The Price of DishonorMay 9th, 2009

There’s something Americans should know about bombing civilians. If you can’t count them, they don’t count. That’s the rule being applied this week by the U.S. media, working in tandem with the Marine Corps, and it ’s the reason you may not have heard that Marine pilots bombed houses in Afghanistan a couple of days ago. International Red Cross observers say U.S. aircraft operating in the western province of Farah killed dozens of civilians, including many women an d children. Eyewitness accounts tell of truckloads of bodies carted away for burial. Nobody counted them, and they’re all in the ground now.

The U. S. media, suppressing most of the story, seem to be reluctant to report on the massacre because they’re not sure there are enough dead babies to make it worthwhile. Lately they’ve been spewing the Pentagon line (on no evidence whatsoever) that the hapless Afghan women and children were killed by something other than the bombs that fell on them or that they were herded into harm’s way by America’s enemies. The truth that the media can’t report is that America is the enemy. You and I are the enemy. Rich and poor. Black, white and brown. Mother and brother. We are aggressive enemies of peace, unattainable in the presence of an occupying army of tens of thousands of heavily armed American soldiers. We are enthusiastic enemies of self-determination, impossible in a country under foreign occupation. We are unabashed enemies of the rule of law, which forbids armed incursions of all kinds, except in self-defense. We are unrepentant enemies of life itself, so little concern do we show for the children of farmers and herdsmen, blown to bits by our soldiers.

Up till a few months ago, we could chalk it all up to rogue government in Washington. That rationalization evaporated in November, when we had a chance to oust the crooks in charge. We didn’t do it. In fact, our esteemed current president promised explicitly to keep the mayhem going, and we seem to have voted for that. He’s delivering. It’s dead babies by the truckload, and he claims to be proud of the boys and girls we send over there to keep the blood flowing.

The soldiers know that they are not heroic, not brave, but cowardly, with their body armor, their pilotless bombers, and their shoot-first rules of engagement. They know that they are not so much soldiers as terrorists, roaring through town and village with guns at the ready. They know that they are dishonored by what the rest of us so foolishly refer to as service. And they know that the civilians at home neither understand nor care about their shame and sadness.

Military commanders feign surprise at the number of soldiers killing themselves. They should acknowledge that this is the price of cowardice. Of brutality. Of lawlessness. Of dishonor. These are the hallmarks of 21st Century warfare, American-style, and there’s no cure for dishonor except self-destruction. Some drink themselves to death. Some end up on the street. Some buy a dozen roses for Mom and then put a gun to their heads.