyright Alert System which was orchestrated by the Obama administration, and the “Operation in Our Sites” initiative to seize domain names based on unjustified suspicions. The general erosion of Due Process in favor of Executive power. The wholesale slaughter, by combat drones, of civilians in various Middle Eastern countries, in the name of War on Terror.

      Obama’s behavior – and that of his administration – should be a source of guilt to everyone who voted for him and shame for everyone who continues to support him”.

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